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Thursday, 18 September 2014

Sushi Zanmai @ Avenue K

Craving sushi for dinner one evening, we decided to try Sushi Zanmai which is another popular brand of "kaiten" (conveyor belt) sushi restaurants.  There're about 10 Sushi Zanmai outlets in Klang Valley and we decided to try the Sushi Zanmai @ Avenue K which has been opened for less than a year.

The d├ęcor here is more vibrant and modern and, although it's supposed to be a conveyor-sushi restaurant, it's not quite like Sakae Sushi where the conveyor belt goes round the entire restaurant.  Here, there are limited seats which the conveyor belt runs through but, fret not, the sushi can be ordered and served to your table.

Once we were seated, you'd find condiments of wasabi, Japanese shoyu, chilli powder and sweet sauce on the table ready for your dining pleasure.

Only missing condiment is the thinly sliced, pickled young ginger which you can request at no extra charge.  The ones here have a pale yellow colour as opposed to the slightly pink ones from Sakae Sushi.  [#Tip: It seems only very young ginger will develop the slight pink hue upon pickling and although some commercially produced ginger may be pink coloured, they may also be artificially induced.]  I did, however, find the ones at Sushi Zanmai more to my liking as I could eat more of them since they were a bit less tart and sharp.

As usual, I like to start off with the Chawanmushi @ RM4.80 but this was a tad watered down.  I preferred the one from Sakae Sushi because it was packed with a bit more quality ingredients (like the salmon roe).

Our next sushi orders were the Toro Salmon @ RM4.80 (on the left) and Smoked Salmon @ RM6.80 (on the right).  The salmon belly and smoked salmon were fresh and smoky in taste.

I also ordered the Mentaiko Zanmai @ RM15.80 which is an assortment of various types of sushi of scallop, cuttlefish, salmon, prawn, oyster and omelette topped with cod roe and nori flakes.  I think putting 6 different sushi on one plate is a really creative and clever idea...especially for people like me (and 'small eaters') who can now sample a variety instead of having to gobble down twice as much.  I highly recommend this dish if you're one who loves to taste a variety of sushi on one plate. 

These are the scallop and cuttlefish sushi which were fresh and delicious.  Again, you can't go wrong with anything that is topped with "mentaiko" (cod roe)...our absolute favourite!

And these are the salmon, prawn, oyster and omelette sushi which were absolutely yummy.  The roasted cod roe on top brought the awesome smoky flavour to the sushi.  This plate of assorted sushi turned out to be my favourite dish of the night.

At such a value-for-money price, we couldn't help but order another serving of Tamago Mentai @ RM2.80 although this one came with the cod roe roasted a tad less.

And, of course, we needed extra servings of Salmon Mentai @ RM6.80 which happens to be our absolute favourite but we didn't appreciate that the cod roe on this plate wasn't torched enough (again).  Lightly torched fresh salmon and smoky cod roe is the best combo ever!

After all the sushi orders, we opted for a dish of Hanasaki Ika Tempura @ RM9.80 which is marinated squid tempura.  Eaten with a squeeze of lemon, it was light and crispy...and just ok.

The other tempura dish was the Yasai Tempura @ RM6.80 which were assorted vegetables tempura served with some grated Japanese radish and tempura dipping.  The vegetables consisted of a slice/pc each of fresh shiitake mushroom, brinjal, green bell pepper, ladies finger, enoki mushrooms (and one more veg which I didn't get to taste as my son gobbled it up).  The vegetables were fried till crispy (though a tad oily) and were beautifully presented (especially the brinjal which was fan-shaped)...just compare this with the vegetable tempura from Sakae Sushi (and you'll know what I mean).

For our main dishes, my son settled for the Unadon @ RM22.80 (for S and RM38.80 for L) which is unagi (roasted eel) with rice.  

The unagi was good but the sauce (spooned over the rice) was not quite to my son's liking as he has had better.

I went with the Gindara Teriyaki @ RM19.80 (for my main) which was grilled cod fish with teriyaki sauce.  The skin was grilled till slightly crisp (could be a bit crispier in my opinion).

The teriyaki sauce on top of the cod was sweet and salty (though leaning more towards salty).  My suggestion is to scrape the sauce away from the fish skin but the sauce was needed to bring an umami flavour (and balance) to the sweet flesh of the cod.

I'm a 'sucker' for cod fish coz I just love it to death and this cod fish was no different...its sweet, succulent flesh is to die for!  A mouthful of this, which I would take in small bites just so that 'the experience' lasts longer :D, is "love at first bite" and every bite thereafter!

Iced Lemon Tea @ RM6
Iced or Hot Green Tea (Ocha) @ RM1 which is super value
(coz it comes with unlimited refills)

My Personal Opinion

This is a good mid-end sushi place at reasonable prices.  With the sushi prices starting from as low as RM1.80 - RM6.80, I wouldn't say that it's the cheapest sushi around although those at RM1.80 are probably the cheapest.  Be prepared to fork out an average of RM50 - RM75 per person for a meal here depending on what you order (cheaper if you stick with just sushi).

Both Sakae Sushi and Sushi Zanmai have their fair share of loyal patrons (and queues) with Sushi King (being the worst).  In direct comparison with Sakae Sushi, Sushi Zanmai's prices are almost similar but the ingredients are fresher, the food is better presented and most are better tasting for my palate (especially the sushi and tempura).

I don't know why I've not tried this place sooner.  I may have just found a sushi place that I liked more than Sakae Sushi ;) 

It's "oishii" (which means "delicious" in Japanese)!!

Sushi Zanmai
Lot M-19 Avenue K
156 Jalan Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2181 8810

2 comments:

  1. Of all chain kaiten (conveyor belt) Japanese eateries, I find Sushi Zanmai to be the best value for money and the sushi tastes good too. Next is Sakae Sushi. I have banned Sushi King after a bad experience eating there when the salmon on the salmon sushi does not taste like salmon at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Looks like we have the same opinion (and taste) when it comes to kaiten sushi.

      Delete

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