Wednesday, December 19, 2012


images Veronica Ng, text Dave Avran

The road to happiness is a pretty subjective and individual subject. Luckily here at frigglive, our (rather substantial) stomachs rule and for us, Doraku which literally means “road to happiness” in Japanese, is the new hip, chic, and inventive hub of happiness for jaded Kuala Lumpur urbanites.

At Doraku, a unique blend of sushi, sake, cuisine, art, and music celebrate the rich origins of Japan with upscale Pan-Asian cuisine, zen décor, and a fully-appointed bar serving an expansive selection of your favorite alcohol.

This is not your typical Japanese restaurant as the décor is indicative of the Doraku philosophy. The Zen-like setting conveys a minimalist Japanese feel, with dining tables discretely separated by the use of wood and trees. The outside dining lanai is a real jewel- a quiet and serene space overlooking the hustle and bustle of busy Jalan Sultan Ismail below yet somehow managing to maintain a quiet aloofness from the city centre clamor below. The lanai comes complete with a DJ booth for late-night lounging.

Look closely and blended into this serenity are a state-of-the-art kitchen, trendy bar area and high-tech sushi bar.

Hafez M. Hashim, the CEO and founder of HMH Group in Malaysia is himself well versed in the new culinary era in Asia, and he has certainly outdone himself by spotting and snapping up this new gastronomically exciting experience from USA by partnering with Doraku in a unique collaboration.

Doraku is founded by Kevin Aoki, son of Hiroaki (Rocky) Aoki, the founder of the famed Benihana f&b group. Here’s where things start sizzling - Kevin's also the brother of famous musician Steve Aoki and actress Devon Aoki.

Doraku strives to be inventive in its cuisine by audaciously combining traditional Japanese ingredients with Pan Asian and Latin flavors. This is certainly a great way to end 2012 by reviewing one of KL's most exciting new eateries.

A glance at the menu confirms that this is no ordinary sushi place as their approach in the contemporary food scene blends many different flavors, spices, and herbs with creations customized carefully to tantalize every taste bud.

The executive chef of Doraku, Yutaro Tsuchiya is an experienced and talented chef who has cooked for many celebrities including Tiger Woods, George Bush, Beyonce, Eminem, the Black Eyed Peas, Shakira, Julio Iglesias and Anna Kournikova.

Right. Let’s get down to the business of food, then.

Salmon Carpaccio (RM28)
Thinly sliced salmon sashimi and red onion creatively garnished with creamy ginger sauce and tobiko. It's a heavenly pairing.

Tuna Avocado Salad (RM25)
Chunks of succulent Ahi tuna, fresh avocado, crispy fried wanton, cherry tomato and spring onions tossed with wasabi yuzu dressing. A refreshing yet mildly spicy interlude.

Baked Mussels (RM26)
Chopped green mussels, tobiko, scallions, and bonito flakes baked and served stuffed in the shell. While the meaty mussels were good, we didn’t quite like the black burnt bits that fell off the back of the shell as we picked it up and left a carbon trail all the way from the plate to the tablecloth to our napkins and finally our clothes. A quick wet wipe in the kitchen before serving will do this dish wonders. 

Japanese beef ribs (RM58)
This is the chef's daily special, so please ask for availability. Its is not the wimpy soft and fall-off-the-bone version. The meat is awesomely chewy, lovingly embraced by a layer of sexy, smoky sauce.

Emperor Roll (RM38)
A lavish creation of Tuna, salmon, crab, shrimp, scallop and avocado rolled together then crusted in Panko breadcrumbs and flash fried, served over a bed of spring veg and circled by tempura sweet onion finished with a special Aioli sauce. Visually appealing and tastefully satisfying.

God of Fire (RM33)
Innocent looking sushi where spicy tuna is rolled with cucumber and red chill strips, topped with tuna sashimi, chili, tobiko and spicy aioli. Innocent until you pop it into your mouth, where the fiery hot chili padi (bird’s eye chili) buried smack dab in its center will have your fire alarm ringing at level five. We loved this innovative creation which had our taste buds doing the happy feet dance one minute and Gangnam style the next.

Sweet Philly Roll (RM45)
Well marinated Salmon, luxurious cream cheese, avocado and rice roll topped with eel sauce and served with a ring of deep fried crispy and chewy sweet potato strings.

Tempura Fried Brownies/Fried Cheese Cake Ice cream
What more can we say except “nom nom nom?” Both desserts were exceptional, with the Tempura Fried Cheese Cake Ice Cream served with mango sorbet, blueberry sauce and mixed fruits being enough to satisfy the sweetest of teeth. it's a fanciful feast of colors & flavors.

The one hiccup we experienced during our dining experience was the wait staffs’ obvious lack of training. We had our single malt whiskey cleared off the table while the glass was still half full and we had wait staff continue to place dishes on the right side of our table of six despite several requests to place the dishes in the middle for easier access. They could certainly benefit from a round of training in serving diners.  

Doraku's cocktails are pretty awesome too. We had the "Asian Mojito," a ginger-infused vodka creation garnished with a Shiso leaf. Some of the specialties are the Ume margarita and the signature Doraku mojito. The Ume margarita is a sweet and sour concoction with assam powdered on the rim that is rather addictive.

Doraku opens daily for lunch & dinner, serving drinks well past midnight.

Doraku Sushi & Sake Bar,
Mezzanine Floor, Life Center, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2181-4828

We’d like to end with a little quiz - who is your favorite Aoki?

a. Rocky Aoki – because he has a cool name and he created Benihana

b. Steve Aoki – because he creates killer beats

c. Kevin Aoki – one word - Doraku

d. Devon Aoki – one word -gorgeous.

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Blogger Act One Solutions said...

Check this out.
Take dinner at this place & lastly end up in Police Station.

Don't use voucher in this restaurant.

8:21 am  

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