My definition of a “good night out” involves a bit of good food and a couple of drinks, if the option is available. Butaya Izakaya in Sri Hartamas has been on my food radar for quite some time, but it requires advance reservation to secure a table.
This izakaya screams all things Japanese, except for the staff and customers. Kushiyaki is a popular item here – most people order this to go with their beer or sake. Sapporo beer is served, to my delight. The beer here is fresh too so each sip is crisp and refreshing.
Ordering is done via the tablet attached on each table. So scroll through and pick what you like, place your order and the kitchen will prepare it for you. I find this dangerous because one can easily go overboard with this concept. I sure did.
I find the food reasonably priced – a yakitori or kushiyaki skewer is priced from RM4 onwards. Definitely value for money since portion is fair. The skewered items aren’t overly salty so it’s great for those who want less sodium in their food. I reckon the salt overload is a Japanese thing, as it does crisp up the meats nicely over the grill.
Because there’s less salt, the meats at Butaya Izakaya aren’t as crisp on the outside as I like them to be. Still forgivable, because the meats are still tasty enough without leaving you parched from all the sodium. My favourites are the pork belly (RM4 per stick) and chicken thigh (RM4 per stick).
The chicken skin definitely needs more salt and time on the grill as it’s not as crispy as should be. I also feel the chicken wings (RM4 per stick) needs a bit of salt as the centre is a tad bland compared to the edges.
Go the pork karaage (RM14) as it’s great when paired with beer. The meat is nicely seasoned so it’s flavourful and juicy from the rendered fat. I also like the chicken nanban, essentially fried chicken with Japanese tartar sauce.
The Gyoza (RM14) is done the way I like – held together by a thin flour crepe. You get tasty bits of pan-fried batter around the dumpling, which (depending on who makes it) is caramelised from the juice of the filling.
Like any Sapporo-style izakaya, the Teriyaki Pork Don (RM24) is an essential fixture in the menu. And it’s also an item I cannot resist ordering, so I did. And it was pretty good. Of course, I still prefer the pork don from Senya Izakaya because the meat seasoning has more depth and sweetness, but this is a decent enough version.
I should have ordered a miso butter ramen since this is a Sapporo-style izakaya, but I got carried away and clicked on the Tonkotsu Ramen (RM22) button instead. Not the tonkotsu ramen I was expecting because this one has a spicy/tangy note. It was alright but not something I’d order again.
In a nutshell, I think Butaya Izakaya is worth checking out if you’re looking for a place for fresh beer with decent kushiyaki and yakitori. It’s best to call ahead to book your table.
Food: 6.5/10 (non-halal)
Verdict: Affordable grilled skewers and Sapporo specialties.
14, Jalan Sri Hartamas 8,
Taman Sri Hartamas,
50480 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2389 4172
Business hours: 5pm till 12pm