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.

zipangu, shang-rila KL-2

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.

zipangu, shang-rila KL-32

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.

zipangu, shang-rila KL-27

zipangu, shang-rila KL-28

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.

zipangu, shang-rila KL-1

Crowd favourites such as fresh oysters are available of course.

zipangu, shang-rila KL-18

zipangu, shang-rila KL-19

zipangu, shang-rila KL-20

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

zipangu Shang-rila

zipangu, shang-rila KL-8

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

zipangu, shang-rila KL-6

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.

zipangu, shang-rila KL-12

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

zipangu, shang-rila KL-38

Sanma shioyaki – saury pike.

zipangu Shang-rila-1

The soba noodles section.

zipangu, shang-rila KL-11

Miso soup.

zipangu, shang-rila KL-13

zipangu, shang-rila KL-16

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

zipangu, shang-rila KL-29

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

zipangu, shang-rila KL-10

zipangu, shang-rila KL-37

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

zipangu, shang-rila KL-14

zipangu, shang-rila KL-31

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

zipangu, shang-rila KL-23

zipangu, shang-rila KL-22

Then there’s green tea francais.

zipangu, shang-rila KL-25

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

zipangu, shang-rila KL-36

Other desserts.

zipangu, shang-rila KL-24

zipangu, shang-rila KL-26

Fresh fruits.

zipangu, shang-rila KL-21

Strawberries & fresh cream! 😉

zipangu, shang-rila KL-30

My lunch:

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

zipangu, shang-rila KL-1

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???

zipangu, shang-rila KL-9

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.

zipangu, shang-rila KL-15

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.

zipangu, shang-rila KL-5

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.

zipangu, shang-rila KL-7

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).

zipangu, shang-rila KL-33

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.

zipangu, shang-rila KL-3

zipangu, shang-rila KL-4

zipangu, shang-rila KL-17

zipangu, shang-rila KL-34

zipangu, shang-rila KL-35

This Post Has 23 Comments

  1. Isaac Tan

    So this is where you ran to when you told me you’re going to have Zipangu the other day! Woot, japanese cuisine for the win!

    1. Rebecca

      Yup it was here! I had high expectations, so I was well, hhmm…

  2. lotsofcravings

    with the Shang card, it is quite a no brainer to come here when you want a buffet yet with not too big of a crowd. interesting that the tuna comes from indonesia, something new that i havent heard of!

    1. Rebecca

      With the Shang card, getting your Jap fix here is quite worth it. I still think there are better Jap buffets around for that price.

  3. jfook

    Can bring me if I go back to KL… I need good food. =P

  4. Baby Sumo

    Tried the green tea powder truffles before during lunch at Lafite and really liked it.

    1. Rebecca

      Ahh… too bad I didnt take any that day. Was stuffed from the other food, & I don’t like choc all together that much..

  5. Sean

    i’ve never managed to try the buffets at zipangu or kampachi before, but the one at iketeru was ok, since all the food was ordered from a menu and prepared only when ordered … but i guess even zipangu’s is actually worthwhile for this price, since an a la carte sashimi order here would already cost nearly RM100? 😀

    1. rebeccasaw

      Yea Sean! Actually..true. If compared to ala carte, and if you have a Shang card. Guess one shouldn’t complain after all! *im too fussy for my own good * ;p

  6. NKOTB

    one of my favourite place in KL.

    1. rebeccasaw

      Oh? Should i expect better if it’s ala carte?

  7. minchow

    This is disappointing! Zipangu invokes all these images of top of the line stuff, doesn’t quite correspond with what you encountered!

    1. rebeccasaw

      Exactly. Was I too fussy? Or perhaps the source of seafood is not from Japan? Could that have made a difference?

  8. mimi

    i hate the vege with a lot with oil… yuak….

  9. Tsu Xi

    Hi Rebecca, I have been going to Zipangu for years but stopped for the last 3 years as their fare has become boring. With other alternative Japanese buffets in town, Zipangu is not so attractive any more. I also used to to to Kampachi. While the quality is there, the variety is the same from years ago.

    You keep mentioning there are other better Japanese buffets in KL/PJ. Which other Japanese buffets are you most impressed with in KL/PJ?


  10. Alif ehsan

    Planned to go here this sat but since ive read ur conclusion i think i shud go elsewhere.where do u recommend? Kampachi in equatorial kl or one in eastin hotel pj?

    1. rebeccasaw

      I think Kampachi has maintained their quality so far. I have not tried the one in Eastin though!

  11. xixi

    the buffet looks great, but aint cheap. wondering if they have any offers soon

  12. Nicholas Pillai

    After viewing your photos of the Zipangu Buffet… I am just shocked. I just had a fabulous meal there the other day but not the buffet, and I thought hmmm maybe I should try the buffet and then I came across your wonderful website. And you changed my mind.. nothing looked nice. It looked like leftovers to be served to the mainstream, and having local delights for Dessert is just absolutely shocking. Thank you for your insightful article. no way will I go….

    1. rebeccasaw

      Oh, you went ala-carte. I have never tried the ala-carte 🙂
      However, that was my buffet experience >1 year ago. Not sure if they have improved since, I do they have!
      Thanks for your kind comments Nicholas! You have such an informative blog too! Love the Bali articles!

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