Two Japanese restaurants for two different budgets

For Sushi Ryu’s grand opening, chef Kiichi Okabe carved up a whole bluefin tuna fish. – Pictures by Ham Abu Bakar, Mohd Yusof Mat Isa & courtesy of Sushi RYU
For Sushi Ryu’s grand opening, chef Kiichi Okabe carved up a whole bluefin tuna fish. – Pictures by Ham Abu Bakar, Mohd Yusof Mat Isa & courtesy of Sushi RYU

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 — Love Japanese food? You’re in luck as there seems to be a flurry of new Japanese restaurants opening in the city.

Here are two which will satisfy your cravings for sushi and sashimi. At very different budgets.

Sushi Ryu

This premium sushi joint opened its doors mid-September this year. Under the skilful hands of Chef Kiichi Okabe, you can relish exquisite Japanese flavours with seasonal produce from Japan and premium ingredients like caviar, uni and truffles.

Enter Sushi Ryu for exquisite, premium Japanese fare
Enter Sushi Ryu for exquisite, premium Japanese fare
Taking centrestage at Sushi Ryu is their 11-seater sushi counter made with fine hinoki wood
Taking centrestage at Sushi Ryu is their 11-seater sushi counter made with fine hinoki wood

Prior to coming to KL, Okabe was the executive chef of Shoukouwa, a two-star Michelin restaurant in Singapore. He had also worked in the US and Dubai.

The menu offers two omakase choices. For lunch, the omakase is RM279++ while the dinner omakase is RM579++. Think chopped otoro, where the melt-in-the-mouth tuna is topped with caviar pearls. Or white fish sashimi drizzled with truffle shoyu.

You can also relish cold noodles served with creamy uni and caviar.  Heighten your dining experience with their selection of sake from boutique breweries, the likes of Nabeshima, Kokuryu and Kid.

Taking centrestage here is the hinoki wood sushi counter that seats up to 11 people. In total, the place can accommodate up to 33 people with private dining rooms too.

Opt for the private rooms at Sushi Ryu when you’re entertaining clients
Opt for the private rooms at Sushi Ryu when you’re entertaining clients
A selection of Japanese whiskey are available during your meal at Sushi Ryu
A selection of Japanese whiskey are available during your meal at Sushi Ryu

Complementing your experience here is Bar Shake next door. Decked out in dark wood and leather seats, the intimate bar is the domain of Osamu Kinugawa or Sam as he is better known.

Previously from Bar Kinugawa, he has built up a devoted following in KL for his innovative Japanese cocktails. Expect an emphasis on cocktails using fruits.

Expect to dine on fresh sashimi sourced from Japan at Sushi Ryu
Expect to dine on fresh sashimi sourced from Japan at Sushi Ryu
Chef Kiichi Okabe plates up the omakase course at Sushi Ryu
Chef Kiichi Okabe plates up the omakase course at Sushi Ryu

According to Sam, you can infuse sake with any fruit. So far, he has tried mangosteen, nangka, white grapes, passionfruit and longans.

Complementing the whole experience here is Sam’s unique own-made items. As he doesn’t like bottled tonic water, he has come up with his own tonic water for his cocktails, infusing it with lemongrass, orange rind, citric acid and agave syrup.

Fresh tuna sashimi carved from the whole bluefin tuna fish at Sushi Ryu’s grand opening
Fresh tuna sashimi carved from the whole bluefin tuna fish at Sushi Ryu’s grand opening
Dine on finely crafted sushi at Sushi Ryu
Dine on finely crafted sushi at Sushi Ryu

Using a soda water machine, he can also control the amount of gas that goes in. He also makes his own ginger ale and a sweet tasting tomato juice made from Momotaro tomatoes here.

Menu items from Sushi Ryu include premium ingredients like caviar and uni (left). Seasonal desserts are available at Sushi Ryu (right)
Menu items from Sushi Ryu include premium ingredients like caviar and uni (left). Seasonal desserts are available at Sushi Ryu (right)
You have a selection of two omakase menus at Sushi Ryu
You have a selection of two omakase menus at Sushi Ryu

Should you want an alcohol-free drink, Sam also has his own range of mocktails that use his own-made fruit vinegars like kiwi, strawberry and pineapple. You can also enjoy craft beers, wines, craft gins and whiskies, all from Japan, hand picked by Sam during his travels.

Sushi Ryu

Unit 3.3, Level 2, Tower 1, Platinum Park, Persiaran KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-21811533/019-3313595

Open: 12pm to 3pm, 6.30pm to 10pm (Mon to Fri), 6.30pm to 10pm (Sat)

Closed on Sunday

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sushiryumy/

Instagram: @sushiryu.kl

Website: http://ryu-sushi.com/

Bar Shake is named after the stylised Japanese technique of shaking cocktails known as ‘Hard Shake’, a method started by bartender Kazuo Uyeda at Ginza’s Tender Bar
Bar Shake is named after the stylised Japanese technique of shaking cocktails known as ‘Hard Shake’, a method started by bartender Kazuo Uyeda at Ginza’s Tender Bar
Sit at the 6-seater wooden counter to see the action behind the drinks at Bar Shake
Sit at the 6-seater wooden counter to see the action behind the drinks at Bar Shake

Bar Shake

Level 2, Tower 1 Platinum Park, Persiaran KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Tel:03-21811533

Open: 4pm to 12am

Closed on Sunday

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barshakekl/

Instagram: @barshake.kl

Website: http://bar-shake.com/

At Bar Shake, you can enjoy bespoke cocktails crafted by bar owner, Osamu Kinugawa or Sam (left). Fruits like the pink dragonfruit is used to make sake cocktails at Bar Shake (right)
At Bar Shake, you can enjoy bespoke cocktails crafted by bar owner, Osamu Kinugawa or Sam (left). Fruits like the pink dragonfruit is used to make sake cocktails at Bar Shake (right)
Behold, the magnificent smoked martini at Bar Shake
Behold, the magnificent smoked martini at Bar Shake

Bar Shake’s Osamu Kinugawa or Sam presents his longan saketini where the fresh fruit juice is infused with Junmaisho sake
Bar Shake’s Osamu Kinugawa or Sam presents his longan saketini where the fresh fruit juice is infused with Junmaisho sake
One of the Osamu Kinugawa’s special skills including carving the perfect, spherical ice cube at Bar Shake
One of the Osamu Kinugawa’s special skills including carving the perfect, spherical ice cube at Bar Shake

Tsukiji No. 8

Heading the restaurant is Chef Yasuro Usumai who has 28 years’ experience. The friendly chef comes from a family of rice padi planters and the fishing industry.

Opened since early May, this restaurant is located at the heart of the city. Owner Rodney Ther and his friends decided to open this eatery to offer Japanese food that won’t break your wallet.

It is Ther’s first F&B venture as he is in the business of dealing with cars. A visit to Japan opened his eyes (and stomach) to what Japan has to offer, hence he wants to recreate the same experience here. 

Previously, he worked at Midori, a restaurant in Tokyo, while his father runs a restaurant in Tokyo. He has been in Kuala Lumpur for nine years. This includes a stint at the ever-popular Ichiro Sushi Bar in 1Utama Shopping Centre. Assisting him is

Chef Takuji Teshima who has more than 20 years experience working in Tokyo, Australia and Malaysia.

Tsukiji No. 8’s tall glass windows allows you a bird-eye’s view of Jalan Raja Chulan
Tsukiji No. 8’s tall glass windows allows you a bird-eye’s view of Jalan Raja Chulan
A selection of Japanese sake is available at Tsukiji No. 8
A selection of Japanese sake is available at Tsukiji No. 8

Here, they specialise in fresh seafood brought in from Japan. The focus is sushi and sashimi but they do also offer other menu items like tamagoyaki, grilled items and tempura. For lunch, there are specials limited to 20 portions every day. Priced at RM23, you can choose from bara chirashi, salmon and ikura don, unatama don or their nigiri sushi set.

Omakase is also available at RM260 where you will be served various courses including a seafood carpaccio, four kinds of sashimi, six pieces of nigiri sushi and etc..

A signature of the restaurant is Ocean’s 8 (RM98), presented in a crab shell. The sushi rice base is topped with crab meat, negitoro, ikura, snow crab, scallop, crab paste, sea urchin. Crowning it is gold leaf. The name is a nod towards the use of eight ingredients from the sea.

Tsukiji No. 8’s chef Usami Yasuro cuts up the bluefin tuna (left). Three cuts of tuna from maguro, chutoro and otoro at Tsukiji No. 8 (right)
Tsukiji No. 8’s chef Usami Yasuro cuts up the bluefin tuna (left). Three cuts of tuna from maguro, chutoro and otoro at Tsukiji No. 8 (right)
A tuna carpaccio, a medley of Japanese and Italian flavours
A tuna carpaccio, a medley of Japanese and Italian flavours

You also have seasonal specials, like the rarely seen kani miso sourced from southern Hokkaido. The soft paste with its dark grey colour may not be Instagram-friendly but try it once and you will be hooked on its sweet, delicious taste. It’s said to be made from the brains of kani crab, a winter specialty.

Available till the season runs out by the end of the year, the kani miso specials come in a salad form or different sushi forms. You can also have hotate kani miso yaki or grilled scallops with the kani miso.

Pair your meal with a bottle of sake too as the restaurant offers an extensive handpicked list of the Japanese rice wine. Previously, they held a sake pairing dinner so look out for the next one.

Ocean’s 8 is filled with eight different types of ingredients from the sea (left). You can also order tempura from the menu at Tsukiji No. 8 (right)
Ocean’s 8 is filled with eight different types of ingredients from the sea (left). You can also order tempura from the menu at Tsukiji No. 8 (right)
Kani miso gunkan sushi may not be Instagram-friendly but it’s full of sweet, delicious flavour
Kani miso gunkan sushi may not be Instagram-friendly but it’s full of sweet, delicious flavour

The seafood is flown in three times a week from Japan. Unlike the usual supply chain, Ther tells us that they source their own seafood from a new player in town hence some items found here are unavailable at other restaurants.

Sit next to their tall glass windows and you have a sweeping view of the busy Jalan Raja Chulan. There is also the sushi counter, if you prefer to watch the chefs at work.

And if you are entertaining clients, the restaurant offers three private dining rooms. Each room has eight seats. You can also combine two rooms to accommodate 20 diners. In total, the restaurant can fit up to 68 people.

Tsukiji No. 8’s owners (from left to right): Alex Fong, Raymond Ng, Lim Chun Heng and Rodney Ther
Tsukiji No. 8’s owners (from left to right): Alex Fong, Raymond Ng, Lim Chun Heng and Rodney Ther

And what’s with the name? Ther explains to us, it’s a nod towards the renowned Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo which has now moved to its new site in Toyosu. The number 8 holds double significance as it means prosperity in Chinese and is also a tribute to their supplier’s cabin location.

Tsukiji No. 8

Lot 136/8 First Floor, Wisma Lim Foo Yong, 86, Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-2143 8889

Open: 11.30am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 11pm

Closed on Sunday

Website: http://tsukijino8.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TsukijiNo.8Official/