Friday, February 12, 2016

Aoki-tei & Saisaki

The new face of Japanese buffets: Aoki-Tei promises an all-you-can-eat array of dishes prepared to order (to curb wastage) - sashimi platters to soft-shell crab hand rolls & salmon avocado reverse rolls, miso-glazed eggplant to salt-grilled mackerel, crackers topped with salmon & cheese to tofu pouches stuffed with oysters, deep-fried prawns with chicken floss to sizzling mixed seafood to ice cream desserts, & much more from a menu that breached 172 dishes when we visited in 2015. Aoki-tei's most recent prices were RM58++ for lunch & RM78++ for dinner (evenings tend to showcase a wider range), with discounts for kids & senior citizens - fair for so much food (which is neither top-of-the-line nor bottom-of-the-barrel). The ultimate incentive is a no-strings-attached free flow of alcoholic beverages - as of early 2016, bottomless beer for lunch, beer & sake during dinner.

Aoki-tei @ Kota Damansara
Ground Floor, Sunway Nexis, Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara. 
Buffet lunch: 1130am-230pm; buffet dinner: 630pm-1030pm. Tel: 03-6143-6868

The old face of Japanese buffets: We had many enjoyable meals at Saisaki more than a decade ago, back when we were still working in the city centre. This all-buffet-everyday restaurant is still humming along like a well-oiled machine, packing in the crowds, particularly families (heavy discounts for the very young & slightly old are probably key). Buffet prices vary, dipping to as low as RM57 for adults for weekday lunches & as high as RM74 for weekend dinners. The counters still heave with temptations galore, encompassing essentials like sashimi, sushi, tempura & beyond. Shellfish is a highlight, both raw & cooked. Once upon a time, Saisaki served terrific unagi - heaps of it, warm, tender & nicely flavoursome - you'll still find eel here, but it now tastes closer to dried-out teriyaki chicken. Still, most other items are sufficiently well-prepared for a buffet (our favourites for one recent evening included juicy grilled salmon belly, crispy fried salmon skin, breaded shishamo, salted egg yolk crabs & tempura soft-shell crabs - we should have taken more of the last one), with some Chinese favourites thrown in for good measure (versions of Buddha Jumps Over The Wall, braised sea cucumber, & scrambled eggs with imitation shark fins). 

Saisaki @ Wisma UOA II
Wisma UOA 2, 21-1 Jalan Pinang, Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 12pm-3pm, 6pm-10pm. Tel: 03-21663728

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  1. Sighhhh!!!! No nice Japanese here since my favourite closed down. Hey!!! This must be before Chinese New Year, so crowded. Everyone would have gone home for the festival, could sleep on the road?

    1. Suituapui: if you're patient and wait a little longer, i bet another japanese place will open in time, heh :D ooo, actually this chinese new year didn't feel that deserted ... i'd say the city was still at least 40 percent occupied, heh :D

  2. Can't really eat much now, old dy :( But I saw my favourite unagi in your plate which is rarely seen in buffet spread!

    1. Choi Yen: yeah, i only do buffets a few times a year nowadays :) yup, you're right ... previously there were quite a few japanese buffets including in hotels that offered unagi ... but unfortunately that was many years ago :)

  3. All-you-can-eat prepared to order is my kind of buffet! RM78++ with bottomless beer and sake is really a good price for drinkers (not that I'm one to capitalise on that though...hehe!) but RM78++ is still a good price for a Japanese buffet if the ingredients are up to mark ;)

    I was also attracted to the second buffet when I saw your pic of unagi...but when you described it as closer to dried-out teriyaki chicken, I'm not that interested anymore...haha! :D

    1. Contact.ewew: yeah, with a selection that extensive, there were both hits & misses on Aoki-Tei's menu, but it was a justifiable meal in the end because of the not-too-steep price coupled with the sake :D i think we can officially bid farewell to any hope now that a restaurant in KL will offer a buffet with good unagi for below RM100, heh :)

  4. but it now tastes closer to dried-out teriyaki chicken - huh... Lol!!
    Gong Hei Sean! Good seeing u again yesterday :)

    1. Rebecca: i miss the old days (back in 2004/2005) when saisaki served tender, quality unagi :) it was a very pleasant surprise to see you - for the first time, our timings coincidentally matched! sorry i ended up not coming back in the end after that, but hope you enjoyed your food :D

  5. Is Saisaki still worth a visit since both this and Shogun are from the same company.

  6. Yea exactly Saisaki looks good here but when i found out that its frm the same company as shogun, i hesitated. Shogun is horrible dont even bother.

    On the other hand, Aoki Tei is amazing! Food was good when i was there a month ago. Plus they didnt serve watered down sake despite the free flow. Only complain about Aoki Tei is that the sashimi was served in thick cuts which makes you jelak after a while. Sashimi is meant to be thinly sliced.

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