Akamomiji has piqued my interest since its renovation period sometime during the Chinese New Year. Located in Medan Ipoh Bistari (yup, don't you get that sense of deja vu ....), this latest addition to Ipoh's line up of Japanese restaurants opened few days ago to much fanfare, almost fully booked every evening, and prior reservation seems to be the norm, lest you decide to casually waltz in and capitalize on the furore/chaos that is surrounding almost all newly-opened outlets. Josephine Cafe and David's Diner come to mind, naturally.
Occupying 2 shoplots of space, the restaurant is brighter than its counterpart, Kizuna, and a tad more spacious. With a sushi bar that can seat about 5 guests
Service was far from satisfactory however, let alone impeccable. But given the fact that the place is rather new; the new staff and new management deserve a second chance (least in my humble opinion) and time to improve before being put on the gallows. I mean, before passing any judgmental opinions. Some may disagree on this, I'm sure, as discerning diners may categorize first impression as a make-or-break experience, and the proprietor's better impressed, or else.
But seriously, this IS Ipoh after all, whereby quality and quantity of the food comes first, while dining experience comes a close (or distant) second. And credits to be given where credits are due, all the staff were in fact, rather friendly and approachable. Just lacking in terms of training, and more vitally, hands-on experience. Imagine to be seated and without any menu nor attention for a good 5 minutes. But with that said, the waitress was rather accomodating, topping up our cups of green tea every now and then.
OK, let's move on to the food. Before that, Ipohans must have heard about Kizuna japanese restaurant? Situated a stone's throw away from Kizuna, the owner of Akamomiji is in fact, from the management of Kizuna. Still on good terms or not, I don't know. But for sure this is a strong contender to Kizuna (and even Waraku, to some extent), business-wise, as all of them are located within the same area.
Our orders got mixed up somehow, and we were served more dishes than we initially ordered. But we relented and gobbled up everything that was put in front of us. Such hungry souls eh?
The appetizers of marinated seaweed (Chuka Wakame) and marinated baby octopus (Chuka Idako) came in dainty portions, but served their functions as appetizers well. Sweet, slightly tangy, and spicy (for the seaweed), the appetizers teased the palate for more to come. The baby octopus were crunchy to the bite, served on a bed of julienned cucumbers. Refreshing.
Unagi and Tamago Sushi
Kyushu Nigiri Sushi (Platter of 9 pcs) @ RM25.80
Kyushu Nigiri Sushi (Platter of 9 pcs) @ RM25.80
The staff explained that the fishes are freshly flown in from Japan every Tuesdays and Fridays. Hmm, Waraku (yet to blog, later) seems to import their supplies on the same days as well. Suspicious?
It's already Sunday, (meaning we could be savouring on Friday's supplies) the slices of fish remained fresh, sweet and succulent. Especially tempting was the roes (tobiko?), VERY 'crunchy' and QQ, every bite released squirts of juices. A far cry from Sushi King's, believe me.
Ebi Kisu Tenpura @ RM16.80
The prawns and fish tenpura was disappointing though. Not exactly LARGE prawns, the platter consisted of 2 prawns, a slice of fish, and a piece or two of vege only. And the batter was nothing to shout about, nor was the accompanying generic tenpura sauce.
We were served with the Una Jyu (grilled eel with sweet teriyaki sauce on rice), something none of us ordered. And we digged in before realizing it was not in our order list. Oh, but what the heck, the thick, juicy and well-marinated slabs of eel were perfectly grilled, with its juice retained, and none of the cold, fishy taste. Thumbs up to the unagi!!! With complementary miso soup.
The chicken was succulent, and tender. Simply served with strips of seaweed, and sprinkling of sesame seeds. Sufficient to be a complete meal, or a light lunch. Also came with a bowl of miso soup.
And ultra-light eaters can order any of their variety of fried rice, from garlic to crab fried rice and silver anchovies fried rice. The garlic fried rice was good; fluffy and fragrant from the garlic cloves, perfect as an ala carte order to complement your salads, grilled meats, hot pots, or even the kushiyaki (which sadly, was not available this particular evening). They serve okono-miyaki (japanese omelettes) as well, but unfortunately was not available for orders on this visit.
On the whole, the meal was above average, with rather reasonable prices to boot. The meal costed less than RM100 for the four of us. But of course, we did not go crazy with the orders nor order any sashimi, given the fact that it's 2 days too late to sample their freshly flown supplies from Japan. But there's always another visit, when the craving comes, ya? :)
Location : AKAMOMIJI JAPANESE RESTAURANT @ 36-38, Medan Ipoh 1E, Medan Ipoh Bistari, 31400 Ipoh, Perak. Tel : 605-546 8368. It's directly opposite the row of shops with SSTC Italian Cafe, Kafe Tim Curry Mee, and Serai Sate Kajang. Visit any of those links for directions.
#Updated 24/3/2009 : Here's The Star Online's compiled version of this article #