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Oct 11, 2012

Restaurant Review: Watami








IRASHAIMASE! .... echoed from all corners of Watami as we stepped into the establishment.

A pretty standard greeting at any Japanese type restaurant, but Watami is anything BUT the standard Japanese place with the standard menu of bentos, sashimis and miso soups.
This is an establishment fusioned with influences from Japan (of course, duh), Korea, Taiwan and Hongkong. (You will find out in a moment when I introduce the dishes we'd got to sample).

Based on the Japanese Izakaya ("I" : to stay, "sakaya" : sake shop) concept where one hangs out with friends and colleagues for drinks and to graze on little portions of good quality food, drink some more, graze some more and have a comfortable, cosy and relaxing time, enveloped in a happy, tipsy haze.

Watami is a larger scale of the Izakaya (with less emphasis on the alcohol) while keeping up with the changing times and thus came up with their trademark Ishokuya concept - "I" : scene, "shoku" : meal, "ya" : restaurant. 

Coming here, one has to leave behind the expectations of a typical Japanese restaurant and get absorbed into this younger, hipper and a more nouveau-japanese environment.

Let me take you on a little tour of some of Watami's recommendations ...



 Beverages



L to R: Green Citrus Green Tea, Kiwi Mojito (I was very tempted to order a mojito with the "extra" but I thought I'd better behave myself this time and get my review in first), Green Citrus Yuzu Marmalade Soda and Purple Sweet Potato Vanilla Shake.
My Kiwi Mojito was nice and refreshing. The Green Citrus Green Tea was, um .... green. The Yuzu drink had so many calamansi limes in it, it may as well be limau ais soda ... didn't taste anything of the marmalade. The Purple Sweet Potato Shake ... well, I guess it takes an acquired taste to appreciate that. Personally, I thought it tasted like melted ice cream potong. 





Wafu Touban Gyu Steak : RM 27.90
(Self Grilled Beef Short Ribs)






This is to die for ... well, maybe not that drastic, but it's pretty good beef (provided you don't turn it into carbon but you can always get some help from the staff to cook it for you if you're really that inept).










Bariuma Teba Karaage : RM 14.90
(Crispy Fried Chicken Wings with Special Sauce)







Nice and crispy, but special sauce? ... tasted like terriyaki. 













Kani Tappuri Cream Croquette : RM 15.90 (2 pcs)
(Crabmeat Cream Croquette)






Now this, I would have again. The filling was perfect, not overly creamy to make you "jelak" (cloyingly rich) and not "kedekut" (miserly) either. Very nice!











Teppan Bo Gyoza : RM 15.90
(Gyoza/potstickers on Hot Pan)



Pretty standard stuff. Since this place doesn't serve pork, the filling was made with chicken. But this didn't come out of a frozen package, they make their own gyozas.






Salmon Sashimi Don : RM 22.90
(Salmon Sashimi Rice)



I love sashimi. Give me good salmon and I'm sold! 






Kani Kamameshi : RM 24.90
(Crab Meat Pot Rice)



This came with a bit of a flair .... lit tea candle underneath and not allowed to lift the lid until the flame goes out, we were told, or all the "magic" goes away. Hmm ... that got my expectations way high. And when we finally got to lift the lid, okaaaay, lots of crab meat, kudos for that but .... I thought it was a little fishy. Forgive me if I'm a little fussy about my seafood. I'm from Penang, where there's nothing BUT fresh seafood. I'm thinking this has the potential to be one of their better selling items. 






Tokyo Gyudon : RM 22.90
(Beef Rice Bowl with Hot Spring Egg in Tokyo style)



I'm a red meat person and a runny yolk lover. So this combination ..... I could eat this everyday ... seriously!





Chawan Mushi : RM 6.90
(Steamed Savoury Egg Custard)



This is one item that I must have as a gauge as to how good a Japanese restaurant is. (Bear with me, don't roll your eyeballs). Believe me, I've been to so-called fancier places and had chawan mushis that can literally bounce on floors or swimming in a layer of water or with the egg all curdled and lumpy. And they have the gall to serve those! Cheez! 
I'm pleased to say, I'm happy with my chawan mushi here. Nice and silky with a good flavor you know isn't all chicken stock. Delicious!






Choco Banana in Toast Box : RM 16.90
(do you really need a translation?!)



I have to admit, that after all that food, I really can't give this the credit it's due. All that bread? Perhaps, if one were to drop in between shopping to reenergize and have a cuppa and a breather, rest your aching feet and gossip with friends, this would be a good item to share. Filled with some choice fruits (mango, red currants, strawberries, scoop of vanilla ice cream, dollop of whipped cream, drizzled with chocolate and a dusting of powdered sugar. I don't know about reenergizing, but it's enough to make me hyper!
Folks with a sweet tooth .... it's all yours for the picking!


Arigato gozaimasu, for the invite and to Miss Pei Jin (Group Marketing Executive) and Mr Seal (Outlet Manager @ Paradigm Mall)

For more of their menu and other outlets, check out their website 
@ http://www.watami.com.my/



Restaurant Review Disclaimer:

This review is of my own opinion. I am under no contract or obligation to write a review or to make it a positive one if I did.
I write my honest opinions and will tell you quickly if a product is not up to my standards. Anything I dislike may not be what you dislike (I can't help it if you have bad taste ... haha). My reviews are for entertainment purposes only. I am not a professional in the field and am not providing professional advice or anything of the sort.
Read at your own risk.






32 comments:

  1. I want to pester hubs to go and try out the crab meat pot rice. Jelak with unagi rice edy..ahahahahha

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    Replies
    1. Hi Yee Ling. Yes, go try that. I hope they've improved on the fishyness. They have a lunch menu on weekdays as well. And then try other things that I didn't get to try and tell me what to order next :)

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  2. Hmmm...love some of the stuff...like the croquettes e.g. Look really good. Not cheap though but that's always the case when one goes Japanese. I always wondered why when one entered, they would bang on the tables and chant, "Lima sen...lima sen!!!!" LOL!!!

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    1. Oh Yes, the croquettes were very good! That's big city prices for you :( and it's dangerous when you graze, coz the dishes add up and then you pass out when you get the bill!
      Lima sen? I vaguely remember the table banging but "lima sen" ... ? Or what was it they're suppose to have said? I don't recall anything that sounds like "lima sen" except maybe "sumimasen".

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  3. sweet potato shake?? i think i'll stick with yam
    the salmon don looks good & fresh. and with good beef, handmade gyoza.. I'm sold!
    toastbox for dessert? hmm.. no thank you
    Sir Arthur so hillarious! limasen :D

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  4. sweet potato shake? i'll stick to yam..
    the salmon don looks good & fresh. with good beef and handmade gyoza, I'm sold. toastbox for dessert? no thanks
    Sir Arthur so funny.. hillarious la

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    Replies
    1. 2 comments, Shannon? Pretty excited about the salmon and gyoza, eh? :)
      Actually, the sweet potato tasted like yam ... but then yam IS sweet potato in the US ... unless you meant taro.
      Ya, Sir Arthur and his "lima sen"! LOL!!!

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  5. My first thought was Sissi will love these... Very interesting post for me too, I know so little about oriental cuisines.

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    1. Haha! I thought that too!
      These aren't too oriental anymore actually but I guess to those way out in the western world, they could still well be pretty strange :)

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  6. Nice photos. Life must be tough, having to eat all those food (good and not so good) and write about it. I guess someone has to do it:)
    I can't help but compare the price of that toast and banana with other items. Do they sell these in Japan? Are you meant to use fork/knife or hands?

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    1. Thanks, Mr T. Yeah, life is so very tough, my poor tummy and waistline are complaining. Tsk.
      Hey, you're right. But the fruits they used were imported stuff so I guess they'd have to justify it somewhere. And no, it's not typically Japanese ... more of Hongkong influence and I believe they do sell that in their branches in Japan. And you're suppose to use chopsticks and a chainsaw ... :P

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  7. Looks like nice food. That toast thingy is quite similar to the ones in those Taiwanese dessert restaurants. Haven't tried though. There is a Watami in 1-U, maybe I should try it someday. I'm a sucker for Japanese food :)

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    1. Yes, the toast thingy is Hongkong/Taiwanese influenced. It is a fusion type place after all. Yes, there's a Watami in 1U and also in the Pavillion. I've always thought you were in T'gganu. Would you like to meet up and check out Watami together someday?

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  8. slurp! slurp! sashimi my all times favorite.

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    1. Hi Jocel. Mine too! That salmon was seriously fresh! Almost jumping out of the bowl :)

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  9. You mean you have had all these delicacies in just one evening???? Luckily I've just finished my lunch. Everything (even the dishes you didn't appreciate a lot) looks extraordinary! The cream croquettes must have been amazing and I understand why you loved the chawan mushi. It simply looks perfect! (I have never managed to prepare it with mushrooms and without any water floating because they give off water... maybe I should cook them first?). Anyway, I am enchanted by your excellent review. I envy you so much for having an izakaya in your city! (I started to think that if I want one in Switzerland, I have to open it myself!).

    ReplyDelete
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    1. One afternoon, lunch to be exact. Yeah, it was a lot to eat but I'd brought along 3 others to help knowing I can't eat them all by myself ... well ... I could but then I'd be too stuffed to make a good and honest review :) and besides, how many beverages can a single person try out, right?
      I think you've had a better experience of an Izakaya during your trip. This wasn't quite the typical izakaya but a rather modern establishment. Maybe I should have taken an interior pic but it wasn't too different from the usual restaurants of today ... nothing Japanesey at all.
      I'd encourage you to open an izakaya ... I think it'd be a great success! Seriously!

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  10. Japanese foods is my family all time favourite! need to bring them here one day, all foods look so yummy!

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    1. Hi Sonia. Same here! This isn't like the usual Japanese restaurant but yes, do go and check them out. 3 outlets to choose from: Paradigm, Pavillion and 1U.

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  11. Replies
    1. You might want to check this place out.

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  12. Great restaurant review...very well executed!
    My choice would be, the citrus green tea, the crispy fried chicken wings, with the special sauce, and the Salmon Sashimi, and I wouldn't even want a dessert, just a second helping of the refreshing tea:)

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    1. Thanks, Elisabeth. Yeah, I agree with you on the dessert, way to filling.

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  13. Oooh what I would give for a restaurant like this near me. The closest I have is about 40 minutes away. The rest are small take out places that mesh Thai with Japanese sushi and American Chinese food. It makes me cry a little. But these dishes look wonderful and delicious and I am jealous... jealous and hungry. ;P

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    1. Aww ... don't be jealous. 40 minutes isn't that far away esp if you're craving for it :)

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  14. everything looks great, not sure will i like that sweet potato shake:D but i know i will love the croquette and also the crab meat rice ..minus the fishiness..of course:D have a great week!

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    1. Thanks, Lena. Have a good weekend!

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  15. You have the best disclaimer I've seen :) Let's see...yes, I would fill my plate with those crab coquettes and that salmon sashimi...then I'd try at least a bite of everything else. Sounds like a yummy spot to dine!

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    1. Hey Lizzy! Thank you! Glad you liked it :)
      I didn't think anyone would actually read a disclaimer but I'm glad you did!

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  16. Since when you started to do restaurant review. I heard a lot about this restaurant but have yet to go check it out. Nice shots all the way. Great review post my dear.

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    1. Thanks, Veron. I enjoyed doing this. The reason I don't do more food reviews is that some people/places get too sensitive and can't accept an honest opinion. Not a big difference between a blog review or a by-word-of-mouth review anyway. If people don't like it, they'll tell their friends. And if it's good ... well, they'll be back with entourage in tow!

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