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This Malaysian outpost of a popular Tokyo based traditional Japanese restaurant is perfect for those looking for fuss-free authentic fare from the Land of the Rising Sun. Tucked away on the ground floor of the Plaza Damas commercial centre, Yoshinari is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.

The restaurant is cosy with a warm, tranquil ambience and a large open-kitchen concept which takes centre stage. The MIGF menu is based on the kappou ryori style of serving, which emphasises fresh ingredients prepared simply to enhance their natural flavours. The idea is balance in taste, texture and combination of courses. With their eight-course set meal, the restaurant wants to provide locals a chance to sample real Japanese cuisine cooked by chefs specially flown in from Japan.

Traditional Japanese decorations

The evening’s diners were self-professed lovers of Japanese food, but many agreed that a menu like this was very different from what they were used to. Among the guests that night were Insas Berhad Executive Deputy Chairman Dato’ Sri Thong Kok Khee, Celcom Chief Executive Officer Michael Kuehner, Sunway Group Director of Special Projects Aaron Soo and Alorie Hospitality Founder and CEO Jean Marc Lafosse.

Jeffrey Perera, Rocio Beltran, James Beltran, Margaret Lee and Jean Marc Lafosse

Datin Su Wai Fun, Dato' Garry Chua, Dato' Sri Thong Kok Khee, Datin Sri Kwee See, Aaron Soo and Ms Zi 

Soon Poh Lin, Sooria Perera, Michael Kuehner, Chef Yanagida Tetsuya, Jeffrey Perera, Dr. Beh Chor Khim, Jean Marc Lafosse, Margaret Lee and Irma de Boer

Ms Zi, Abraham Ch'ng and Dr. Beh Chor Khim

Dato' Steve Day and Chef Yanagida Tetsuya introduce the restaurant before dinner

Before dinner, a selection of wagyu beef canapes and white wine whet appetites. Cold Funaguchi sake was later served as guests sat down to enjoy the Festival menu.

Tempted? These are the canapes of Wagyu beef

Quaint sake glasses

The seasonal appetiser of autumn salmon and egg tofu was unlike any other egg custard most guests had tried before. The tofu had been infused with salmon dashi to give it a different, less silky and more creamy texture. It washed down nicely with the cold sake.

Autumn Salmon and Egg Tofu

The small appetiser platter of smoked salmon and creamy cheese, jellied chicken, wagyu beef ham, avocado with seaweed and marinated Japanese radish roll was arguably the guests’ favourite dish of the night. Dato’ Garry Chua, Jeffrey Perera and Jean Marc Lafosse raved about its exquisite presentation and the many different layers of flavours savoured throughout. James Beltran remarked that they were virtues in small portions and in this little platter of mini treats that fact was never more true.

Smoked Salmon and Creamy Cheese, Jellied Chicken, Wagyu Beef Ham, Avocado with Seaweed and Marinated Japanese Radish Roll

The next course to leave the kitchen was preceded by the aroma of hot milk-based soup. The edamame tofu had an interesting jelly-like texture with a subtle salty flavour that blended nicely with the creamy soybean broth.

Edamame Tofu with Soybean Milk Soup

Of course no real Japanese meal is complete without some form of sashimi and next to be carried to eager diners was the sashimi platter of medium fatty tuna, salmon and kohada (gizzard shad). Japanese food connoisseur Dr. Beh Chor Khim informed the other guests that traditional sashimi is prepared using the ikejime method to paralyse the fish quickly, maximising the freshness and taste of the fillet.

Chef Takeshi methodically plating each dish

Sashimi of Medium Fatty Tuna/Salmon/Kohada (Gizzard Shad)

The oyster and mushroom confit with yuzu miso sauce was the next dish to tease taste buds. Once again, it provided a top-notch combination of flavours where the umami of the oyster proved a perfect match to the lightly grilled mushrooms.

Oyster and Mushroom Confit with Yuzu Miso Sauce

Next up was the grouper hotpot with vegetables. Simple and comforting, this dish’s winning factor was the melt-in-your-mouth texture of the fish and the lightly seasoned broth.

Mmm... something smells amazing!

Simmered Grouper with Vegetables

Next up was the boiled eggplant noodle which was one of Dato’ Garry Chua’s favourites, mainly for its great, cool texture, which made it taste almost exactly like real noodles.

Boiled Eggplant 

Lastly, the final course of sushi with miso soup was served, rounding out the meal nicely with the carefully cut fresh slices of tuna and salmon.

Sushi with Miso Soup

Aaron Soo was the first to commend the chefs after the meal, thanking Chef Takeshi in Japanese. Dr. Beh followed up with his own words of approbation, stating that having lived in Japan for 11 years, this restaurant was easily on par with the top establishments there.

Aaron Soo praises the meal

Guests thank Chef Takeshi, promising to return

Many of the other guests agreed with the quality of the food, and asserted that if it wasn’t for the newly re-branded Gastronomy Festival, they would probably not have discovered this wonderful epicurean gem.

Diners are eager to return!

Sample real Japanese cuisine with the Full Festival Menu at Yoshinari, which costs RM150 nett per person without wine. You can view the menu here and find out about Chef Takeshi Komoto by clicking here.

To stay updated on all things happening at Yoshinari click here.