“Do you think dating me makes you gain weight?” I said to rif cheekily.
“It does! Your food adventures make me fat.” he chuckled.
This conversation came up when we were stuck in a jam, on the way to town. My random question stemmed from a recent encounter with a couple. One was a vegetarian, and the other, a meat lover. To please his girl, the meat-lover became a vegetarian, and lost a bulk of his weight along the way. I’m glad rif is adventurous when it comes to food. Like me, he eats almost anything.
We went for a Japanese dinner that night, atBenkay Japanese Restaurant in Hotel Nikko. The decor boasts a combination of modern and traditional Japanese influence, giving diners a calm yet warm feeling. Assorted sashimi (RM85) was first brought to the table. This platter comprised salmon, yellowtail, sea beam and tuna belly on a bed of shaved ice. Presentation was lovely, but what impressed me was the freshness of the fish slices. The tuna belly was smooth and fatty, that it almost melted in my mouth. Salmon, yellowtail and sea beam were also fresh and a delight to eat. Fishes are flown in from Japan every Tuesday and Friday, so it’s best to do on those days to get the freshest cut. The smoked wild duck (RM22), rimmed with luscious fat had a deep flavour and was deliciously tender. One of the best smoked duck I’ve tasted, I reckon. The smoky flavour did not overpower the flavour of the duck. rif and I loved the Thin Slice Yellow Tail with Chilli Padi and Wasabi Sauce (RM48). The sweetness of the fish and crunchiness of the roe paired well with the spicy chilli padi, and the mild wasabi sauce gave it a tingling aftertaste. Thumbs up! My eyes gleamed in excitement when I saw the pan fried foie gras steak with simmered winter melon (RM36) — the slice of foie gras was almost half the size of my palm! The foie gras had a nicely burnish crust and was perfectly cooked inside. I liked the clever combination of the liver with winter melon, for textural contrast and complementing flavours. Dragon Roll (RM35) packed a whole lot of ingredients. It’s best to eat it immediately, to prevent the filling from turning soggy. I really enjoyed this.Fried camembert cheese (RM16) had a crispy batter coating, while remaining soft on the inside. Slightly pungent and very moreish, this one. If only the portion was bigger… Yaki udon (RM38) comprised Japanese wheat noodles fried with tender seafood and crunchy vegetables.The noodles had a nice, slightly resistant texture, and the chef was very generous with the bonito flakes. Simple, yet tasty. We capped of our meal with the sweet red bean with rice powder dumpling (RM15). This tasted weird to me – the rice dumpling was extremely chewy and the red bean was much too sweet for my liking. rif didn’t like this either.
On a whole, I enjoyed my dinner very much. Kudos to Master Chef Tetsuya Yanagida (formerly from Zipangu Japanese Restaurant), for preparing such a lovely meal! And thank you Rhianna from Nikko Hotel, for extending the invite to us.
Food: 7/10 (pork-free)
Verdict: Pretty good Japanese food with a clever combination of flavours and textures.
Benkay Japanese Restaurant
Hotel Nikko Kuala Lumpur
165 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur