Friday, April 13, 2012

Hanare at the Intermark

Located within the same building as the Hilton Doubletree in Kuala Lumpur is the new Japanese restaurant of choice, Hanare.  After my go-to sushi restaurant in KL closed sometime last summer, I found this review by CC Food Travel.  It set my expectations pretty high.  In the end, this restaurant has the distinction of at once giving me the some of the single best bites of sushi and steak I have ever had, and still being disappointing.
So, the Evian bottle is near the smallest I had ever seen, at .33 liter. In other words, my bottled water was disgustingly small, and for another 10 or 20 RMD, you expect a liter bottle.  Boo.
The Appetizer:  The Tofu was exceptionally creamy and the corn had a pleasant miso flavor with excellent char.  The solitary piece of fish was only ok, and remember things are not better just because they have caviar.  I am a sucker for shiso (the green leaf), so overall it was a nice way to start.
2nd Course - Sashimi:  I do believe they provide real wasabi, and the tasty little abalone/clam were nice.   The tuna was very fresh, and buttery.  The katsuo (bonito) had a surprising little taste explosion. Obviously, the real winner was the absolutely delicious little piece of tuna belly they provided, which was one of the best single pieces of sashimi I have eaten.
3rd Course - Crab Soup:  The broth by itself had the flavor of inexpensive, dried squid with a bit of crab sprinkled in (in other words, eh).  The ground prawn ball with ginger, however, was quite remarkable, and when all combined, it was a good few bites.  To really elevate the dish, however, the broth needs improvement.
4th Course - Wagyu on Eggplant:  The dish also seemed to be served with a bit of "oyster sauce" on it. The question that you have to ask yourself is, what is not to like about wagyu beef?  Nothing.  It is tender, melts in your mouth, and once you have a bite you never want to eat anything else.  In sum, however, the course was a little uninspired.
5th Course  - More Wagyu?:  Yes!  It's a little sad when the waiter does not speak much English and he makes no real effort to explain what you are eating.  For a meal that costs somewhere around 50 times the national average, this is disappointing.  So, there was some sort of homemade delicate green chili and oil mixture which, placed carefully atop the wagyu, made for the most delicious beef dish I have ever eaten.  It was nothing short of phenomenal.
6th course - Fried Fish:  Again, the lack of description made for a rather disappointing experience.  The little fried fish with breading, they were probably something in the sardine family, were full of flavor.  I was sad to not be familiar with the other fish, a small, light, sweet white fish carefully pan fried without breading.  It was super tasty.  I think the small piece at the bottom was a cod cheek, based off the flavor and size, but I can't be sure.  The non-breaded small fish, and "cod" were so delicious they stood up to the previous plate of wagyu.
7th Course - Sushi:  This course contained 5 pieces of premium sushi, and clam miso soup.  The miso had a delicate smokey flavor, and was memorable with the small clams, and the tuna belly, cuddlefish, katsuo, yellowtail, and some type of hikari mono - I think sanma were yum morsels.  Pictures are worth a 1,000 words.
8th course - Dessert:  Peaches and ice cream are very good, but peaches are less a novelty to me than they are the Malaysians.
At one point, as I was eating wagyu beef I looked over and became jealous of my neighbors' trio of mushrooms.  It's ok (nom nom nom) I consoled myself on beef so fatty it's probably illegal in many countries (besides India).  It just went to show that the restaurant has more to offer than what I ate.  I was very jealous, however, of CC Travel Food's Omakase experience.  Mine was excellent, but missing some of the more exotic delicacies that were offered to them.  It is my opinion that they outted themselves as food bloggers and got the VIP treatment.

So, all this delicious food discussed, let's have a hard talk for a second.  

The service was so bad!  There were faux pas, such as not brining a spoon with the soup dish, never clearing the towel, me asking for accommodations which were not made.  Lack of descriptions of meals, etc., they tried so hard, but the waitstaff were just not good at all.  For her part, the proprietess realized this and commented privately later that evening that they are struggling with service.  Well, struggle they do.  I hope they get better, because it is a serious miss at such a nice restaurant.

Next time I'll try the Champagne Brunch (reviewed by Eat Your Heart Out) and then my meal won't be distracted by the poor service.

Hanare Japanese Restaurant
Ground Floor, The Intermark,
Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur
03-2164-2133/ 2164-2633
4 of 5

1 comment:

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