Former Sushi Hinata Master Chef Hideaki Oritsuki opens Oribe Sushi

Akira Sano (left) will be helping Hideaki Oritsuki at the sushi counter. — Pictures by Choo Choy May
Akira Sano (left) will be helping Hideaki Oritsuki at the sushi counter. — Pictures by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR – Fans of Master Chef Hideaki Oritsuki's deft touch with sushi were devastated when he left Sushi Hinata a few months ago. But now Chef Ori (as he is affectionately known among customers) is back with his own place Oribe Sushi which opens today.

The 40-seater restaurant is located on the ground floor of ViPod Residences, a short walk away from Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. With its high ceilings, it offers a spacious dining area with a 12-seater sushi counter, two VIP rooms for private dining, and a common dining area that fits up to 16 people.

Smaller groups of 2 to 4 people can sit at the common dining area.
Smaller groups of 2 to 4 people can sit at the common dining area.

The coveted place is a seat at the sushi counter where the 52-year-old Nagoya sushi master presides together with his second-in-command, Akira Sano, 23 who hails from Tokyo.

Dining at the counter means you get to watch Chef Ori expertly slice the fish with his special made-to-order Katana samurai-like knife that costs a whopping RM10,000. You can also interact with the chefs and learn more about the produce and so, appreciate the sushi better.

The prized samurai knife is specially made for Chef Hideaki Oritsuki who is left-handed.
The prized samurai knife is specially made for Chef Hideaki Oritsuki who is left-handed.

According to Chef Ori, the place takes its name from the famed Oribe ceramic ware with its distinct green copper glaze and bold designs. It's also a reference to his own name, Ori.

As aesthetics complete the whole experience for a Japanese meal, Chef Oritsuki has also sourced for beautiful ceramic ware from Japan. He will also be serving his sushi at the counter on round plates versus the usual rectangular or square plates.

Beautiful ceramic bowls and plates also play a special part in a meal here.
Beautiful ceramic bowls and plates also play a special part in a meal here.

“The round plate does not have any sharp edges that makes it more jovial and less rigid.” As each plate is hand made, you will see that they're not identical and may vary in size.

Chef Ori also picked a light green palette for the plates, as he believes that it emphasises coolness, which is much welcomed in our hot tropical weather.

For the soft launch, Oribe Sushi will be serving set menus that offer sushi paired with an appetiser, steamed egg custard, miso soup and dessert. Prices for lunch range from RM88 to RM250, while dinner ranges from RM120 to RM350.

An omakase menu which offers the chef's special choice of premium ingredients can also be ordered for lunch for RM350 while dinner is RM480. Keeping to the namesake ceramic theme, the sets are named after famous ceramic wares in Japan like Seto, Iga and Mino.

Braised abalone or awaebi for the omakase appetiser.
Braised abalone or awaebi for the omakase appetiser.

Following their grand opening slated for December 22, Oribe Sushi will also unveil an a la carte menu. This will feature seasonal items like ankimo or monkfish liver, eight-hour braised abalone, Hokkaido uni, Hokkaido king crab, shirako or fish milt and Hiroshima oysters. The restaurant will also be serving nodoguro or black throat perch. The fish is best savoured grilled since it's an oily fish.

Unlike other Japanese restaurants, don't expect any tempura served here. “I don't like tempura as it's oily.” Chef Ori prefers to focus only on sushi, just like they do in Japan. “In Japan, they are very specific with what they serve in a sushi restaurant.” He also emphasises that he wants to serve more traditional style sushi here versus a more fusion style adopted by others. “Traditional style is better.”

You can be guaranteed the finest and freshest catch, as their ingredients are flown in three times a week. On Mondays, it is shipped in from Osaka, while on Tuesdays and Fridays, it's sourced from Fukuoka on Kyushu island.

Chef Hideaki Oritsuki insists on the best ingredients, like this magnificent piece of tuna.
Chef Hideaki Oritsuki insists on the best ingredients, like this magnificent piece of tuna.

Chef Ori prefers to source it from these markets versus Tokyo's Tsukiji Market. His rationale is since last year's tsunami, the focus has been shifted away from Tsukiji and these places offer better choices. “I like Fukuoka better as it's near beautiful sea that has a lot of good fish.”

He also insists on the finest ingredients sourced from Japan to prepare his sublime sushi. He uses rice grown in the Akita Prefecture, a high quality rice sought after for sushi. “It's grown in an area with beautiful clean water.”

It's mixed with his own special blend of red vinegar to complement the fresh fish. “The rice is not too sweet or else it will kill the fish's fresh taste.”

Fresh Masuma wasabi is grated on the spot.
Fresh Masuma wasabi is grated on the spot.

For his wasabi, it's freshly grated as he uses the Masuma variety from Shizuoka Prefecture that has more heat versus the other fresh wasabi varieties.

The delicacies can be paired with their selection of sakes, beers and shochu. They also carry a small range of white, red and sparkling wines. Limited parking bays can be found within the premises. It's best to arrange for your parking when you make your reservations to ensure you get a space.

Oribe Sushi, Ground Floor, Block C-1, ViPod Residences (opposite Hakka Restaurant), No. 6, Jalan Kia Peng, KL. Tel:03-2725064. Open for lunch and dinner. 

Diners can opt for the VIP rooms for privacy.
Diners can opt for the VIP rooms for privacy.