I didn’t know what to expect when I stepped into Harumi 23 in Desa ParkCity – a Japanese restaurant & cafe with strong focus on modern Tokyo cuisine. The eatery is named after the 23 districts in Tokyo and aims to introduce some of the city’s best cuisine to us Malaysians.
Despite Plaza Arkadia being relatively new in the area, Harumi 23 was packed when I was there on a Saturday; to a point even the alfresco tables were occupied. We started with the Harumi Dobin Mushi (RM15), a light yet flavourful seafood broth that is traditionally served with lime. I like it without.
Mentai Tamago (RM10) may look simple, but it’s good stuff. You get layers of egg omelette in mentai (pollock roe with mayo), grilled till the sides are browned and the mentai, aromatic. This is very addictive – to a point I wanted steamed white rice to go with it. The rice at Harumi 23 is a top-grade Koshi Hikari, imported from Japan to ensure good quality and flavour.
Prices are reasonable, I feel. The Sashimi Moriawase (RM238) comes with sumptuous slices of otoro (tuna belly – prime cut), nama hotate (Hokkaido scallops), kampachi (yellow tail), salmon belly, salmon, ikura (salmon roe) and botan ebi (sweet shrimp). For the pricetag, portion was generous and enough for 2-3 pax. Harumi 23 gets their sashimi air-flown from Tsukiji Market twice a week, so the availability of items depends on their haul for the week.
Grilled items (kushiyaki) are popular at this restaurant – we tried the Butakushi (RM5 per stick), a skewer of pork belly and leek, grilled till juicy and tender. I also liked the Hotato Bacon (RM12 per stick) where Hokkaido Scallops are wrapped in bacon; you get savoury notes from the bacon and a creamy sweetness from the scallops.
I’m generally sceptical about grilled salmon because it often gets overcooked to a point the fish becomes hard and dry. That said, the grilled salmon belly (RM22) at Harumi 23 was cooked just right so the fish remained tender and the fat, buttery. I reckon it also has to do with the cut of fish, so always ask for salmon belly if you like it more tender.
The Crispy Sushi Roll (RM28) is worth checking out too. I liked how they combined grilled salmon and pollock roll as the centre, and the entire rice roll is battered and deep-fried so you get a nice crispy exterior and a moist centre. A dash of wasabi and shoyu is all it needs to take things up a notch. Prawn lovers would love the Mentai King Prawn (RM28) but Jien and I found it slightly overcooked.
For RM18, the Tempura Moriawase is good value for money. You get two large shrimps along with an assortment of vegetables, all batter-fried till the exterior is crisp and wispy. I spotted a lot of patrons having the Mentaiko Spaghetti (RM18) and despite feeling quite stuffed, we still went ahead with that order. No regrets, as this Japanese pasta was delicious.
That said, it can be an acquired taste for some as not everyone likes their pasta base laced with roe. Both Jien and I love our pasta rich so this was right up our alley. We also liked how they made the spaghetti al dente so you get a nice bite in each mouthful.
Shibuya Honey Toast isn’t quite my thing as I find them overly sweet and “bread-y”, but the one from Harumi 23 (RM12.90) was surprisingly pleasant to eat. The honey toast had plenty of butter so you get enough flavour in each bite – I wouldn’t mind having this again.
The blueberry cheesecake kakigori (RM23.90) is great for sharing as portion is large enough for 2-3 pax. This makes a good end to your meal as it’s light yet refreshing.
On a whole, I enjoyed my experience at Harumi 23. Portions are good and prices are reasonable. I’m definitely revisiting them when I’m in the area. Set lunches are really popular here so maybe I’ll give those a shot next, along with the mentai tamago! ;)
Verdict: Good food, reasonable prices. My favourites include the mentai tamago and crispy sushi roll.
F-G-2, Plaza Arkadia,
52200 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2710 9263
Business hours: 11am till 11pm