Hokkaido Ice Cream @ Hokkaido Ichiba, The Garden

Dato K: (looking at Janvier) You guys free for dinner tomorrow?
Janvier: We have dinner with Chief’s parents!
Dato K: (looking at Ban) You guys free for dinner tomorrow?
Ban: Should be ok.
Dato K: (looking at JY) You guys free for dinner tomorrow?
JY: Not sure yet, what’s the occasion ah?
Dato K: It’s my birthday tomorrow.
Everyone: OHHH!!

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Poor Dato K, since none of us actually remembers his birthday. :p Anyway, he suggested this new Japanese restaurant, Hokkaido Ichiba, which was opened not long ago on the third floor of The Garden. Operates under the same management of Sushi Zanmai and Pasta Zanmai, Hokkaido Ichiba shares its location with Shojikiya and Kita no Zen.

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Let’s talk about the ice cream first, shall we? They have a wide selection of ice cream and sherbets to choose from (a separate menu just for desserts!), so Dato K treated us to a few varieties of flavours. Firstly, we had the Melon Niagara (RM8.80), a scoop of melon ice cream and Niagara Wine Sherbet each on a rock melon skin with some rock melon balls on the side. We loved both of them; the melon ice cream has a nice, melon fruity fragrance to it. The sherbet (we misunderstood it as the soursop flavour earlier on) has a bit of tartness to it, a perfect combo with the melon ice cream.

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Next, we had Macha Crepe (RM9.80), a scoop of green tea ice cream served on a bed of crepe and atzuki beans (red beans). The macha ice cream was quite good, creamy and bursting with green tea flavour. The crepe was a bit chewy though but the ice cream and atzuki beans made up for it.

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And subsequently, another 8 scoops of ice cream! Top: jagiamo (potato??) & ichigo (strawberry), right: chocolate & mango, middle: caramel & vanilla, bottom: yuzu & goma (black sesame). Yuzu, goma, caramel and vanilla got our highest votes, followed by chocolate, strawberry and jagiamo. We don’t like the mango as it lacked the mango flavour and smell.

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Back to the food, I ordered the Unatama Don (RM18), grilled unagi (eel) with egg, mushroom and sweet onion on rice which was not too bad and made a rather substantial meal. Ban and Dato K had the Miso Hotate Ramen (RM16.80), which they gave a thumbs up. CK’s Chicken Katsujyu Zen (RM26) was a bit dry though, a common issue with fried chicken cutlets. No comment on the Saba Shioyaki Zen (RM26), as Lifebook sat too far away from me. Xavier’s Nabe Udon Salmon (RM36) and HJ’s Salmon Ikura Don (RM23) was ok, the salmon were very fresh.

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The food here were rather standard, much like its sister restaurants Sushi Zanmai and Pasta Zanmai, however, we really enjoyed their desserts. Should we find ourselves in Gardens again, we would drop by to try the other flavours. Since opening, we noticed it has been full during lunch and dinner hours and a perpetual long queue! If you are planning drop by, be sure to call ahead to book for table.

Hokkaido Ichiba
Lot T-201, 3rd Floor,
The Garden Mall,
Mid Valley City,
Lingkaran Syed Putra,
59200 KL.

Tel: 03-2283 1060
Business hours: 10am – 10pm daily

Find more delicious pictures at Babe KL, Simon Says, The Voice Within and Tasty Foodies.

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DU Project – The Brand New Hokano

In case you haven’t known, the small Japanese eatery, Hokano at Damansara Uptown has been given a facelift recently. Operating from about ¾ of the whole shop lot previously, now it has been expanded to a full shop lot with glass windows and doors.

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The ambiance though, doesn’t change much but now they can sits more than 40 customers compared to before this. The DU Project members are happy with the place as they know they’re not paying for the ambiance (based on the perception of “nicely decorated restaurants tend to be more expensive”!).

Basically, we tried a variety of dishes here on our two times visits and we overall were happy with the food.

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Sashimi (we ordered the set, which comes with chawan mushi, miso soup and salad, priced RM20), Chirashi Sushi (RM23.50). Amy loves this very much, quoting that the sashimis were fresh and thick cut too.

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Chicken Katsu Don set (RM25.90, same side dishes) was delectable; the chicken was fried to perfection, not dry or tough and best of all, the egg yolk enveloping the chicken was still runny.

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The Salmon Teriyaki set (RM19.50) was grilled to just nice texture and not too salty. The tempuras (RM18) were lightly battered, and not greasy, just like how tempura should be.

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If seafood is not your preferred cup of tea, try their Chicken Teriyaki (set, RM 17.95). They use the chicken thigh meat for this dish and we heart it for the well-marinated and tender meat.

Overall comment from DU Project gang: Expansion doesn’t change the food quality served here, therefore Hokano shall remain as the best pick for budget Japanese cuisine.

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Hokano Japanese Restaurant
74, Jalan SS 21/35, Damansara Utama,
47400 Petaling Jaya.
Tel: 03-7729 5325
Same row with Maybank.

Who else been here before:

My Second Japanese Post

It’s not that I don’t like Japanese food but more often, I found that the pricing here in KL are exorbitant. I seldom patronise sushi chains eventhough I have yet to try out Genki and Sakae because I see them as some expensive fast food joints. Japanese buffet doesn’t work for me too as I feel it lack the sense of authenticity. So, to cut it short, I haven’t been to Jogoya, Fukuya, Kampachi, Yo! Sushi, Shogun, Umai-ya, Ninja Jones and so on…

So hard please hor? Then where does my second post came from?

Fuji.

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No no, stop flipping the Yellow Pages, you won’t find it there. I came across this popular Japanese food joint in Bangkok last month on my second night in Siam Paragon. This was my third Bangkok trip and this time, we spent less time on the streets and explored the eateries in the malls instead. This particular outlet was 100% occupied when we arrived and we had to waited about 20 minutes to get a table while perusing the menu.

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If I could, I would have just keep one set of their menu and bring it back. It’s so attractive! Every item were arranged nicely with gorgeous pictures (first reason to make you salivate), details and pricing. We had a hard time deciding on what to order, seriously (even with the extra 20 minutes waiting time + “deciding time” was not enough). We finally settled for Alaska Salmon Roll (190 Baht). Very fresh and everything were rolled up nicely, plus no clumpy gohan.

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The Gyoza Ramen Set (150 Baht) doesn’t look appetising (my fault) but it’s good actually. The soup was very flavourful and ramen were cooked al dente. The gyozas were also nicely pan fried, with not so thick wrapping skin so you can still get the crispy sensation and juicy pork filling.

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Janvier found that his Sukiju Pork Set (140 Baht) a little weird for him as it’s a rice and noodle combo with braised pork, tofu, vegetables, onions and ramen in miso based broth.

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For bento set, you can choose either sashimi or tempura and I chose the latter. Fuji Bento Tempura Set (230 Baht) comes with grilled salmon, poached pork fillets (very tender!), nigiri, rice, tempura (prawns, squid, lady’s fingers, brinjal, yam and pumpkin) and salad. I practically swept everything and left no remnants.

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The Salmon Tekka Don (260 Baht) arrived in its glorious form, beautifully arranged with zucchini, pickled ginger, wasabi and a dollop of ikura (salmon roe), covering the rice underneath. The serving was huge where Frankie ended up eating all the salmon sashimis but couldn’t finish the rice.

All the above item plus a chawan mushi, one coffee, one orange juice, one lemon juice and one Fujicha (tea) costs the four of us 1,311 Baht. That’s about 327.75 Baht (approximately RM 32.80) per person.

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Fuji Japanese Restaurant
Same level as the food court with big aquariums
Business hour: Mon – Fri: 10.30am – 10.00pm, Sat – Sun: 10.00am – 10.00pm
Website: http://www.fuji.co.th/wwwfuji/
(Outlets also located in Central World, MBK Centre, Silom Complex and The Emporium)

More pictures here: