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Butaya Izakaya @ Sri Hartamas, KL

Konnichiwa! 
How's everyone doing? 

Well I hope the first Two months of the year 2018 has been an amazing one for you! 
It was an alright yet relatively busy month for me.. 
Hope everyone has a fantastic Chinese New Year of the Earth Dog that brings you an abundance of foodie adventure!
 But thankfully we allocated the time for amazing food especially Japanese food! 

In the heart of the Sri Hartamas area lies an authentic Japanese yakitori restaurant that has a small and simple decor but each element of the facade in this restaurant just screams out Japanese! 
Their main goal is to create a little Japan in the heart of the Sri Hartamas housing community!
Not only that but this place; Butaya Izakaya especially has been creating alot of buzz with it's authentic Japanese dishes that are hard to find and a plus point for us to visit is their pricing for the dishes in the menu is really affordable!  


This little Izakaya is located just the same shoplot row as the Prep Room and it was really hard to spot as their signage isn't really big or flashy to make you notice it! 
Note: Please go forward with the choice of MRT & Uber or Grab there as that area has a notorious reputation for unable to find parking just like how the Damansara Uptown is.. 


Well thankfully we did went for that option and managed to find the restaurant despite it was raining rather heavily and relatively dark as well.. This izakaya has 2 options of seating which are indoor or outdoor seating for your own pleasure and every inch of the restaurant is heavily decorated with wooden planks which actually features the type of dishes that they are offering that are written in Japanese.. 





Edamame (RM5)
The first starter that we ordered to start the sumptous and authentic Japanese fare is the Edamame.. This is one of the most popular dish in any Japanese restaurant..
It is actually an immature soy bean that was harvested fresh daily and seasonal too!
This is rated as one of the healthiest snacks in the world and has less fat content yet it fills you up! And not to mentioned, a great companion too when you're waiting for someone or just to go along with a bowl of Tonkotsu ramen..
Their Edamame was fresh as you can see that it was all beaming with Jade green color and there wasn't any yellow edamame spotted..
 The chef was really skillful in cooking them as they came pipping hot on the outside yet crunchy and naturally sweet on the inside!
It was a really nice snack to have to begin the dinner with a glass of Japanese Suntory whisky Highball or even those Japanese beer like my favourite would be a bottle of cool Asahi dry!
Natto (RM9)
After a crunchy immature soy bean, we were then welcomed with something that is really rare and hard to find in KL and that is Natto!

Well you must be wondering what is Natto?
In simple terms; it is basically a fermented soy bean dish which is quite a common snack in East Japan and you can find it convenient stores in tiny packages or even in Japanese school children meal..
To many people it is an acquired taste as it was a fermented soybean dish which has a salty (umami) and smoky taste and an extremely sticky texture even stickier than the lady fingers vegetable..
So we were really excited to find out that the Butaya Izakaya do serve such an iconic dish from Japan that many feared for it assumes to have a rather old cheese smell that is not pleasant for many..

There are ways to enjoy this fermented soybean and they suggested to either have it with Gohan (Japanese rice) or just by itself with the condiments of mustard and soy sauce..
For us, we were feeling very adventurorus and we went ahead with just sampling solely on it's own without any condiments..
You have to stir it well to further enhance the flavour of the natto..
In terms of appearance, it was really slimy and rather an interesting thing as you would imagine it to be something from the Fear Factor challenge.. But if you are familiar with eating something slimy as the lady fingers, it would be something familiar and normal for you if you see that bowl of natto..

The first taste we had was that the natto has this smoky and salty (umami) taste and it does have that old smelly cheeses and not the soft kind but the semi-hard to hard kind of cheese..
Our style of enjoying it would be playing with the condiments surrounding it.. It was really an interesting experiment for us to savor as we found out it goes nicely with the seaweed despite the seaweed also has that umami flavour but the seaweed helps to intensify the smokiness of the natto..
Then, we tried the combination between natto and the lady fingers and it doesn't clash in terms of textures as it melds together as one and the taste wise, the lady fingers was really accommodating and balance out the salty aspect of the natto..

Gyoza (RM14)
From the sweet immature soy bean and the fermented umami Natto; we've moved on to one of the main attractions for dinner would be their Gyoza..
Other than the Natto which was really our main motivation, their Gyoza has been making waves across the Hartamas and KL region in the subject of Japanese food and Gyoza..

What do you know about Gyoza?
Gyoza is actually came from the Chinese which were the famous potstickers or Jiaozi!
They were actually introduced by the Japanese soldiers during the World War II when they were in Manchuria, Northern China.
And the Japanese soldiers loved it so much that they recreated the potstickers and named it Gyoza as we known and loved!
Actually the difference between the gyoza and the potstickers are basically from their outer skin of wrapping which the Japanese Gyoza are thinner, the fillings are more delicate and the serving are smaller in comparison to the Chinese Potstickers which are much bigger in portion and the skin are thicker..
(Source: kitchn)

The Gyoza from this Butaya Izakaya was really freshly made and it was served warm with a side of vinegar and thinly sliced pickled ginger to bring a slightly spicier and warm touch to the gyoza and the delicate fillings..
The presentation of this gyoza was really unique as it was being sheild with a thin and crispy layer that is really crunchy yet it was addicitve to eat!
The outer skin of the wrapper was really crispy and it wasn't too hard to chew in..
The fillings were really well seasoned and goes amazingly with that ginger condiment..
Age Dashi Tofu (RM9)
From the mouthwatering and warm gyoza, we were greeted with a bowl of a familiar face in the Japanese food in KL which is the Age Dashi Tofu..

This is one of the household names in terms of Japanese food, we malaysian's love to order and devour this soya bean product which has a thin crispy coating on the tofu that protects it like a second skin and the most amazing part is that this chef has made it exceptionally well that the tofu doesn't break easily when we try to fish it out from that tsuyu (sauce) which are made with soy, mirin and dashi..

Many would have a love-hate relationship with this dish as we love the soft and supple texture which we get from the tofu and the hate part would be the broth that the tofu is immersed in a tsuyu sauce that has some slight salty taste to it but it is the accompaniment to the soft and silk tofu with the crispy and flaky bonito flakes and that crispy yet umami taste of the seaweed..
We were surprised that the tsuyu sauce that was immersed with the silky tofu wasn't really salty even though you left it quite long in comparison to the other Age Dashi tofu that we had in other Japanese restaurant.. The sauce has a perfect balance between a great depth of earthy taste, slight seafood note and the salty taste that pairs well with the soft and silky tofu that is relatively bland..


The moment has finally arrive with the unveiling of the myriads of Yakitori's which we had ordered.. 
The yakitori selection are located towards the end of the menu and do note that it is a non-halal place that serves pork meat in their restaurant.. 

After much discussion and temptations from the beautifully photographed dishes option on the Yakitori section of this menu as there are the tempting options of various cuts of Pork, Chicken and seafood to choose from..
So we decided to have a go with Pork Belly, Pork Shoulder, Pork Liver, Chicken Gizzard and Salmon Belly (RM8).. All the protein each are priced at RM4 per stick..
There were endless protein to begin eating and after much pondering on which to devour first.
We finally came to a conclusion to start with the Pork belly which has a succulent and juicy yet it has that balance between the ratio of thickness of belly fats against the thickness of the succulent meat!

Then we moved away from the succulent and oil pork belly towards the Pork shoulder which have more negative views rather than being a fan favourite as it was greatly affected on the approach of cooking it! Thankfully, the yakitori chef in Butaya Izakaya is skillful and talented to ensure that this shoulder is the best yet perfectly cooked shoulder we ever had! It wasn't too tough to eat it even though it was slightly cool yet it was really delicate and tender to enjoy!

If you're a superfan of anything organs then this izakaya is the haven for all organ lovers like yours truly! Their pork liver and chicken gizzard was given a huge serving of it but bare in mind that it has to be consumed fast as once it gets cold, the organ would appear relatively tough!
For seafood lover, the salmon belly is the most popular choice and one of the best seafood to be charred as it fatty content on the flesh helps to create a buttery texture and mouthfeel when you bite it!
Lady fingers, Gizzard, leek, salmon belly, Pork Belly, Pork Shoulder, Shitake Roll
To many, it may seem that we are ordering alot of protein for just the dinner considering that we had a sumptuous appetizers to start with but never underestimate the power of the foodie's appetite and stomach!
We alos didn't forget the importance on eating healthy with the inclusion of the BBQ Asparagus roll, Leek roll, Shitake roll and Lady fingers.
All are at the reasonable priced of RM2.50 each and they are served in  a thick and sturdy bamboo stick which is a similar concept towards the making of satay..

Asparagus, Salmon Belly, Kidney 
The waiting time for this yakitori sticks aren't that long and it is a form of fast food that goes amazingly well with either a cool and dry Japanese beer or even a refreshing and a pint of Suntory Highball that they made with a shot of suntory whisky mixed together with soda and a squeeze of lemon! It is really a popular and refreshing drink on a hot day and amongst the Japanese people to go with the yakitori's and the vegetable rolls! 

The asparagus roll was really sweet and not overly charred as it was wrapped with a thin layer of the parma ham that helps to give the asparagus a fatty taste! 
We really enjoyed the leek through the charcoal method as it gives out a charred taste and texture as well as a sweet after taste to it! 
Salmon, Ikura (Salmon roe) & Hamachi -RM40 
Well finishing the entire dinner with a dessert would be a yesterday news as we finished the fantastic Japanese dinner with a beautiful bowl of fresh Sashimi!

Under the sashimi section, we actually had chosen their bowl which contains Salmon, Ikura(Salmon roe) & Salmon belly.. 
Unfortunately, the day of our visit, their friendly server had informed us that the salmon belly was unavailable and they were kind enough to substitute it with the Hamachi sashimi which is the yellow tail.. So we finally ended up with a fantastic bowl of Salmon, Ikura and Hamachi 

It doesn't take that long for us to wait and to have our Japanese version of a sweet ending with this beauties! 
Usually in a normal Japanese restaurant you would be charged higher for the salmon and it's roe but here their price stays really affordable and relevant for us to eat more without burning an extremely big hole in our wallets.. 

After the arrival of this beautiful bowl of sashimi and documentation for memory sake, we sample the sashimi based on intensity and texture..
So we started off with the lightest and it was the Hamachi or known as the yellow tail which has less fatty content yet it has some slight buttery texture in terms of mouthfeel..
Then we proceed towards the fan favourite and that would be the Salmon sashimi which has a meatier mouthfeel and with a fantastic hint of marbling on it's meat.. Finally, we the bubbly of the seafood delicacy which is the Ikura or the Salmon roe..

This usually features in the form of the Barachirashi don or Salmon don with sprinkling of the salty and glistening salmon roe's.. Well for this platter, we were giving a generous portion of it in a small bowl.. When it was eaten on it's own, this glistening bubbles would taste rather salty or briney and they will have that popping sensation! So it would be best eaten with a Gohan or a bowl of  warm Japanese rice.. 

Verdict: 
An authentic japanese dining experience with dishes not widely available in many Japanese restaurant in KL 
Affordable pricing and friendly service! 

Ambience: 4/5
Food:5/5
Price:3/5
Service:4.5/5

Must Try: 
Natto 
Pork Yakitori's 
Sashimi 
Gyoza 
Vegetable Yakitori 

Butaya Izakaya 
14, Jalan Sri Hartamas 8, 
Taman Sri Hartamas 
50480
Kuala Lumpur 

Opening Hours

Tuesday-Sunday 
5pm-12am

Closed on Monday 

Contact 
+603-23894172

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