I tend to notice the smoky ambiance first, whenever I step into a Korean barbeque restaurant. Despite the rows of exhaust fans on top, you always end up smelling like barbecued meat when you leave. Surely many of you agree. ;)
When I heard Gyu-Kaku – a popular Japanese BBQ chain – in Publika offers diners a sizzling good experience minus the smoke, I was intrigued. Each table comes with a smokeless roaster and down-draft system, so the smoke from the grill is sucked into the underground duct.
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ Restaurant serves halal-certified dishes and the menu includes a fine selection of wagyu beef, seafood, poultry and lamb. It was almost a full house when I was there, with diners tucking into their food and delicious sizzles from the meats on hot charcoal grill.
I tucked into appetizers of pickled namuru, chicken karaage, shrimp gyoza and a warm horenso salad. And they gave me some sake to sample so that made dinner more fun. The light nibbles were a good start to dinner – I particularly liked the namuru and warm horenso salad; the latter was tossed with a light and aromatic goma sauce, topped with crispy garlic chips.
Bibs are provided and if you’re a messy eater, I suggest you make good use of it. The beef tongue (RM21.90) didn’t sound very appealing but boy, did it taste good! We ordered another portion of this because it was that delicious. It was fatty and succulent at the same time.
Other meats we had were the karubi, marinated karubi with shabu dressing, tenderloin and rump cap, all part of the Fuku Set. I also tried Gyu-Kaku’s wagyu selection — the wagyu karubi, wagyu rump cap and wagyu tenderloin. Good stuff.
The short ribs were good stuff – both the marinated and non-marinated version. You get a range of dipping sauces to go with the meats, but I prefer eating mine without. The wagyu karubi and rump cap were tasty from the fat and meltingly tender with a smoky flavour from the grill. I could eat many servings of these. :)
As this is a DIY concept, you get control of the doneness of your meat; I like mine medium rare so I only sear both sides for 3-4 seconds. The wagyu tenderloin boasts a marble score 7; juicy, tender and tasty from the marbling.
If you want carbs, order the garlic fried rice. That said, I found it just alright so only order this if you’re still hungry after all the meat.
Gyu-Kaku offers a selection of soups, mostly miso based ones. The tofu chige soup caught my fancy (even though it’s Korean, not Japanese) and it was adequately spicy and sour, which generous chunks of chicken – enough to keep me satisfied.
Deep fried red bean with banana (RM9.90) came in the form of a spring roll with chocolate drizzles – my favourite dessert that night. Also noteworthy was the milk pudding (RM9.90), topped with soy bean powder and Japanese brown sugar syrup. This was light, creamy and aromatic from the caramelised sugar.
Alternatively, diners can opt to go for something more straightforward – ice cream (RM8.90 for two scoops). I tried the green tea, topped with red bean. After two hours or so at Gyu-Kaku, I walked out very satisfied and not smelling like grilled meat. Yay for that!
- Like my Facebook page here.
Food: 7/10 (pork free)
Verdict: The meats were reasonably priced and of good quality.
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ Restaurant, Publika
Block D3-Level G3-Unit 3,
Tel: 03-6211 5446