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Review: Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ Restaurant, Tropicana City Mall

>> Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Overall comment: Fabulous selection of beef cuts with a variety of marinade options (they've other meats & seafood as well)! The best part is you'll not walk out of the restaurant smelling like a piece of bbq beef as Gyu-Kaku uses a special technology of "smokeless" bbq :D *thumbs up*
Halal: Pork-free (was informed they have not obtained halal certification yet)

Ever had lunch or dinner at a Japanese barbecue restaurant? It's extremely rare to stumble upon a Japanese restaurant for barbecue meats compared to the many options for Korean barbecue! So far, Gyu-Kaku is the 1st that I have come across :D The major difference between Japanese bbq & Korean bbq are the importance of meat cuts. The Japanese are extremely particular with their meat cuts, so you can expect to get really fantastic meat cuts like those below! *drools*

Check out the marbling of the beef!
Wagyu Brisket (left) (RM26.90/serving of 100g) & Wagyu Karubi/short ribs (right) (RM45.00/serving of 100g)

Gyu-Kaku has over 600 outlets worldwide!! *wow* With 3 outlets in Malaysia i.e. at 1 Utama, Pulika & Tropicana City Mall, this latest player in the food arena is sure to reward Malaysians with their quality food, comfortable ambiance & friendly customer service.

What you get as a diner
At every Gyu-Kaku restaurant, you'll get your simple set of utensils + an apron (square folded item below chopsticks on the left) to ensure that your clothes do not get any stains throughout your meal.

Gyu-Kaku @ Tropicana City Mall

Spacious & comfortable ambiance

Come, let me bring you on a gastronomical journey through the photos that I've taken at the review! *giggles* I was the only blogger there with 3 of Gyu-Kaku's "pros". The load of food that we had was quite frightening...hahaha...SO MUCH FOOD!

Yuzu Hot Tea (RM2.90/glass)
I think this is a good drink to begin the meal. It's refreshing, tangy & fruity - very fun yet soothing after a long day at work.

Here we go....!

Appetizer: Shrimp Gyoza
This is NOT your typical gyoza, where the dumpling is just pan-fried. The whole gyoza is CRISPY like a fried "sui gao"! The shrimp mixture is still moist & perfectly cooked (not over-cooked) & the crispy dumpling skin with slightly sweet sauce drizzled on top of the gyoza binds the simple gyoza to perfection! Highly recommended for those who prefer crispy gyoza :D


Salad: Warm Horenzo Salad
My favorite salad thus far...silky spinach leaves (not the local spinach!!) & fresh button mushrooms with fragrant sesame seed Japanese mayonnaise topped with crispy fried garlic. These are a few of my favorite things! I want moreeeee....

Appetizer: Chicken Karage
Crispy on the outside, moist & tender on the inside - that's what Gyu-Kaku's Chicken Karage is like. They serve much larger pieces compared to those available at other restaurants, but it's still nice to eat although not as 'fun' & 'bite size'.

Soup: Tofu Jige Soup (RM15.90/serving)
If you're looking for a sumptuous soup at Gyu-Kaku just like at a Korean bbq restaurant, enjoy the Korean-style of tofu jige at a Japanese restaurant! :P Are you confused? It's called variety! I love the spiciness & 'sourness' from the kimchi.

Rice: Isyiyaki Mentaiko (RM20.90/serving)
Something very different & unique. It's like a Korean dolsot bibimbap, but this is the Japanese version, where you'll find rice, salmon & cod roe topped with dry seaweed & sesame seeds in a hot stone bowl. Eat it while it's hot/warm for maximum enjoyment! I loved this rice dish & couldn't really stop eating although I was quite stuffed with all the appetizers! *lol*

Isyiyaki Udon (RM18.90/serving)
Japanese noodle pan-fried with vegetables & chicken
Sizzling hot udon noodles with vegetables & chicken. Pretty tasty, but I still prefer hot stone rice to noodles.

I was beginning to feel full after enjoying all the appetizers, rice & noodles, but I had to ensure that I still have stomach space for the meats! That's like the MUST-HAVEs here at Gyu-Kaku.

The "smokeless" grill
Unlike Korean bbq restaurants where they have the air/smoke suction pipes on top of the grill, Gyu-Kaku's suction pipes are built in at the bottom of the grills! Very, very minimal bbq smoke smell will fill the air, so don't worry about walking out smelling like a piece of bbq meat.

Platter of beef cuts (from RM14.90 - RM35.90/serving/cut)
From front clockwise: Angus Karubi/Short Ribs (RM25.90/serving of 100g), Angus Rump Cap (RM21.00/serving of 100g), Angus Harami/Thick Skirt (RM18.90/serving of 100g), Beef Tongue (RM25.90/serving of 100g), & Angus Fillet/Tenderloin [middle of the platter] (RM35.90/serving of 100g). Different cuts have different textures; there are currently 8 different cuts offered at Gyu-Kaku. With the choice of 6 marinades available i.e. Himalaya Rock Salt, Tare, Shio, Miso, Spicy Miso & Miso/Shio with Leeks, get ready to tickle your taste buds & enjoy the meat-lovers' meal! Oh, my favorite was actually the Angus Fillet/Tenderloin. I loved the thick cut as it carries loads of flavor. The beef tongue was also very unique & doesn't taste like a tongue/muscle, but like a piece of meat...interesting...
Photo taken shows sample platter, not actual serving portion

Sizzling Goodness
I LOVE the tender & juicy beef pieces...more, more, more! *salivates*

My Wagyu Briskets & Wagyu Karubi..SO GOOD!
As the pieces of meat are bite-size, all you need is 10-30 seconds to cook it! VERY efficient, fast to cook, GREAT to eat! Suitable for those who are very hungry & love their meat cooked perfectly (medium rare, medium well...etc). Gyu-Kaku serves 2 dips for the meats as well, one that's slightly spicy + sweet, while the other leans towards savory.

Chicken Fillet/Thigh (RM12.90/serving)
For those who don't take beef, don't worry, their chicken fillets are lovely as well. You can have it pre-marinated with tare, shio, miso, spicy miso, teriyaki, garlic or basil.

Lamb Neck Fillet with Basil Marinade (RM15.90/serving)
If you love lamb, you'll enjoy this. They didn't use mint, but basil, which gives a nice aroma with a different twist :)

There are also seafood & vegetables (prices from RM4.90 - 18.90/serving) for bbq-ing, but I was too stuffed to have more food. You can find:
  • Sea Water Prawns, 4 prawns (RM20.90/serving)
  • Whole Squid (RM14.90/serving)
  • Norwegian Salmon with Shio/Miso Marinade (RM17.90/serving)
  • US Scallop with Garlic/Black Pepper Marinade (RM25.90/serving)
  • Oysters, 2 pieces (RM15.90/serving)
  • Ocean Seafood Platter (RM79.90/serving)

Gyu-Kaku is opened for both lunch & dinner, but the crowd for both meals consist of very different people. Those who are working or students will love their lunch idea of a quick, simple & pocket-friendly Japanese meal. Gyu-Kaku has 2 cooked chicken sets, 2 barbecue sets, 2 hot stone rice sets & 2 noodles sets, a very substantial variety for lunch!

Lunch sets
Gyu-Kaku has 8 different lunch sets for those on the go. Prices range from RM13.90/set - RM19.90/set, from rice to noodles & even bbq meats!

I tasted 2 of their lunch sets :D

Lunch set: Teriyaki Chicken (RM13.90/set)
Pan sauteed chicken teriyaki served with rice, wakame soup & milk pudding as dessert
Worth your penny as the portion is decent & the milk pudding is something not to be missed!

Lunch set: Chicken Katsu (RM18.90/set)
Although this set is more expensive compared to the teriyaki chicken set, I still prefer this set! I love the crispy & tender fried chicken thigh drizzled with Okonomiyaki sauce :D

Fuh! Now that we're all stuffed, we moved on to the final course of dinner, desserts! Gyu-Kaku offers a handful of good desserts. Two of their most popular desserts are the S'mores & Milk Pudding, items that you will rarely find elsewhere.

Milk Pudding (RM9.90/ala carte bowl)
Milk pudding topped with soya bean powder & Japanese brown sugar syrup
This was SO GOOD! Silky smooth, soft yet firm, not overly sweet yet sufficient to be a dessert & just SO comforting after a meaty meal! I WANT MOREEEEE...!

Smores (RM5.90/'sandwich')
Have you heard of S'mores?? Now you have...hahaha. Love this American dessert available at a Japanese restaurant! :P It's unique, fun & oh-so-rare to be found in Malaysia. What you'll be given is a stick of marshmallow, 2 slices of Graham crackers with 1 cracker spread with Nutella. *thumbs up*

Step 1: Barbecue the marshmallow 'til it's brown & crusty

Step 2: Place the marshmallow on the Nutella-Graham cracker

Step 3: Sandwich & remove stick!

Step 4: Enjoy the S'mores while it's warm :D

What are you waiting for? Make your own S'mores!

Kids Eat for Free during School Holidays
Your eyes did not deceive you! You read it right :D As long as the adult orders an ala carte dish/meal from the menu, the child will get to order a kids' meal from the menu for free!

It was a pleasant dining experience here at Gyu-Kaku. I'll surely be back for more barbecue meats! It's a different experience from Korean bbq, so don't expect loads of complimentary & refillable side dishes while dining at Gyu-Kaku, but you can certainly look forward to great cuts of bite-size meat!

Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ Restaurant
Lot G- 36, Ground Floor

Tropicana City Mall 
103, Jalan SS20/27
47300 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan
Tel: (+603) 7722 1625 / (+603) 7725 6798
FB: https://www.facebook.com/GyuKakuMalaysia

In love with Japanese bbq,


Review: Private Kitchen, SS2

>> Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Overall comment: Very unique steamboat experience; great for those who love fish & soup!
Halal: No

Tucked in the serene neighborhood of the well-established Chow Yang in SS2 is Private Kitchen, a name quite apt for the area, really :) It's a lovely place for a good meal with your family & friends, with sufficient 'privacy'! *giggles* Ample parking, yo! :D

Both HK Kitchen (downstairs) & Private Kitchen (upstairs) are owned by the same management, just with a slightly different concept; the former is more 'Hong Kong fast-food' style, while the latter is the steamboat & order-dishes style.

p/s: They moved from Damansara Uptown to SS2. Wise move since parking at Uptown is madness!

The deco along the stairway to Private Kitchen boasts of a nostalgic "back in those days in Hong Kong/the city" feel. It may be slightly challenging for those who are older to climb all the way up for a meal, but don't worry, you can also have your steamboat meal downstairs at HK Kitchen if you relate your request to the crew at the restaurant.

The restaurant is actually very spacious, simple & elegant in its own way. Enjoying their special Ding Ding Grilled Fish Steamboat in this cozy restaurant is surely something not to be missed! It's my 1st time having a grilled fish steamboat, but it's apparently very popular in Hong Kong & China. If I recalled what the chef said correctly, the dish is named "Ding Ding" after a name of a place, where the freshwater fish were caught. Oh my memory is failing :(

From RM58.00+, you'll get to enjoy the Ding Ding Grilled Fish Steamboat that comes with a choice of special soup:
  • Fragrant Spicy Soup (very spicy)
  • Typhoon Shelter Spicy Garlic Soup (moderately spicy)
  • Fresh Tomatoes & Sweet Corn Soup (not spicy)

You can also order sides of meat/seafood/vegetables (price range from RM1.00 - RM20.00/serving) to add into your steamboat. I guarantee that the soup will be even more flavorful at the end of the dinner! Oh, did I mention that this could feed 3 persons & more?

On a side note, they're also introducing a new chicken dish, the Fragrant Spicy Chicken Pot (RM38.00/half chicken or RM68.00/whole chicken). You'll read more on my review below.

The menu (front)

The 'dishes' menu (inside)

Ongoing promotion

The variety to feed 10 of us that evening!
We were really blessed to have such abundance of variety :D
Some of my favorites steamboat side dishes on that evening are these:

Sea Urchin Balls (RM6.80/4 balls)
It's alike the Foochow Fish balls, but with sea urchin on the inside! Noms! Quite interesting. The texture is very alike fish roe, but softer.

Pork Dumplings (RM4.90/3 pieces)
Plump & meaty as how pork dumplings are supposed to be. It could do with more 'crunch' from vegetables like carrots & water chestnuts :P

Home Made Pork Balls (RM6.90/4 balls)
I enjoyed these pork balls, but I would much prefer it if it had "chor hao yue" (fried 'anchovies') added into the balls & have less flour added to the balls as well.

Pork Belly Slice (RM11.90/serving)
If you're a big fan of pork, you will not want to miss this juicy piece of fatty meat! I prefer it thinner like those at shabu-shabu restaurants when it comes to steamboat, but if it's braised/fried such thick pieces of pork belly are best!

Enoki Mushrooms (RM5.80/serving)
I'm a big fan of mushrooms, so enoki mushrooms in the spicy/tomato soup are just thumbs up!

Now, for the star of the night *drumrolls*

Ding Ding Grilled 'Red Pearl' in Fragrant Spicy Soup
Love the fragrantly grilled fish with the variety of vegetables (radish, cucumbers, big-head beansprouts, onions) & dried beancurd in the spicy soup base.

'Bathe' the Fish...

Check out the load of chilies!

The chilies are actually stir-fried with other special ingredients before adding to the soup (you can ask for more chili added if you prefer a very spicy soup base)

After the steamboat side dishes were added into the soup base...
Don't you just love the sight of ingredients floating around in the large 'steamboat pan'?

Ding Ding Grilled 'Red Pearl' in Fresh Tomatoes & Sweet Corn Soup
This is certainly the kids'-friendly version. Many people love this version more than the spicy one as it's very unique. You'll rarely get tomatoes & sweet corn soup base elsewhere in Klang Valley/Malaysia for steamboat with grilled fish. It has a naturally sweet taste & is also very nutritious! 

Add the prawns & it'll be even sweeter!

Fragrant Spicy Chicken Pot
Very homey, smooth & tender - not over-powered by the heat from the ginger.

The chef deep-fried the Bentong ginger slices (one of the hottest gingers in Malaysia!) before running it over hot water to remove the intense heat from the ginger. Then it's cooked with the chicken in this claypot. Yums! I would prefer more ginger-taste though :D
Lemon-Infused Grass Jelly Dessert
We ended the warm night with this body-cooling dessert. The restaurant intends to add this item to their menu in the near future, so look out for it!

The Ding Ding Grilled Fish Steamboat is certainly something to try out. To reward all PerutBesi's readers, print out the 'brochure' below & get 20% off the following items! Enjoy!

* Valid on weekdays only (exclude public holidays).
* Not applicable with other promotions.
* Valid until 31 October 2014

Private Kitchen
20 Jalan SS 2/10
47300 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan
Note: Chow Yang area, same row with Kayu Nasi Kandar.
Tel: (+603) 7874 8399
FB: https://www.facebook.com/privatekitchenmalaysia

Enjoyed the Ding Ding Grilled Fish Steamboat,

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