Dark, gurgling water features evoke soothing serenity within the dark timber and cobalt blue interior. Modern accents of wood, slate and stone inlays acquire a mellow glow from wall and recessed spotlights.
On our recent visit, the new Chef at Tatsu, Tommy Kuan, rustled up several new dishes for our sampling session. Some offerings were updated versions of familiar classics while a few was unconventional attempts for sake, beer and wine pairings.
The redeeming grace came from the delicious Shrimp-Stuffed Shiitake with Butter Ponzu (RM38). Who knew the aromatic and tender fungi could be so divine when stuffed with bouncy shrimp paste and deep-fried? Dipped in the side of mildly buttery-tangy sauce, these irresistible morsels should go down well with ice-cold beer or warm rice wine.
A gaijin influenced creation, the Crispy Duck Confit on Sprouts and Japanese Spinach with Sesame Vinaigrette (RM47) had the classical French duck (rendered in its own fat) sheathed in Japanese karaage coating.
What emerged was a cohesive interplay of textures: the crisp outer batter coating enveloping meltingly tender meat inside. Glazed with some Japanese barbecue sauce, the fleshy chunks atop a bed of lightly sautéed veggies proved winsome.
The scrumptious Rock Shrimp Tempura with Creamy Chilli Garlic Sauce (RM98) also struck a chord that evening. We relished every bite of the crustaceans' fresh springiness; our tastebuds seduced by the bright, robust saucy accents.
After such boudacious flavours, our palate's clarity was restored by a pot of heartwarming Dobin Mushi (RM35). A clear soup with delicate umami savouriness, we savoured every drop and the little morsels inside the pot.
For reservations, call Tatsu Japanese Cuisine, tel: 03-2782 6118. Address: Level 1, InterContinental Hotel Kuala Lumpur, 165 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.