Food Review – Kouzu Japanese Tapas Bar TTDI
The F&B scene in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail (TTDI) which has seen many changes over the years. This I know first hand because I used to live in TTDI for over 20 years. When TTDI was first inhabited in the early 80’s, it was a sleepy little housing area on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur neighbouring a palm oil estate. In fact, our food choices were pretty limited to a couple of Chinese coffeeshops or kopitiams and mamaks until the arrival of KFC, McDonald’s, White Castle, Pizza Hut and Grandy’s in the late 80’s which triggered a fast food wars to which only KFC and Pizza Hut survived to this day (McDonald’s returned two decades later after failing spectacularly in TTDI in the 80’s).
Nothing much exciting in terms of the F&B scene in TTDI happened in the 90’s as the development of 1 Utama Shopping Centre basically made it the go to place for dining. It was only from the year 2010 onwards that the scene gradually began to change with a couple of new bars such as Tom, Dick & Harry’s and Sid’s Pub followed by a couple then a lot more began to give residents more dining and entertainment options. Fast forward to today and you’ll find that TTDI is a haven for foodies, with its hipster cafes, speakeasy bars, happy hour and wine bars, bakeries, and yes even food trucks.
Adding to this vibrant scene is Kouzu Japanese Tapas Bar & Restaurant which serves “Japas” which is short for Japanese tapas, donburi, yakitori, pizzas and pastas, coupled with a good selection of Japanese and non-Japanese alcohol like beer, whisky, wines, and of course sake. Kouzu which means “compilation of good deeds and fortune” is not a pretentious Japanese restaurant. Don’t walk into Kouzu expecting traditional Japanese fare like sushi and ramen because there’s none. Instead, try out the restaurant’s innovative fusion creations that combines both Japanese and Westerns ingredients.
The restaurant is pretty new, opened around seven (7) weeks ago however it has already garnered quite a following, judging from the high number of diners and drinkers even though it was just a Thursday evening. Taking a quick look around, there were the PMEBs, having happy hour drinks after work, as well as groups of friends out for dinner and drinks. Generally a youngish crowd which is pretty much expected of TTDI.
Now on to the food that we tried…
Sirloin – RM12.00 per piece
Starting off with my favourite protein – BEEF! Not just any cut of beef mind you but sirloin! A really tender cut that was grilled to perfection maintaining the juiciness and flavour of the beef. A good start.
Gyutan – RM12.00 per piece
Grilled beef tongue that had a very interesting texture. In fact, I thought I was eating pork belly until I remembered that Kouzu is a pork free restaurant. Very flavourful though. Highly recommended.
Rock Lobster – RM12.00 per piece
Lobster for RM12.00++? Yes even though it’s a rock lobster and not a Boston lobster/ red lobster but still very worth it! Goes great with drinks!
Back End – RM6.00
Yes…chicken backside aka bishop’s nose. Caitlen’s favourite dish in Taiwan.
Mango de la mer – RM26.00
This one was a most surprising dish indeed! But surprising in a good way though. A mish mash of cheesy, piquant and sweet flavours that actually went extremely well together!
Sashimi Salad with Wasabi Mayo – RM28.00
For the more health conscious and it was no wonder that Caitlen devoured most of this dish. Lol. I enjoyed the nice and fresh flavours and I’m glad that this salad was not drenched in dressing like some places.
Creamy Baked Oysters – RM19.00
Five…yes one, two, three, four, FIVE oysters covered in cheese and a dollop of roe for RM19.00++. Seriously I had to ask the waiter because I just couldn’t believe the price. The next time I go I’m just going to order two plates of this and enjoy it with some drinks! And no – I’m not going to share with you. Order your own plate of this gooey but simply delightful mess!
Pan Seared Foie Gras and Tuna – RM28.00
A large chunk of pan seared tuna resting on a slice of pan seared foie gras. A little suft and turf action here which might seem rather unusual and to be honest I ate both ingredients separately and they were both delicious on their own. I do think this is a very value for money dish as goodness…where else in the Klang Valley can you have foie gras AND a large chunk of tuna for just RM28.00++?
Beef Steak Tataki – RM27.00
Grilled beef in a sweet ponzu sauce and topped with scallions and friend garlic. This was my FAVOURITE dish of the night! Beautifully grilled to medium rare which resulted in tender and juicy slices of beef which are simply a joy to partake. Wished I had some red wine to go with this dish.
Japanese Escargot Pizza – RM26.00
This was definitely quite an unusual pizza! Crunchy pieces of Japanese escargots atop a base which is covered with a sweet teriyaki like sauce makes this one for the more adventurous diner. Don’t worry, no slimy escargots here and if you didn’t know you’d think you were eating pieces of squid.
Sanuki Udon Pasta – RM18.00
Sanuki udon is one of the most famous types of udon in Japan. Here it is used as a substitute for pasta in this dish.
Ishiyaki Stone Bowl (Donburi) – RM23.00
The bowl comes with unagi, scallops, vinegared prawns, capelin roe and a runny egg served over rice and I think gives you the most bang for your buck. Heck just one (1) bowl of this will fill you up nicely and I’m quite surprised at the inclusion of unagi and scallops (although not a huge amount) at the price of RM23.00++ as both are quite pricey ingredients.
Green Tea Ice Cream – RM11.00
A sweet ending to the meal.
*All prices above are excluding the 6% GST and 10% service charge
There’s everything from Japanese whiskies like Yamazaki, Hibiki and Nikka, to sake, wines and brandy, and popular Scotch whisky brands like Macallan, Dalmore, Laphroaig and Auchentoshan.
Kouzu has some good promos for drinkers namely:
- 2x bottles of Cranswick Lakefield wines for RM179.00 or 1x bottle at RM99.00 (all night long)
- 3x pints of Carlsberg draught at RM55.00 nett or 1x mug of Carlsberg at RM9.90 nett (from 5.00pm to 8.00pm)
- 3x pints of Asahi Super Dry draught at RM75.00 nett or 1x glass at RM13.00 (from 5.00pm to 8.00pm)
- All you can drink sake from 5.00pm to 8.00pm for RM68.00 nett
- 3x bottles of Auchentoshan Three Wood for RM1,118.00 or 2x bottles for RM788.00
- 3x bottles of Macallan 12 Years for RM1,288.00 or 2x bottles for RM888.00
- 3x bottles of Black Nikka Special for RM1,088.00 or 2x bottles for RM828.00
I think Kouzu is a great addition to TTDI and the surrounding areas as there are no Japanese tapas bars in the immediate vicinity. The combination of both good food at affordable prices and their large selection of alcohol coupled with some great happy hour deals makes Kouzu an ideal place for having happy hours with colleagues, or catching up with friends and family over dinner, or to have some after-dinner drinks. It’s no wonder the restaurant was buzzing with people enjoying their drinks and food during my visit!
The establishment is also available for private events and can fit around a dozen people in their private room and another 30 to 40 pax in the main dining and al fresco areas.
There’s a special Easter Sunday dinner menu available on 16 April 2017.
Flash this write-up to the restaurant manager James to receive a 10% discount off your bill*.
*Not valid with special promotions.
Kouzu is located at:
18, Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 1,
Taman Tun Datuk Ismail,
60000 Kuala Lumpur,
Telephone: 03-7733 9309
5.00pm to 1.00am
Tuesdays to Sundays (closed on Mondays)