Monday, May 01, 2017


Derived from the word tatsu-jin meaning master or expert, Tatsu Japanese Cuisine brings unconventional twists to traditional Japanese specialities right from the get-go. Rock up to the entrance and your attention would invariably be drawn to the unusual decor of sake bottles and cups strung together. 

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.
An example of that was in the New Style Sashimi with Yuzu Soy and Heated Sesame Oil (RM48). Although the raw fish tasted lusher from the warm nutty oil, I think it's a shame to allow the citron-infused soy sauce overwhelmed the fish's fresh nuance. Good thing its textural crunch remains intact.

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.

Thirty seconds is all you have before the pre-cooked on the teppan Australian Wagyu (200gm, RM420) absorbed too much salt from the heated slab of Himalayan rock salt. It's advisable to transfer the meat to another plate before the heat let the salinity seeped into it, making it too salty to enjoy. Don't miss out on the crunchy cubes of beef fat on top. The accompanying ponzu sauce helped to imbue the beef with a different taste profile.
I personally found the entrée of Green Tea Salt Crusted Lamb Chops with Japanese Sour Plum Sauce (RM64) overly salty for my liking even though the lamb was tender to the bite. Luckily the crust can easily be scraped off, toning down the saltiness instantly.
Our protein quota must have overshot its limit by the time the Slow Cooked Beef Short Ribs with Garlic Barbecue Sauce (RM98) arrived. Over 10 hours of painstaking work have gone in to the short ribs before the hefty hunk ended up on our table. Overall, it was notable in every aspect but this is one of those specialities the chef deem best with sake.
More dark forces beckon in the form of Chocolate Tart and Caramelised Yuzu (RM35) for dessert, tempting weak resolves into surrendering to the wicked allure of smooth, decadent chocolate. Put this away at your own peril...or should that be pleasure?

For reservations, call Tatsu Japanese Cuisine, tel: 03-2782 6118. Address: Level 1, InterContinental Hotel Kuala Lumpur, 165 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.

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