Ramen Izakaya Kazushi
Recently, every food blog I’ve visited has highlighted Japanese noodle joints. From soba to udon, to ramen. Oodles of noodles everywhere! Needless to say, the sight of those gleaming, fat, slurpy noodles got my tastebuds going and set of a craving for a steaming hot bowl of noodles.
Lil’ Chef and I headed over to a little, unassuming place in Solaris Mon’t Kiara, part owned by one of KL’s best Japanese Chef’s.
We called him to find out if it was open on a Sunday, and as luck would have it, it was!
Walking in to Ramen Izakaya Kazushi is like being transported to what I can only imagine must be an average neighbourhood Japanese cafe/pub. Apparently, ‘Izakaya’ means a typical Japanese drinking establishment that serves food to accompany drinks. Too early for drinking, especially on a Sunday, so we focused on the food instead.
The muted sound of the TV showing sports and the clinking of porcelain tea cups, the slurping of noodles, all combined to create the perfect ambience for an unpretentious lunch.
The menu is straightforward, with names in Japanese as well as with English descriptions and pictures that give you an idea what to expect from what you order.
Slightly different to Japanese food I’m used to, what you get here really is the real deal. Tasty, homemade dishes cooked with love…
Edamame (RM7) – boiled green beans with salt
Crunchy, tasty and addictive. I ordered it because it was the first thing that looked familiar on the menu! Great to snack on while waiting for the rest of the food.
There were a number of starters that sounded appealing, like the Kimuchi (RM8).
The Otsumami Char Siew (RM8) which was simmered pork belly.
We got the Appetizer Plate instead (RM13) which had these two items as well as Japanese boiled egg Tamago.
I’ve never had this before (sheltered!) but it was yummy!
Brown on the outside, with a firm egg white and soft gooey yolk centre.
The pork belly was lovely and tender, with melt-in-your mouth fat, while the bright red colour of the Kimuchi prepares you for the chilli kick you get, as well as the sourish tinge on your tongue from the pickled cabbage.
Plump grilled meat dumplings, so succulent and scrumptious we really savoured each bite.
I was tempted by the Fried Pork Liver with Chives (RM14) but set that craving aside, because I was there for RAMEN! SLURP!
It was really a heartwrenching experience. I didn’t know which kind of soup to choose, and I wanted them all. ‘Ramen in Soy Sauce taste Soup’, or in ‘Salt taste’, or in ‘Miso Taste’. I probably settled on the best one though, because when I asked Chef Takao Tsuchisa what the one I’d chosen was made from, he basically replied, “All the good stuff!”
Char Siew Men – Ramen Noodle Soup with more sliced pork belly (RM16)
SLURP. Delicious. A generous portion noodles, soup, seaweed, ginger, tamago, and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.
Hot, comforting, and bursting with flavour. A wholesome, hearty porky broth that emanates wholesome, goodness, and yes, extreme flavour.
And the noodles… bouncy and luscious, it is true that the louder the noise you make when you slurp, the better it tastes!
*Note – If you’re self conscious about slurping, DON’T BE. Get a table in the corner, because really, no one in that restaurant cares how you eat your noodles, as long as you enjoy it! That’s the beauty of it!
Lil’ Chef ordered a very uncharacteristic Ikayasai Goroyaki (RM15), which is pan fried squid with vegetables.
Chef Takao actually took the trouble to come over and ask us if he was sure about his choice. Apparently, the sauce is made from all kinds of octopus innards and more, and is quite an acquired taste.
I must say, I did heed the kind Chef’s warning, and upon tasting it was not a big fan. Yes, you have to have a strong stomach for this dish, as do you for Lil’ Chef’s other course. A Rice dish with a strong tasting roe and pickle… the name, unfortunately, I cannot remember.
Deep fried prawn head – Chef’s Special
I was in heaven. How did he know I love prawn head? Crunchy whole prawn head, deep fried to a golden crisp! A perfect snack accompaniment if you’re having beers. Green tea works just as good…
Dessert – Homemade Almond tofu
My advice, if you’re feeling adventurous, go all out and get Chef Takao to really surprise you. He has the means and the skill to produce a very authentic, homely Japanese meal. If you just want to indulge in a hearty bowl of noodles, then go in, enquire about the specials but stick to the stuff you know. We walked out smiling, and ready for a nap after!
Ramen Izakaya Kazushi
Unit 15-G,Grd Flr, Jln Solaris 3,
Solaris Mont Kiara, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
T: +603-6203 6998