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Motormouth From Ipoh

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Starting the Year Off with a Bang?! (Tenji Japanese Buffet @ Solaris Mont Kiara)

A break from the Melaka post, and rewind back to a week ago .... the dawn of a new bullish year. I said BULL-ISH, according to the lunar calendar. Not Bullsh*t. Though given the current economic downward spiral trend, the latter may suit our prospects for the coming 365 days more ....
So, how was YOUR new year celebration? Mine = Ruckus. Should've known better than to spend it around the Golden Triangle area in KL. The seas of revellers flooded the streets around the city(which fortunately, were closed for the celebration since evening. If not? Refer Xmas Gurney Drive pandemonium).

The fireworks display (a fix affair over at KLCC every year), and the aftermath of 'WAR' along Jln Sultan Ismail .... had us cowering in fear of sprayed with snow.
Since early evening, Astro started the ball rolling by staging a show outside of Sg Wang Plaza, with mostly local and some international Chinese artistes performing. Over at Pavilion, booming loud music was emanating from some boombox around the giant Xmas tree at the entrance. Xmas was ... in fact, a week's old story though.
But really, it was cool to see Malaysians from every race and background, as well as generation, celebrating amidst the turbulent times, for one night only ..... albeit the un-ruliness. But hey, all in the name of fun, no? :)

Tenji Japanese Buffet Restaurant @ Solaris Mont Kiara
On the 1st day of 2009, I was still reeling from the previous night's experience, walked miles after miles of unnecessary pilgrimage with thousands of others, as I chose to take the train, seeing that most roads were closed off to traffic.
However, on the day after, things started to pick up, as influenced by the many rave reviews of Tenji's buffet promotion, we crawled, traversed and scrambled our way to Mont Kiara. (Side note : Do ask or search for directions beforehand, if you're not familiar with the way. Mont Kiara can be seen from the highway, but took us a few extra rounds to find our way there from town. It's in fact, rather near to Hartamas).

Notice the clips with numbers 172 and 173? Our tables' numbers, meant to be used for ordering cooked items. Much like Jogoya.
When KCA called up to book a day before, the staff stated that the place was fully booked. Yeah, right. But we pushed our luck and arrived at 11.30am, the time when they open for business. Full prepared to be turned away, we were surprised to be ushered to our seats. Although at the verandah on the outside, the weather was thankfully cooling that afternoon.

The starters - Sashimi (raw fish slices), sushis, HUMOUNGOUS raw oysters, and various boiled seafood
Tenji is running a promotion until the 15th of January 2009, whereby lunch buffet starts from RM29.90+ onwards for the 1st hour, RM39.90+ for 2 hours of binging, and RM49.90+ for prolonged glutton session, up til 4.00pm. Do take note that from roughly 2-3pm onwards, a few counters would've stopped 'production', according to the crowd.
And the sudden blackout on the day we went rendered most kitchens dark and eventually closed. Rats.

The variety of cooked items
Of course, even RM49.90 per pax is a steal, if you're a fan of large oysters (REALLY big, I tell ya .... length comparable to a spoon! And required THREE mouthfuls each! You can gulp one at one slurp, but risk suffocation), sashimi (salmon, swordfish, scallops and tilapia only. Yup, TILAPIA. Never realised they can be eaten raw!), Haagen Dazs ice-cream (retail price at Haagen Dazs outlet? RM10 per scoop!) and seafood.
But seriously, we were rather disappointed at the choices of raw cuts, and sushis available. There's no maguro (tuna), butterfish, or ika (squid). Of course none of the yellowtail, bluefin, blackfin or whatever-tuna. Hmm.

Chinese cuisine station with Dim Sum - But we skipped those.

At the oriental station, you get Kam Heong snails (not bad, but messy), herbal soup (drop your clip and wait), greens cooked to your liking (drop clips), steamed fish (redfish or siakap), dim sum (ready for taking), and various other cooked dishes. Even the lobster salad's there, though the minced bits of the prized crustacean was akin to 'needle in a haystack' comparison. Not exactly impressive, but the steamed redfish was OK (refer pic below).

Steamed Redfish - Requires at least 15 mins of preparation. We waited more than that though ...

Kushiyaki - Unagi (eel), Mushrooms, Grilled Lamb Shoulder, and Grilled Salmon
One gripe we had about the clip-dropping system is that you can ONLY drop ONE clip into each bowl, wait for your dish to arrive, then only drop another. BUT, the grilled items on skewers eg. unagi, yakitori, etc come only in solitary form, or in duo. Imagine a table of 3-4, sharing ONE pathetic skewer of unagi. Hmm, certainly something to improve on.
And look at the slab of salmon above. Roughly 10-15 mins of wait, and gone in an instance. Not to say it's good though, the flesh was dry and tasteless. With minimal citrusy dressing. We skipped the fish and chips, as the cut of fish is equivalent to the size of a nugget. Really.

Fresh, sweet young coconut juice
Worthy of praises are the coconuts. Very sweet, thirst-quenching to the max. The juice counter offered 4 types of fruit juices. But not all were freshly-squeezed ones. Stick to the coconuts only, please!

The Chocolate Fountain
It could be the trend nowadays. Every reputable (or not) buffet spread in hotels or restaurants MUST incorporate a chocolate fountain (black or/and white) for chocolate-lovers to indulge in some work. OK, not much work la, just drizzle/drench your sticks of fruits or biscuit, or even marshmallow (not available at Tenji though) with the flowing chocolate sauce. Sinful,right? WRONG!

Desserts galore
The chocolate syrup was way too diluted, and tasteless. Reminded me of Nini's chocolate sauce. If you're not sure what's Nini, go back 10 or 20 years in time, or back to your childhood, and reminiscence. Thumbs down ....
The other desserts were not too memorable either. Though so many options available at the counter, but you're served by the staff at the counter, handing you your picks, on such a small plate. You can't even fit more than 4 pieces of mochi (sticky glutinous desserts in various flavours), cookies or cakes, at one shot. Imagine going back and forth a few trips to sample everything. Which is impossible anyway.
Hint : Go for ONLY the Haagen Dazs ice-cream (forgot the pic!) in 5-6 flavours, and get your $$$ worth! The cookies are HORRIBLE, btw.

Floral/fruity tea - A soothing end

The variety of floral tea available was impressive. There was lavender, chamomile (I think), mixed berry tea, and a few other unrecognizable names. You can even brew them freshly with the leaves provided, in a mug.

Sipping on them while seated at the verandah overlooking the highway = Bliss.

Thick, frothy cuppa coffee

Chef at work .... the misty effect looks cool, no?
On the whole, I'd suggest go for only an hour of rapid downing of oysters and sashimi, followed by Haagen Dazs ice cream. For RM29.90+, it's well-worth the price. Don't go for anything more, the cooked items are not worth the time and gut-space. :)
Location : TENJI Japanese Buffet @ Lot L-01-01, SohoKL, Solaris Mont' Kiara2 Jalan Solaris, 5o480 Kuala LumpurTel: 1700-80-1818 / 03-6203.6896


Anonymous said...

Yea, for small eater opt for the RM29.90 for 1st hour one is quite a good bargain .......

worldwindows said...

Good strategy and a few more days to go. Its the oyster and Haagen Dazs thing. The steamed redfish looks very good.

Anonymous said...

really good rate looking at the choice.. but not sure when i can heard there for lunch. oh well. might as well since CNY is just around the corner. :P

Tummythoz said...

U don't sound as impressed as Precious Pea. Maybe the proprietors got the publicity they desired so time to cut cost?

fatboybakes said...

aiyo, so fast oridi there's been a deterioration in quality, between pea's review and yours.
guffaw, love your brutal honesty bro... "THE COOKIES ARE HORRIBLE, BTW"...snort, chortle.
good idea hor, just eat sashimi and haagen daz.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

sounds like a heaps in 1 hr..then walk over to coffee bean to

Precious Pea said...

Ah..that's the difference of going when they started operation, before everyone gets to learn of the promo. Heard bad reviews of this place in terms of quality and service, guess they couldn't cope with the crowd. Anyway, someone went on weekend and came back saying it is good.

Anonymous said...

Aww.. too bad... that's not even 3 months in between PP and your visit.

J2Kfm said...

SimpleGirl : yeah. go for ready-type of food. or a tenpura/softshellcrab or two. or maybe some herbal soup and steamed fish. then binge on the sashimi, oysters and ice cream. hahahah ... 2hours also ok lah, RM39.90 only.

worldwindows : heard that they're fully booked until 15th Jan. how true, I dunno.

jasmine : oh post-promo price is RM77 for lunch, and RM88 for dinner.

Tummythoz : so true. I read back Pea's post, and I saw the GIANT roast lamb. I went that time only mere grilled lamb shoulder CUTS.

FBB : yeah. and they dun even have enough plates to go around at times. you know lah, they dun fry the soft-shell crabs/prawn tempura in huge amounts, thus there's a rush for them. I lost the scuffle while searching for a plate. dang!

Joe : LOL. or take 2 hours lah, RM39.90 only ma. we took our sweet time, as I'm not sure whether I'll return in near future not. RM77 for lunch buffet kinda pricey.

Precious pea : yeahloh! you were lucky you went early, least that period was heavy publicity/promo period. you want some vouchers? =P

jason : and I forgot to mention, since halfway through, there was a blackout, the toilet was DAMN dark with small candles only, and we could not pay by credit card. there's not even receipts being issued.

HairyBerry said...

LOL on the bullish and bullsh*t statement. good one! haha!

good tip on the RM29.90 thingy. if we fully optimise the hour, it'll be worth the money. 29.90 is a good deal lar, definitely.

Anonymous said...

Wah...U should charge Nokia for giving them free advertisement ler...The KLCC pic u took with ur Nokia 5610 looked so real ler... =)

Anonymous said...

Me too when to Tenji and the experience is pretty much wat described here.. disappointing. I

hate it when they refuse to replenish the food half way thru the meal..

Rebecca Saw said...

hhmmm..this tenji place seems to be the talk of all food blogs now.. mayb i hsould try to go at 1130am n try.. ;p

J2Kfm said...

Nic : yeah, esp for someone working down south. mere SGD12-13?

MBoy : hahaha ... pay for free advertising? it's an old model liao. Nokia's not even promoting this model anymore.

Calvin Kong : you didnt complain to the management? guess teething problems when it comes to new restaurant. esp one with so high traffic daily!

thenomadGourmand : haha, good luck! many complained of cant get any seats. fully booked all the way ... can u imagine that?

teckiee said...

woah..thats a lot of tea! I went to book, but fully booked already =( ..i went ahead and tried my luck also =(

pigpigscorner said...

Wow, with sashimi and haagen dazs, it's really worth it!

J2Kfm said...

teckiee : really that bad? guess really fully booked. its ok, not missing much, aside from the value for money.

pigpigscorner : yeah, sadly, the offer lasts until Jan 15 only. then the price will resume to the usual RM77 for lunch and RM88 for dinner.

Raynebow said...

Hmmm...this place seems to be the talk of the town and there're mixed reviews about it. Judging from your experience and seeing how fully-booked they are, i think i'll take a rain check on this, until i read better reviews about them! I hate jostling with crowds and if they won't even replenish food halfway, that's bad! And the fact that they serve small servings & making ppl wait for food, guess that's their strategy for u to spend more time there & they can charge u more!

minchow said...

Gurney Drive on Xmas eve and Golden Triangle on NY's eve??! Jaw dropping courage! I think I'd steer clear from the promo period at Tenji - my threshold for crowd too low for me to properly enjoy the food otherwise.

Selba said...

Interesting how they charged...

The place looks nice...too bad that you didn't really got a good experience there.

Anonymous said...

Wowsers... you spent NYE in Golden Triangle? Damn courageous lah. Hehe, I spent in my apartment with friends, watching the fireworks... safer! :P

choi yen said...

I went there 1st Jan too why I can't see unagi de :( *sob*sob

J2Kfm said...

Raynebow : teething problems, eventually they'll buck up. once promo's over, and the crowd subsides, sure they will try other ways to attract the crowd.

550ml jar of faith : hmm, i hate jostling for my food too. i PAY and supposed to enjoy right? :) already charging extra 10%, not sure for gov tax or service charge. i mean, this being a BUFFET restaurant, all self-service, they dun even replenish your drink, nor change your plates. you gotta get them yourselves.

Selba : yeah, i'd rather have them concentrate on a fe wbetter items, then doing all but excel at none.

LFB : courageous eh? we felt like lions. until the snow-spraying sessions. we ran with tails between our legs. hehe ...

mimid3vils : dont worry. NOT missing a lot. it's merely a small piece on a skewer.

Anonymous said...

all food look delicious.. i will eat with my fren next week, haha :)

email2me said...

Lucky you still can enjoy yourself so much. Lately their foods refill speed and service has dropped a lot. Not as nice as your session there. Envy you.

Anonymous said...

oh my dad just sent me an email about this place. Large oysters are mega Yuck. The good ones are the small tiny ones as they have the most flavour.
Also the salmon looks like cheap farmed salmon.

J2Kfm said...

terrytsang : well, good for you. or not. haha ... hope you have a nice experience there.

email2me : erm, we did not really enjoy ourselves much. but we tend to look at the positive sides. haha ...

genuiness : oh really? but for most, the bigger the better. :)
yeah, the salmon tasted bland, dry, and erm, slightly fishy.

ahlock said...

Oooooo....Aaaaa........The foods are so so tempting...I wanna lay my teeth on them!

I love Japanese. Been to Kizuna Restaurant a few times and loved it each time.

But I'm always hopelessly lost in KL. Hate the traffic jams, hate the confusing road signs.

Looks like visitng this place shall remain a dream for now till I can get a friend who is familiar with KL road.

Anonymous said...

i like the design of the restaurant.. but.. err.. not the FOOD... SOrRy.. hehe..

oooppsss.. u missed those *YumYum* Haagen Dazs pics... hehe...

J2Kfm said...

ahlock : hahaha ... let's wait and see whether they buck up after the promo. cz after that, the price would be double-triple the promo price.

wondermouth : hmm, nice nick. somehow so familiar ... which Land you're from? =P

Anonymous said...

To all readers, Tenji will definitely not an ideal place for dining. I went on 20/03/09 for the Buffet of RM49.90/pax. The Bill for 2pax were RM 99.80 + Service Charge (10% x Ori.Price of RM 154) + Gov.Tax (5% x Ori.Price of RM 154) "PS: RM 77 ori. price for lunch session per pax"! The TOTAL : RM 122.90. I deeply felt cheated and it seemed like a !@#$ trick they used for consumers. And dun expect much for their explanation. The cashier told me, they are practising like Airasia, the s. charge & gov. tax will always based on the Ori. price. OMG ... can anyone believe it!

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