Kassey and I recently headed over to Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur (hotel) to try the very first “Japanese Viking Buffet” at the hotel’s Japanese restaurant, Tatsu Japanese Cuisine. The term Viking is an alternate name for “Smörgåsbord” which is a type of Scandinavian meal, originating in Sweden, served buffet-style with multiple hot and cold dishes of various foods on a table.
The story goes that many decades ago, as Japan was emerging economically after the ravages of World War 2, a hotelier visited Sweden where he was introduced to the concept of Smörgåsbord. He was so taken with the idea that he decided to implement it at his hotel in Japan when he got back. As “Smörgåsbord” was pretty tough for Japanese (and indeed most of us non-Swedish) to pronounce, they decided to call it Viking (lunch or dinner) as they associated Sweden with the Vikings of old.
Over at InterContinental Kuala Lumpur, the Japanese Viking (buffet) at Tatsu Japanese Cuisine is an all-you-can-eat feast of flavours with made-to-order authentic Japanese dishes, as well as items from the sushi bar like appetisers, salad, sashimi, sushi, temaki sushi rolls, miso soup, and fresh fruits.
The concept of this Japanese Viking is simple – help yourself to the items from the sushi bar, or order a la carte items (which will be cooked a la minute) from the waiters. You can opt to just eat sushi and sashimi if you wish, or ignore them altogether and just go for the cooked items. The choice is yours!
Leading the culinary team at Tatsu Japanese Cuisine is Japanese Head Chef Tommy who has a career that spanned over two decades, where he rose through the ranks and gained culinary experiences in Japanese cuisine, which he brought to Tatsu Japanese Cuisine at InterContinental Kuala Lumpur.
Japanese cuisine is all about precision and meticulous refinement. Chef Tommy devoted himself to learning how to use the knives needed to prepare and fillet many different species of fish. He loves using seasonal fresh fish and ingredients in his menu to prepare a feast of fresh Japanese seafood with both subtle and bold flavours.
He believes that talent is made, not born. “To be successful, it takes years of rigorous training and holding a strong passion for what you do”, he said. “As a good chef, I always believe that it takes lifelong learning no matter if you are the head chef or a commis. I like to be hands on and my favourite place to be is in the Japanese kitchen. I want to do this for as long as I am able to, physically,” said Chef Tommy.
One of his favourite dishes to prepare is Taragai, a Japanese pen shell (giant razor clam). This outstanding dish combines a mixture of salty, sweet, fresh, with amazing textural qualities of both a scallop (sweetness) and a clam (texture). With Chef Tommy now at the helm of the Tatsu kitchen, diners can expect a distinctive menu of authentic Japanese cuisine, offering seasonal produce, fresh seafood flown in twice weekly from Japan, and featuring the finest wagyu beef cuts from different prefectures of Japan.
Recommended dishes (by the restaurant and which we do agree) include the Tempura Moriawase, Unagi Kabayaki, Angus Beef Teppanyaki and Salmon Teriyaki. The Japanese Viking (buffet) also offers diners a variety of Japanese appetisers, noodles, miso soup and desserts. Appetisers include Chuka Wakame, Kiriboshi Daikon, Kani Mayo Sarada and many more. As for noodles, there are Udon, Soba and Yaki Udon.
Besides that, you can opt to add on (for an additional charge of course) some premium items to your meal like the Fresh Boston Lobsters, Wagyu or Tomahawk Steak at a promotional price. You can also order desserts like mochi, ice cream (our fav was the matcha flavour which was house-made and had a nice matcha intensity to it), and Red Bean Soup to end your meal on a sweet note.
The Japanese Viking (buffet) at Tatsu Japanese Cuisine is available for lunch and dinner on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) priced at RM148 per adult and RM74 per child, available on the weekends for lunch and dinner. (Insider tip – there are lots of credit card promotions which give you discounts of up to 20%!)
Tatsu is located at level 1 of InterContinental Kuala Lumpur and is among the premium Japanese restaurants in Kuala Lumpur. Deriving its name from the word “Tatsu-jin” meaning master or expert, Tatsu combines a subtle blend of Japanese aesthetics with contemporary yet minimalist design – with emphasis on dark timber woods with sea cobalt blue and white colour streams, and walls of sake bottles and sake cups and contemporary wooden chairs and tables.
The restaurant has a seating capacity of 147 seats, and offers five choices of dining seating styles from the sushi bar, a teppanyaki room, private dining rooms, public dining area to a cozy lounge dining area. For sake and wine connoisseurs, there is a private sake bar surrounded with floor to ceiling glass windows that offers a view of the hotel’s landscaped garden and cascading waterfall. The bar serves more than 20 types of sake, shochu and wines whilst Tatsu’s Sushi Bar serves fresh seafood flown in twice a week from Japan, with hand-grated fresh wasabi. The dedicated teppanyaki counter serves Australian wagyu tenderloin, whole live lobster and the pacific black cod.
Tatsu Japanese Restaurant is located at:
165, Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur,
Website: http://kualalumpur.intercontinental. com/dining
Operation Hours: Open for seven days a week, the restaurant serves lunch from 11:30am to 2:30pm and dinner from 6:30pm to 10:30pm.