In Genji's revamped menu, Head Chef Richard Teoh has introduced "A Taste of Osaka" within the largely Tokyo-style restaurant. It's a delightful departure sort of like taking a bullet train for an afternoon sojurn in Osaka for a break from bustling Tokyo.
Beautiful to look at, good to eat
Hilton Petaling Jaya,
2, Jalan Barat,
Tel: 03 7955 9122 (Ext 4071/2)
6 pm - 10.30 pm / 12 - 3.30 pm
The standard is always consistent
The Osaka-style sets do cost a pretty penny
RM 180 - RM 700
I remember being in the Osaka train station and feeling rather bewildered. I just came from gorgeous Kyoto where the pace is a little languid, a smell-the-cherry-blossoms kind of place. And then suddenly stepping into Osaka- a crazy bustling metropolis, everyone rushing to go somewhere.
One thing I did remember everyone telling me was, "Osaka, lucky girl- it's a food mad city." In the whirlwind two days I was there I remembered eating grilled octopus at the side of the street, hot and sticky while breathing in the city. Each city has its unique smells, sometimes I get a whiff of damp asphalt with a tinge of metallic and warm malt vinegar and think of London. In Osaka it was electric neon and those grilled baby octopi.
Anyway... Genji's affable Chef Richard who is mad about the tastes and textures of Japanese cuisine recently had a sojurn in Osaka and came back with a few tricks. So now fans of Genji can enjoy "A Taste of Osaka" when they dine.
To some people Osaka's lighter touch on the food might seem a little bland but because of that you can really only get away with it by using the freshest ingredients. Before the meal started Chef Richard gave a quick demo on Osaka-style sushi. First he takes up the box press, a rectangular mould and lays a bamboo leaf at the bottom, "so the rice doesn't stick." He adds in a generous slice of mackerel and some scallions. Then he presses in sushi rice, “not too tightly just firmly” and wallah, box sushi!
So to the meal, a sort of Osaka-inspired degustation First up are delightful raw scallops with roe in a fresh vinaigrette and diced mango. This slips down your throat and whets your appetite for something more. Sashimi followed then a medley of three delicious things. This is my favourite of the night. Succulent grilled cod (PJ Hilton always does cod extremely well), addictive garlic fried rice studded with edamame and a slice of tender beef with a sesame marinade.
Mmm… the portions are perfect, enough to quieten your hunger, yet leaves you wanting more. Tomato ni comes next, a peeled tomato stewed with rice and herbs inside. Not entirely a favourite of the night since I am not a fan of stewed tomatoes yet it is undeniably interesting with a salty, savoury aftertaste.
Then came sushi, a selection of mackerel, salmon, yellowtail and unagi done in the box-style. All were fresh but as I sip my clam miso soup, despite the delicate portions, I was starting to get full.
We talked a little about one of our favourite dishes at Genji which is the kaki chilli mayo. Devilish oysters in a spicy mayo that slides down your throat like melted butter. They apparently have a prawn version and insist we try it. The prawns being of firmer meat, does not have the same mouth-melt texture but it’s still very good. After the light dishes of the Osaka menu, the spiciness of the mayo was like a jolt of electricity to the tongue.
We ended the meal with zenzai, a Japanese red bean soup with soft, nutty mochi balls. Along with this are lovely little wagashi which is a type of Japanese confectionery. From what I can tell they are mochi balls made into shapes of fruits filled with azuki bean paste. There is a cherry and a pumpkin shaped mochi and is utterly delish. With each mouthful, the chewiness and the mellow sweetness just makes you happy. I actually didn’t realize they were edible at first because they looked so decorative.
For those of you who want to try out Osaka-style cuisine, they have it on the menu so you can order the box-sushi ala carte. (RM30-RM45). But for a true Osaka showcase try the Osaka Teppanyaki set(RM350++) or the delicate 10-course Osaka Kaiseki (RM330++) set. It might set you back quite a bit but it’s a real treat.