Think PJ Hilton is old, outdated and boring?
Shame on you!
(Well, err.. actually, I thought so too.. ) until one night I got re-educated..
Frat Mustard: “PJ Hilton sports a revamped night joint in the form of Uncle Chilli’s, & there are lots of ACTION here now. Really.”
“See? Told ya there’s action.” ;p
Being more of a food fanatic, I was more intrigued by the introduction of Zest, PJ Hilton’s blog for the restaurants and bar of the hotel, namely Padi Serai, Toh Yuen, Caffe Cino, Genji and Uncle Chilli’s.
The blog allows diners to share their dining experience with other online visitors & even through popular social sites like Twitter & Facebook. Regular updates on happenings, contests, photos, recipes plus e-newsletters keeps the blog fun and interactive.
With its recent tie-up with theQguides.com, a F&B website portal, a few lucky food bloggers had had the opportunity for a memorable dining experience at its outlets previously. Thanks to Frat Mustard, my turn came last week.
So here we are, at Genji, with its lovely interior reminiscent of a Japanese countryside restaurant, dotted with both modish and traditional Japanese objects d’art, waited upon attentively by the gracious wait staff.
Sinking down to my chair, I relaxed, comforted by the surrounding tranquil ambiance and placed an order for their Genji’s Special mocktail, a concoction of Strawberry, Grenadine Syrup, Ginger Ale, Ground Ginger and Double Cream, and looked forward to an evening of opulence and indulgence.
For Unkaleong; it was nothing less than a Sake, (what else, for an alcoholic) of which he pronounced excellent.
Sadly I couldn’t concur with him on my mocktail, for it was rather diluted & lacked of any cream or ginger undertones. It tasted more of a sweet syrupy strawberry drink.
Service was most attentive, with a good looking Amos, the outlet manager literally at our beck and call
He explained the restaurant’s concept, the dishes served, recommended one of the most delicious dish we had that night (the lobster) and was seriously the epitome of excellent service.
Unlike other reviews where a blogger dines on dishes that were pre-decided by the outlet or the chef, we were given the free hand to order anything from its extensive menu. And anything literally means anything, no matter the cost.
We started the gastronomical night with an order of the extravagant Sashimi Moriawase Matsu. After all, what better way to review a Japanese restaurant if not for its fresh fillets of raw fish?
Our eyes widen at the generous THICK cuts of salmon, maguro (tuna), kampachi (yellow tail), butterfish, sea bream, ikura (salmon roe) when the platter was served, and agreed that it was certainly value for money at RM180.
I personally would have preferred thinner fillets, and more slices instead, for it was quite tricky to take smaller bites to slowly appreciate the taste of the fish. But every single slice was firm, glisteningly in its natural colour indicating absolute freshness.
Another noteworthy mention was the wasabi, full bodied and with ample sting to draw tears, definitely my kind of wasabi!
Diners has the option to order ala-carte and prices below are for ONE slice.
At Kura, One World Hotel just last Friday, Unka saw sea urchin on the sushi menu and heaps praises of how good it tasted. Since I have never tried such exotic stuff before, I took the opportunity to order this. At RM45 for the soft mass you see here, the best description I could came up with was it tasted very much like fish brain.
An acquired taste no doubt, of which I absolutely can’t get enough of!
The wobbly soft pulp sea creature glides down the throat easily and could have easily slurped in a bite. Darn, if only I didnt have to share.
The dish that really shone and stole the night.
The Kobe was splendid, moist from its own fat with the tenderness that rendered every bite a delight. A tad salty for me, of which I’m sure would have been marvelous with some rice.
He then tsk-ed- tsked and proceeded to add an order of oysters for us, as it is an Genji specialty that shouldn’t be missed.
I then immediately requested for his recommendation of a lobster dish, having spied “lobster” on the menu earlier.
No problem, he grinned obligingly & proceeded to have “a word with the chef”.
Hence 15 mins later came the oysters, at an impressive length of 10 cm at least. The batter was crisp yet it didnt reek of grease. A bit bland of its own, its was nonetheless juicy, enjoyable mainly because it was so fresh.
We awarded the Lobster with merit points for its springy meat and firm texture. The Genji spicy mayo married perfectly with the flesh and a squeeze of lime completely transformed the boring mayo- seafish combo to something out of the ordinary.
Unka polished off whatever that was left in the head too, leaving the poor creature brainless.
While it maybe a simple dish, the humble Chawanmushi never fails to excite if done well.
Here at Genji, they got it right; eggy, firm yet wobbly and absolutely smooth. Way better than loads others I have tasted elsewhere, which was normally watery, at the most reasonable price of RM12.
Arriving looking deceiving alike any other sushi, the key objective was to experience the difference in the rice’s makeup. The chef’s skills comes to test here, for he must be able to compact the rice to a certain degree of density, yet maintaining “looseness” where the rice shouldn’t felt like it is a ketupat!
We got a visit then from dear Frat, who unceremoniously hopped onto the centre of the plate vying for attention.
Naughty Frat, who wants a taste of everything..
He wanted some Sake to loosen up…
And got more than what he bargained for. For his neck got loosen, literally.
No thanks to UnkaLeong.
Dear Frat, ya’ alrite I hope??
Correct me if I was misinformed, but Japanese desserts seems pretty stuck at green tea ice cream, mochi and azuki beans.
Pretty excited at first to see “Honjitsu No W..something“, which happened to be a Genji’s special, I was later informed that it is basically local Malaysian fruits with some mochi or ice cream (I can’t remember, darn.. I really should start taking notes while I eat), I huffed at the idea of eating papayas in a top Japanese restaurant & opted for the next most interesting item on the menu, Fried Ice Cream Mochi, only to be informed that it wasn’t available.
Face contorted at a very unpretty mask now, I resigned to ordering the Matcha Parfait, of which you see above & though it was good, it was boring.
Then a little bird named Amos fluttered by again, and after listening to me whine of my dessert woes, happily chirped that Genji’s special off -the- menu Goma Ice cream would be just the fix I need.
Earthy, full bodied sesame flavour, this Goma ice cream was a sweet wrap-up for the feast that night.
And just like a local radio station’s program who asked their listeners “So is your problem fixed?” whenever a solution was presented to their chosen listener, my reply was a satisfactory “Yes”.
Below: This is what a wasabi looked like, in its natural form. The next picture further below is freshly grated wasabi, which is available upon special request, subject to availability of the tuber of course.