Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Kirishima Goodness

This is a post about one of the best Japanese restaurants available in Penang, Malaysia. In fact, ask any Japanese food lovers about where they think serves the best Japanese food and more often than not, the name Kirishima would come to mind. Kirishima is situated in the Cititel hotel, Penang island. If it were not for the steep pricing, I would have visited it more often. :) Anyway, I was there a few weeks ago for dinner. It is recommended that one should make a reservation before going there since this place is hugely famous especially among Japanese themselves.

The settings of the restaurant exuded a certain quiet, Japanese charm that was very comforting. Most of the tables were nicely secluded from each other so rest assured of a private conversation or date. ;)

Private seats

Toothpicks and seasoning

This was my third or fourth time frequeting Kirishima and I have never failed to order this particular salad dish which is absolutely amazing! I don't remember what it is called in Japanese but I usually told the waitress that it's the salad with a half-boiled egg on top. And she would know what I mean. In fact, during my last visit there, this salad was not in their new menu anymore! I was so disappointed, that was until I beckoned the waitress to further confirm it. Thankfully, the waitress said that they could still prepare it for me. :) OK, so this salad is really one of its kind. Maybe it's the egg. Maybe it's the sauce. Or maybe, it's just the whole combination of it all which made me craving for more every time even after the plate is licked clean. I think you will never go wrong with this as a starter. :) It has a very healthy combination of fresh vegetables, some Japanese thin noodles, fish eggs, some crackers, traces of meat and of course the amazing half boiled egg to top it all off. Just make sure you mix everything well enough, especially the egg yolk! *salivating*


Now, starters aside, we ordered two different bento as our main course. Each bento came with the usual side dishes such as the chawan mushi (steamed egg), small plate of salad, potato salad, pickled vegetables, fruits, beancurd and tempura. Well OK, the tempura may not be classified as one of the 'usual' sides, only applicable for Kirishima.

Chawan mushi is one of my favourite in any Japanese set that I order. I like it because of its smooth texture, its aromatic fragrant and of course, the fact that it doesn't have much fat in it! *LOL* Kirishima certainly didn't fail in this simple yet delicious dish. It was served piping hot and the texture was akin to that of 'tau foo fah', which to me, is a compliment. :)

Chawan mushi

This is the beef bento that we ordered. With all the side dishes as well. I was full to the brim after finishing this set!

Stone grilled beef bento

The beef was served on a burning hot piece of stone. So we, as the customers actually had the fun of tossing the meat around and observing it while it changed color. We ordered it to be done medium well, so the kind chef had already cooked it to the way we wanted. However, if you want to experiment on your own, you could probably request for the chef to prepare it rare, so that you could play around with the stone grill and get it done to perfectly the way you want it to be. :)


Although the presentation was quite impressive, I must say the beef was not exactly great. Don't get me wrong, the meat was indeed tender and juicy, but it lacked a certain flavour to it. I guess I could loosely describe it as being bland.

On the other hand, the second set we ordered, which was the teriyaki chicken, was served on a hot plate and it tasted very good. You could tell that the chicken was fresh from the tender meat. And the sauce was very flavourful, a perfect accompaniment to the Japanese rice, which was also delicious. :) I certainly ate more chicken than the beef.

Stonegrilled chicken

This is the tempura that was served with the set. Well, I guess there's nothing much to say about tempura except that it's crispy and the prawn was succulent. Have you ever wondered how the Japanese fried their prawns such that they ended up straight instead of curved?


The salad side that came with the set paled in comparison to the half-boiled egg salad. I think I was too full to eat anymore salads by the time I was done with my main course. :)

Salad side dish

Overall, my verdict is above average for this place. The service was top-notch and there was just attention to detail in every dish that they served. The way each piece was placed and arranged, it made the customers feel that they're very valued and appreciated. Of course, quality was also not compromised when it came to food. Plus, the ambience was perfect for a quiet but cosy meal either with your loved ones or with good friends.


CK Lam said...

Hi...I am another food blogger that loves to makan-makan. Saw your post on Kirishima. I have never visited this place but heard about it from my friends.

The food looks delicious. I would love to try the beef bento and of course "your" salad (if I only know how to explain it to the waitress...haha).

soo sean said...

You need to break the neck of the prawn(is it neck?) before dip into the batter. I always do that for better presentation. :p

New Kid on the Blog said...

Well, this reminds me should pay them a visit.. it's been sometime didnt' visit Kirishima already. :)

iamthewitch said...

ck lam: Hi to you! Yes, do give it a try and let me know when you have a review of it! :)
PS: Salad with half-boiled egg on top

soo sean: Haha.. my friend told me to put in a toothpick through the body to keep the body straight :)

nkotb: Yes, it's a nice place worth visiting indeed :)

soo sean said...

Haha....remove it later? Or you found a toothpick in kirishima dish?

iamthewitch said...

Haha.. no no I mean they fry it with the toothpick in the prawn... After that, remove it after it's cooked, so it will remain straight. :)