Kaihomaru, Starhill – Japanese restaurant in KL

Becky’s 1 Minute Summary:
What: Semi-fine dining.  Japanese cuisine in a quiet and elegant atmosphere,
What to order here: Nigiri and Bara Chirashi Don because the vinegared rice is good. Though known for its sashimi, the ones I had in my sashimi set wasn’t up to my expectations, even for “KL standards” (let’s not even compare to the ones I had in Japan). Tempura and soba – just decent.
Overall experience: Set lunches are pretty value for money considering the quality, location and portion. However if budget is not an issue and even if I’m in KL area, I’m not likely to revisit.
Price: Set lunches are reasonable for the quality and taste. Ala carte and dinner meals are more expensive.
NOTE: I have only sampled their lunch sets so far.

For the long story, read on. :)

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I can’t eat Japanese food or soba or sashimi every week in Japan can I? After all I am living in KL, NOT Japan.
And though I’m always in search of a Japanese restaurant in KL that could at least replicate 70% of the taste of the food I had in Japan, I have not been diligently dining out and trying new outlets. For my sashimi fix, I would just take a 5 minutes walk over to Ichiro, 1 Utama where I’ll get quality sashimi and nigiri at reasonable prices in a cosy dining space.

Since my recent return from Tokyo, I’m more obsessed than ever with Japanese food. Since my memory and palate are still fresh from the soba, seafood and all the Japanese delicacies I sampled in Tokyo, I decided to try out a few places here which had favourable reviews both offline and online.

I started with Kaihomaru, which has positive reviews since its days in Federal Hotel in the Bukit Bintang area.

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Kaihomaru took over the space left vacant by Gonbei, whose food quality had slide south ever since they jumped on the Groupon bandwagon. That was sad, for I had good meals at Gonbei before (obviously not during the Groupon days).

The interior and layout looked pretty much the same. We were there on a Saturday afternoon, and the whole restaurant was serving less than 5 tables.

From the set menu I counted about 15 set lunches, all on offer on both weekdays and weekends with prices from RM29++ to RM98++.
I was quick to select the Sashimi set, since  there was only one on offer and it came with 5 types of fresh seafood, rice, soup, salad, an appetizer and chawanmushi.

  • Syunsen Sashimi Tershoku (RM 48)

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I started with the simple salad, which I appreciated for its fresh, crisp textures and familiar Japanese salad dressing.
The chawanmushi was good; hot, eggy and wobbly. Another side appetizer and a miso soup complete the set.

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But the real test lies in the fresh seafood. The set came with octopus as well which I didn’t quite fancy so I requested for ALL fresh fishes for my set. Happily enough, the chef obliged.
Thank you so much Chef. 🙂

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But here was where the less-than-ideal service surfaced. Even during the set selections, I found the wait staff to be ignorant of the menu. We asked a few questions like what fish are served with the sashimi set and the nigiri set and none could answer us.
However, credit to be given where it’s due, they did check for me immediately.
Anyhow I find the salmon and tuna belly (akami) to be alright but not the white fish, yellowtail and red snapper. Kevin and KC felt all was ok, while me and PL thought the last 3 weren’t as fresh as it should be.

KC’s set:

  • Barachirashi Don Teishoku (RM 38)

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He rated it highly for there were generous amount of thick cubes of seafood and the vinegared rice was adeptly prepared. I stole a few bites and was pretty pleased with it myself!

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Kevin’s set:

  • Nigiri Sushi Set (RM 48)

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The nigiri here are commendable. As I have mentioned before, the vinegared rice here are done pretty well so each nigiri was tasty. The tuna belly rolls were really good (I helped myself to one!) while the rest were satisfactory overall – fresh seafood, thick cuts and tasty sushi rice. Kevin was very happy with his lunch.

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PL on other hand didn’t think highly of his meal.

  • Zaru Udon & Kaisen Futomaki Teishoku (RM 30)

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The noodles (soba) was decent for the rest but I personally found it to be too soft and doughy. The thick and greasy tempura batter didn’t help much.

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Lastly, all of us had fruits as dessert, which was part of the set.

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In conclusion, the set lunches are pretty value for money and their nigiri are good.
Kaihomaru also offers Teppanyaki (there is a Teppanyaki station) and guests can enhance their dining experience by dining in one of the Tatami rooms.

KAIHOMARU
Tel : +603-21411442
Email : [email protected]
Opening hours :
Mon. – Sun : Lunch 11:30am-3pm, Dinner 6pm-11pm