Sunday, 20 December 2009

Ichiban Izakaya

Lordy, my post are getting older and older. I was cleaning up my PC the other day looking for old files to remove and clear up and i found some pictures taken in Sept 2009, during JL's farewell.  Well, JL is my ex colleague going to Germany and we gave him a farewell for leaving the company. However, what was supposed to be a pork filled japanese event turned out to be not so porky. We chose the izakaya with NO pork /:). JL is a big fan of babi, so oh well... next time lah. He will be so porkified in Germany, i guess he might not want too much there!

This is my second visit to a malaysian izakaya. The 1st one i had was in Japan, in Nagoya, where i had... Horse meat. Let me rephrased that, someone had horse meat. I just watched others eat it. [ Sorry, but if you were a big fan of black beauty like me, i can't bear eating Beauty ].  Heck, there is a lot of stuff i don't eat anyway. Like Hotate wings. Brrr....

The atmosphere in Japan is a whole lot different as izakayas are supposed to serve drinks and food is just an accompanyment to the drinking. Plus, there is a lot less drinking/drunk salary man in malaysia.  (It's too tame)....

Ichiban Izakay is situated in Plaza Damas area. Next to Starbucks ( i think ) and is a small quaint place for drinks + bar food.  And the size of food did not come nearly as bar size as expected. I can't imagine a japanese izakaya serving Mentaikoi pasta ( <3 ) but if you want really good Mentaiko pasta - come here, come here.

Now, not suprisingly so, the guest of honor was the earliest ... we strolled in a bit later due to logisitics arrangements, but he already started to help himself with Asashi beer. Lucky for us, we got a room and we were able to talk loudly, eat boisterously and drink merrily here.

The menu in Ichiban is quite extensive, stays true to some parts of the izakaya concept which is serving yakitori stuff. If you don't like beef, you might find it tough here, lots of beefy stuff, with some chicken thrown in but here the beef is good.

And this the first time everyone tried....  Beef tongue. Yes, tongue. No tongue in cheek for you .... but slice tongue, grilled with teriyaki sauce. Since there were six of us, there were 2 plates ordered for us to try. The looks on our face, you could tell we were pensive. I mean, it should not be gross but some how, i sensed the hesitation in everyone... Not sure what got into me that night, but i was the first to pick up a stick and try ( No, it was not the beer ).

My verdict: Taste like Shoe. Enough said. It has a rather tough texture, chewy and what i was not too fond of was the taste and smell of leather shoes. ... Is it just me? No one else tasted the shoe.  I remember my mom saying -> " Why do you want to eat a part of an animal that licks the grass"..... Funny. I can't understand why she wants to eat Ngau Lam as well as it is part of the animal that digests the grass. -___________-.  Would i eat it again... nah, probably not but i don't fear it now. If it tastes less like a shoe. The enoki was fine though. In case anyone was wondering.

Shoe aside, we did order some normal food as well, like roles, er fish skin .... some dish which i-have--no-idea-what-it-is-called-because-it-is-too-old-for-me-to-remember. However, i find this dish much better than the one at Hanazen, which serves it without any embelishments. I prefer Ichiban's version as it has more flavor and masks the fish smell with having other items inside.

The crunchy and the sauce + the fish roe eggs go well together. Good snacking dish, this one.

I can't remember who ordered this but this is baby octopus. I wondered, why this is always red. I didn't really eat this but it was in front of me to take photos :)  Luckily it was only 1 plate but by end of the night, this was finished up. I remember one of my ex staff who does not take kindly to this dish as he felt it was way to cute to be eaten and too pitiful to eat. He thought anything baby should not be eaten.  Guess he won't be trying the pregnant fish dish anytime now ... *grin*

I love it when the japanese pair different type of food textures together. And you get this extremely good taste from such food combinations. I guess that it is what umami is. This is actually chopped scallops, with enoki mushrooms, topped with mayonaise and fish roe. All grilled to perfection. The combination of flavors is to hard to describe but this would be a must try, if you are around this area.

Well, the standard order of rolls are required by us - since we need carbs. This is the soft shell crab roll. It's so so. Nothing special.

It's the next roll we thought was pretty awesome. It's called a Hawaiian roll. Looks ordinary ... but then i am not sure what they put in it which you get this slightly fizzy taste with sweet, salty and sour all going in time. The result is an explosion of flavors in your mouth.  Kinda like sour pop sushi! But not so sour.  I think it is the green stuff on top that gives us the flavor.

Piece de resistance of the day - Mentaiko pasta. Spicy Polluck eggs pasta and i think it is quite easy to make. Found some recipies on the net for this now i need to get my hands on Mentaiko only. Some places mix up the eggs for you already, hence it will be come lightish orange(see the small balls attached to the pasta?)  and blended with the sauce already but in the case of Ichiban, they mixed it up and give you an extra dollop which is raw - Toss it about and you get a fabulous pasta dish.

One of my favorite 'people-based-in-japan' bloggers - Blue Lotus - gives a simple version of the recipe above - to read more - click the link here.

One more beef dish we ordered, with asparagus. Not bad, did not taste like tongue :)

 I am not sure if the next dish is chicken or fish - due to the fact i cannot remember it after so long!  Again, typcially, for beer food, it comes in small plates like this where you can pick off it. I was a bit amused to see chilli here. Probably cooked with Malaysian fusion in mind.
Lastly, we wanted some desserts, ordered this mochi in red bean dish. The mochi is actually grilled before being served in the soup of red bean. Er.. so so only lah the taste. Not so great... maybe because i was stuff to the brim.

I wouldnt mind coming here again, come to think of it, for cousin gathering next round we could try this place as i want a plate of mentaiko on my own!! :) Yeah for fish eggs!!

The locale: (Their webby which requires some work as well - WWW)
Izakaya Ichiban
Lot P, 3-M Plaza Ground Floor
Hartamas Shopping Centre
60 Jalan Sri Hartamas 1
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 6201 5905

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