When I revisited Ishin recently after 4 years (post HERE), I started to question the reason it has prospered despite the mushrooming of Japanese F & B outlets in the Klang Valley.
And I had wondered too how establishments like Rakuzen maintains its current amount of restaurants with each and every one of them thriving.
Sushi Zanmai is usually my pick if I’m stuck in a mall. Otherwise I’ll go for Hokkaido Ichiba.
Of course my favourite is still Ichiro Sushi in 1U (post HERE) and when the need for sublime Japanese dining arises, Oribe (post HERE) is my pick.
Hyotan in Subang (post HERE) isn’t too bad either. Senya (post HERE) and TEN Japanese Dining (post HERE) offers good Japanese food too.
The bottom line is, Malaysians are crazy about Japanese food and not everyone is exceedingly particular about top quality seafood.
Affordability plays a major role since not many of us could afford to dine at top dollar restaurants like Oribe, Sushi Hinata and Ginza Sushimasa every week/month.
Thus chain outlets like Zanmai, Sushi Tei and Rakuzen thrives for the mere reasons of offering variety with reasonable quality coupled with a decent price tag.
Since the last time I stepped into Rakuzen could have been 7 years ago, I decided that our dinner would be Rakuzen before the Drag Attack Show at Theater Lounge, Hartamas.
PS: Do catch the show as it is entertaining! Expect dancing, singing and jokes. 3 shows left 1st, 2nd & 3rd April 2016.
In an effort to compare Ishin to Rakuzen (no particular reason other than the fact that I was at both within a week of each other), I ordered almost similar items; uni, unagi and Chirashi Don in place of sashimi moriawase.
I had planned to order the sashimi moriawase but Rakuzen sashimi moriawase selections seem unappealing for the price.
Rakuzen offers 4 sashimi moriawase starting with the Hama Sashimi Moriawase which includes 5 types of sashimi (akami/tuna, kampachi, salmon, tako/octopus, ika/squid) priced at RM55 nett.
A step up is the Iso Sashimi Moriawase, RM90 nett for 6 types (toro/tuna, kampachi , salmon, amaebi/sweet shrimp, hotate, ikura).
In comparison, for Ishin’s Sashimi Moriawase priced at RM80++ (butterfish, hamachi, tuna, scallop, salmon) you get thicker slices and 3 slices per fish.
So it really depends on the type of seafood you prefer, for the sashimi moriawase selection at both restaurants differs slightly.
Other than the ones mentioned above, 2 other Rakuzen’s sashimi moriawase are the RM120 version for 7 types of seafood and the RM200 version with 8 kinds of seasonal seafood.
Anyhow, the fresh seafood adorning our chirashi don was acceptable and pretty much what you would expect at a mid tier Japanese restaurant.
For RM45 nett (GST included in the price) you would be better off with Hyotan’s Chirashi Don Set at RM42++. (You can check out Hyotan’s Chirashi Don Set HERE))
Otherwise Senya Publika’s Chirashi Don (not set) at RM33.80 (pic of Senya’s Chirashi Don HERE) is a steal!
BELOW: Rakuzen’s Sakura Chirashi Don – RM45 nett.
Tuna, amberjack, salmon, octopus, prawn, crabmeat, omelette, on rice served with miso soup.
The seafood are in slices instead of cubes, but as you can see, they are very thin slices!
BELOW: Rakuzen’s Unagi for RM50 (150-160g) OR RM40 (100-110 g).
This is the RM40 version.
In comparison Ishin offers 2 large pieces for RM72++ (check out the image HERE). Thus if I were to order 2 of Rakuzen’s RM40 nett unagi, it would be pretty much the same size and price as Ishin’s at RM72++.
However, the unagi here was overly sweet for me so I personally prefer Ishin’s.
Last but not least, the uni.
This is the Rakuzen’s Quarter portion at RM60 nett.
Ishin’s RM61/portion uni was pretty similar in quantity but taste-wise the uni offers a more pristine flavour. So again, my pick for uni would be at Ishin’s.
If you love uni, you can gorge on a half tray (RM120) or a full tray (RM200).
In conclusion I personally prefer Ishin over Rakuzen (based on what I’ve tried so far) but I have to admit that Rakuzen is certainly more accessible than the only-one-outlet Ishin.
And I’ll like to reiterate that the reason I’m comparing Ishin with Rakuzen is simply because both offers almost similar menu options and I’ve visited both recently.
Hyotan’s menu and Oribe’s are way different so there isn’t a fair ground for comparison other than for the Chirashi Don.
Last but not least, do you know that the Super Dining group of restaurants include Rakuzen, Hokkaido Ichiba and Kura One World Hotel?
So yes, these restaurants are actually related.
Who had visited all 3 (Rakuzen, Hokkaido Ichiba and Kura) and what are your opinions of the food quality at each of them? Any differences?
I for one had dined at all 3 and prefers Hokkaido Ichiba over Rakuzen. My Kura visits (twice) were a while ago so I can’t quite remember the food I had or the prices.
For full list of Rakuzen restaurants: http://superdining.com.my/