“Where is this restaurant located at?” I asked. Even though I had a rough idea on the location but I wasn’t sure of its existence since all I see was housing area. “Wait for me. I’ll take you there.” my mum replied excitedly. Perhaps, she’s more eager to go to this secluded Japanese restaurant than I do.
My mum has been telling of this restaurant since last year but I shrugged the idea of visiting them for some reasons I couldn’t remembered of. Anyway, after a long delay and since I didn’t have dinner on one particular day, I’ve decided to give it a try.
Originally owned by a Japanese chap, now it is handled by a friendly lady manager, this restaurant is surrounded by a few shops and semi-d houses. It was rather hard to imagine to that this restaurant existed for almost 3 years already. But all those doubts were diminished quickily when I put my foot into the restaurant. The business was better-than-average even on a weekday night. I was told that you have to make reservation if you intend to visit them on weekends.
The table arrangements were like of modern era. There were Tatami seats too as as well as private room if you want to hold some functions. Besides, if you’re bored of waiting, you can checkout a selection of mangas (like Bleach) displayed on bookshelf. Not only mangas, they have Japanese magazines and papers too. I guess they were trying to be as Japanese as possible.
Nihon Kai is slightly different if I would to compare to that of bigger Japanese chain restaurants. First of all, I did not see any conveyor belt. And secondly, there were limited choice of sushi. It could be a good thing or bad thing. It’s up to you to decide.
A couple flips through the menu, I could feel that they were focusing on bigger ala carte dishes and trying to keep their sushi as simple (or little) as possible. When I said bigger, I mean by the set menu, noodles and rice. Oh yes, they do have Japanese style congee too, which is a first to me.
Nihon Kai SP Maki
Recommended and featured in newspaper (I’m not which one though), it was no brainer to order their special Maki; Nihon Kai SP Maki. Cool name, eh… Unlike other normal Makis, there was no rice in it as fillings.
Nihon Kai SP Maki
Vegetables, salmons and some fried crunchy stuff, rolled altogether with a thin layer of transparent skin, they tasted great. It was crunchy from the inside out as it was like eating chips with mayonnaise. I guess they were being special after all…
Itako & Kuraage
Like always, I ordered Shake Temaki and Shake Sushi. The handroll was rather different I would say. There were no slices of cucumbers in it. It’s just salmon and rice and mayonnaise. Weird. Apart from those, Itako & Kuraage came. Basically, they are seasoned baby octopus and jellyfish. It’s fresh and tasted slightly sweet and sour. Pretty good to be as appetizer.
Other than the usual suspects, I ordered Nabeyaki Udon as my main course. It looked delicious from the menu. And thank god, the pictures did not deceive me at all. I love the broth (soup) they used. Not too sweet yet not too bland.
The semi raw egg on top was a brilliant idea. By this way, I can opt to cook the egg (‘break’ it) or let it be ‘wet’ by taking it out because the broth is hot (temperature wise) enough to cook the egg thoroughly. Apart from crabsticks, chicken meat and seaweeds, they gave one Ebi Tempura separately. Lovely.
Though there were numerous amount of sashimi shown in the menu, to be on the safe side, I’ve picked Mixed Sashimi. A couple (thick) slices of the usual famous fishes and walla, a ‘platter’ was presented right in front of me. Salmon *checked*. Tuna *checked*. Octopus *checked*. Some other weird fish *checked*. But I find it weird to label crabstick as sashimi too.
There was a tiny space left unfilled in my stomach. So, a couple flips in the menu and I spotted Kushi Katsu. From presentation point of view, it looked alright to me. It’s made of meat and onion covered with breadcrumbs batter and deep fried till golden brown. I would like it if not for the slight thick batter.
Lastly was the dessert. Eliminated ice creams, I’m left with one thing; Zenzai. With the option hot or cold, I asked the manager what it is (since there was no text explanation in the menu). In layman term, it is red bean soup with chewy dumpling in it. Something simple and nice, I would say. Due to its not-so-sweet taste, I was tempted to order the cold version but I guess I’ll leave it for the next visit.
Apart from its price (which is slightly higher than normal Japanese restaurant), it is safe to say that Nihon Kai is worth the visit. A wide variety of set lunch and dinner, one would be spoilt by its selection. Fishes I might not heard of, congee I’ve not tasted before, set menus I’ve difficulty to choose from, I guess this restaurant is trying to be different from other commoners. And although you might not get your favourite sushi and/or maki from this restaurant, there’s no harm trying something new, right…
4-2, Jalan Telok Gadung,
Off Jalan Kelang Lama,
58100 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel No. : (03) 7982 3668
Lunch 12pm – 3pm
Dinner 6pm – 10pm
*Blue circle denotes the location of the restaurant.