Zipangu @ Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur – RM96++ weekend Japanese Buffet

I wonder if the popularity has dwindled for places like Zipangu, Kampachi & Iketeru – all these restaurants that were once considered the old dame of Japanese buffets, ever since the proliferation of cheaper, mass market Japanese buffets like Tao, Jogoya, Tenji, Saisaki & the likes.

When I walked in on a Sat afternoon for lunch, the restaurant was considerably packed, with the crowd much much better behaved & sedate compared to the monkeys people that you normally meet jostling for fresh sashimi & oysters at your other mid-priced buffets in town. I guess the “prestige” of being in Shang filters the crowd a bit.

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Zipangu, for RM96++ /pax offers almost pure Jap fare for their weekend buffet. Fresh seafood was aplenty; though it was no longer sourced from Japan directly, and this poster in the lifts & at the front of their restaurant clearly stated their source of fresh produce.

Zipangu’s salmon is imported from Norway, beef and scallops from Australia, crab from Alaska, tuna from Indonesia and local herbs and greens from Cameron Highlands.

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While I won’t say that patrons of Zipangu Japanese buffet are spoilt for choice, for choices were obviously lacking; I would say this is worth considering if you are looking for purely Japanese fare, & definitely worth your moolah if you are a Shang card holder. For it is “Buy One Free One” if you are.

The appetisers. Pretty much the norm.

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The fresh sashimi. Nothing too fancy but you can expect the expected. Tuna (maguro), salmon, kampachi, octopus, hen clam, scallops, shime saba (mackarel) & butter fish.

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Crowd favourites such as fresh oysters are available of course.

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There’s a fair selection of sushi as well. Octopus, maguro (tuna), hen clam, sweet shrimp, tako, tamagoyak, eel, crab stick, ika, inari.

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Makis selection –  Kampachi, california, salmon, tuna, oshinko- pickled radish, kappa – cucumber, tenmusu.

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Moving on to the cooked items section, there isn’t that much to look forward to. Taste-wise, all were fair & some bordered on forgettable.
Choices: Chawanmushi. Soba. Oden. Sukiyaki. Gindara miso kimchee soup. Yaki soba. Chasoba. Perch with lemon sauce. Chicken sausage with asparagus. Salmon head shioyaki. Garlic &  seafood rice (both of which bordered on tasteless). Sanma shioyaki – saury pike.

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Gindara Miso Kimchee Soup (the only dish that features COD here).

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Sanma shioyaki – saury pike.

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The soba noodles section.

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Miso soup.

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The tempura wasn’t anything spectacular but I won’t complain either. It was lightly battered, non-greasy & the prawns were fresh enough.

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Choices : Kariaage. Tempura prawns. Potatoes/broccoli/carrot.

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Desserts were boring, with some local Malay kuih and the customary cheese & chocolate mousse (this one was a bit like black forest).

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The only interesting ones were this Green tea powder coated truffles & the Japanese fruit sushi.

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Then there’s green tea francais.

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Even the mochi failed to make any good impressions as it was dry & hard versus the expected texture of supple & chewy.

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Other desserts.

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Fresh fruits.

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Strawberries & fresh cream! 😉

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My lunch:

The fresh sashimi cuts lacks flavour. No refills for me.

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Soups (miso & the daikon soup) was ok. The shocking part was when I was informed that there were no lamb or beef available at the teppanyaki section. WHAT???

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I topped up on the eel (unagi) since I love ’em. The eel was fleshy, only marred cos of the skin; which was rubbery & thick. I would have preferred crisper or thinner skin.

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I’m not sure who cooked the vegetables at the teppanyaki counter. My plate of simple vegetables came swimming in oil & lacked seasoning so it was almost tasteless.

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Since I was deprived of lamb or beef, I resorted to chicken for my meat. Unfortunately, this was disappointing as well, as the chicken wasn’t properly grilled with the teriyaki sauce but came across almost as if it was deep fried, cut & then glazed with teriyaki sauce instead. It certainly wasn’t marinated enough to flavour the chicken.

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Ice cream selections were limited to just chocolate, vanilla, strawberry & green tea . There is no goma (black sesame) ice cream available for buffet. Not sure if that means it is available ala-carte though.

Zipangu Jap Shangrila

All in all, I was disappointed with the food. I can’t get over the fact that there were no lamb or beef at the teppanyaki section! Anyhow, if you are not as fussy as I am, Zipangu will still do for your Jap fix. For places like this, you’re guaranteed a certainly level of quality, though not necessarily the best. Heck, for the price you’re paying, it better be. Service was exemplary though.
But would I re-visit?
No. Nothing stood out for me here.
Would I recommend it to my friends? If you have a Shang card, definitely. If you are looking for solely Japanese fare, why not. However, I do wonder if the fresh seafood from Japan would make any difference.

Total bill:
RM111.xx after taxes. It’s good to have a Shang card!

NOTE: The 88 Sakura Spring Specials runs from 4 April 2011 until 31 May 2011. The first eighty-eight guests who book for either lunch or dinner will receive 50% discount (only limited to 88 for lunch and 88 for dinner per day) on total food bill (terms and conditions apply).

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Level 1, Shangri-La Hotel,
11, Jalan Sultan Ismail,
50250 Kuala Lumpur,

Telephone number: 03 2074 390
Fax number: 03 2070 1514
Website: click (here)

Opening hours:
Lunch : 12noon – 2.30pm (Monday – Friday)
Lunch: 11.30am – 2.30pm (Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays)
Dinner : 6.30pm – 10.30pm (daily)

All pictures are:

More pics of the restaurant Zipangu & Shangri-la Hotel. Classy, grand & redolent of old opulence.

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