Thursday, 15 October 2015

Shinjiro @ Tropicana City Mall

I've been craving for a 'meal on a stick' for quite a while now....and I don't mean 'satay'! :D  After checking out a few of such places from online food blogs, I settled on the newly opened (less than 2 months old) Shinjiro Izakaya Yakitori @ Tropicana City Mall.

There seems to be a common trend of what looks like patterned waves and clouds showcased throughout the restaurant's decor.  You can find it on the walls, ceiling and floor. 

Interesting boards adorned one side of the wall depicting the 'Land of the Rising Sun' with its characteristic pagodas and bridges (and I've seen these boards change to a different picture and look in other blogs).  The aptly designed tables revealed a compartment underneath the table top where you'd find the menu and order chits.

As you step into the restaurant, you'll be greeted with a glass enclosure where all the grilling action, over a charcoal flame, takes place.  This ensures you won't leave the place smelling of yakitori! ;)  Look, he even managed a smile for me when I snapped the photo.

As the name implies, it's a casual place for after work drinks and small bites, basically food on a stick, although they do offer rice bowls and noodles too for a more fulfilling meal.  If you're not familiar with the individual skewers, you can opt for the Skewer Sets with predetermined skewers that include some of their more popular ones.  I didn't go for that as I wanted to pick my own selection of favourites.

After making our orders, this bowl of complimentary Edamame landed on our table.  I liked that these green soybeans came lightly sprinkled with salt.  This was served chilled (unlike other places where it's usually served at room temperature), so expect a little bit of water condensation at the bottom of the bowl.

Then, came the onslaught of skewers one after another.  The skewers come with 7 types of sauces...sweet and sour, chilli, garlic chilli, salsa, teriyaki, sesame pistachio and shio (sea salt and pepper).  You can choose your own sauces if you have a preference, otherwise leave it in the able hands of the chef to pair each one with his recommended sauce.

First up, from the Seafood Section, you have a choice of Salmon, Fillet Mackerel, whole Pacific Saury, Tuna, Shrimp, Scallop, Squid, Squid Tentacles and Pregnant Fish.

The Salmon @ RM8.90 was cooked just right, with a pink centre, for a fresh and tender bite.  Simply divine!

The Shrimp @ RM8.90, you can taste the smoky flavour when you suck on the shrimp head and shells.

If you're wondering why there aren't any Squid Tentacles in my blog post, it wasn't because I didn't order, it was because there weren't any left! T_T

From the Beef Section, there's Sirloin, Fillet + Enoki, Fillet + Asparagus, Minced Beef Ball, Tripe, Liver and Lungs on offer in the menu.

I went with the Sirloin @ RM8.90 which was absolutely tender and juicy with just a bit of seasoning to bring out its full flavour.

The meat was cooked to medium judging by the pinkish centre.  The Sirloin turned out to be one of my top have to order this, it was outstanding!

We tried the Minced Beef Balls @ RM6.90 made up of three succulent meat balls on a stick sitting on teriyaki sauce for a nice balance of savoury and sweet.  This was equally decent and would have been better if they hadn't been too heavy handed with the pepper.

From the Poultry Section, you have a wide selection of Thigh + Leeks, Thigh Teriyaki, Breast Fillet, Chicken Nugget, Wings, Skin, Gizzard, Liver, Heart, Back End (eww), Duck Breast and Quail Eggs.

The Chicken Wings @ RM6.90 gets you two pieces of the wingette, butterflied and grilled to perfection.  They managed to get the skin so crispy while the meat remained tender.  It was so, so good that we immediately ordered a second serving.

The wings, seasoned with just shio, were perfectly seasoned (though some may find it to be over salted but I think not) with a smoky, fragrant and crisp skin....hands down the best skewer of the night for me!

The Chicken Skin @ RM4.90 was downright crunchy and immensely fragrant.  This took the longest time to arrive and was the last skewer to be served.  One bite...and we knew we wanted more!  Who can resist sticks of crispy chicken skin, right?

The server told us that it would be at least a 20 minutes, we ordered two more sticks (and it was worth the wait).  If you want to try this, make sure you order enough the first time round, so that you don't have to wait for your re-orders ;)

Of course, whenever I see quail eggs on the menu, they call out to me.  This is the Quail Eggs @ RM4.90...cute and delicious as always!

As usual, we should round off our meal with some compulsory vegetables for a bit of balance.  Under the Vegetables Section, you have Mushrooms, Sweet Potato, Sweet Corn, Okra, Leek, Tomato and Crispy Tofu.

We chose the Sweet Potato @ RM5.90 and, when it arrived, it was unlike those with a deep orange flesh that we're more used to as these are Japanese sweet potatoes which have a purplish (or reddish) skin with white flesh which turns golden (yellow) when cooked.  They were served with a bit of melted butter (maybe I'll ask them to omit the butter the next time) and were sweet and just soft enough....I liked them...heaps!

We also ordered Okra @ RM3.90 which came charred and nicely soft.  It was simple but appetising.

Next was the Crispy Tofu @ RM3.90...I'm sorry but this qualified as vegetables since it's listed in the vegetables section! :p  It featured three cubes of totally crispy tofu served with bonito flakes and teriyaki sauce. 

I noticed that most of the skewers came with either shio or teriyaki, no complaints there as I liked most of them with just shio (and not drowning in sauce) to let the food speak for itself.  Anyway, you can't go wrong with shio and teriyaki, two of the more popular flavourings.  It was an interesting sight to see the chef season his skewers...he sprinkles the shio onto his skewers from a distance. 

And if you find an oddly shaped ceramic vase on the table (with no flowers), that's because it's meant as a vessel for your discarded/used handy :)

Besides just having skewers of awesomeness (which I don't mind at all), we also ordered the Mix Tempura @ RM18.90 to try.  The tempura mix consisted of two pieces of prawn, squid and sweet potato each.  This tempura was different from the usual tempura batter as it was coated in crushed bean curd pieces before being deep fried that offered a super crunchy texture to the tempura.  Great eaten with the sesame pistachio sauce to give it a bit of saltiness.  Anything crunchy always get our seal of approval!

For our last fulfilling dish, we went with a bowl of Unagi Rice @ RM28.90.  What came threw us off a bit as we were expecting just unagi and rice (like all the usual ones we've had) but this one was made with egg and lots of vegetables (broccoli, lotus root, cauliflower, red and green capsicum, mushrooms and onions).  Of course, there were unagi in it too but in tiny chunks.

There was quite a fair amount of gravy in this rice bowl, although flavourful, we found the pepper taste a bit too overpowering.  Also, we would have appreciated if the description of this dish was more detailed (to highlight the abundant vegetables) so that we could make a discerning choice if we wanted this version with vegetables.

Green Tea is @ RM3.90 and Water @ RM1.90 and both are refillable.

My Personal Opinion

It was a very good meal on a stick I've had in a long while.  I came off totally satisfied with my dining experience here.  Shinjiro is affiliated to Torii, also a yakitori specialist, but this one comes with a more acceptable price tag.

My top picks are......hmmm, it's difficult to narrow down my top picks coz I liked almost every skewer that I had but the few you shouldn't miss would be the sirloin, chicken wings, chicken skin and salmon...for now.....till I try all the other sticks as well ;)

The highlight at Shinjiro is definitely their skewers and that is what I'll stick to when I return (and I foresee myself returning again and again).  In fact, I'm so pleased with this 'meal on a stick', I'm on the hunt for more of such meals! ;D

Update:  I was told the restaurant has since closed (yet another one that didn't make it past its first year which I'm not sure why as I loved their skewers!)

Shinjiro Izakaya Yakitori
Lot G-06 Tropicana City Mall
3 Jalan SS20/27
47400 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7732 2986


  1. Hee hee... it's fun to think of what "food on a stick" means in different parts of the world - satay, bugs, country fare food. ;-)

    1. I think I'll pretty much like just about anything on a stick.....except bugs! ;D

  2. The last time I had yakitori was a long time ago in Singapore, some stall in some mall there. Thought it was very nice. Don't think I have had it since.

    Was at this mall many years ago, probably when it was first opened, nothing much there at the time, dunno now...but we did have a nice dinner at one place there at the time...

    1. Some of the Japanese restaurants you have over there do serve some form of yakitori, right?

  3. How is it possible to have a separate menu item for chicken skin?? I mean, do they even sell just the chicken skins raw? It has to come with the rest of the chicken, right? Won't they run out of skins to serve? I think it would be one of the most popular orders!

    1. I'm quite sure restaurants can source (and buy) chicken skin in bulk, just like any specific cuts of chicken they want. Except we can't get it in small quantities from the market, I suppose. Think of all the skinless chicken breasts you (and many others) buy, where did all the chicken skin go? Not wasted, I'm sure. In fact, you can even get fried chicken skin as a snack from pasar malam (my son loves it)! :D

  4. Oh! Japanese satay! hee..hee... Yes, I do like yakitori, if fact I love anything grilled. Having it on a stick makes it easy to eat. Quite a novelty I would say. I don't need any encouragement to order the chicken skin because that is my favorite part of the chicken! And I totally freak out on those people who remove the skin before cooking or eating chicken >.<

    1. Hi 5 to anything grilled, easy to eat on a stick and no encouragement needed to order chicken skin! :D Actually, I do remove chicken skin (when cooking) but that's because they're steamed, braised or in a soup coz I don't like soft wobbly skin....but not fried crispy skin, that I would totally freak out. Yeah, I know of such people too who would remove chicken skin from their KFC! >.<

  5. Does look pretty good! I want those beef!

    1. Yeah, those beef skewers were pretty awesome!

  6. I see all the freshly prepared piping hot skewers, I dare not eat for fear of sore throat. I have seen a yakitori bar in Viva mall but did not go in to eat. Since you love yakitori, have you eaten at Sumi-ka Yakitori at SS15 Subang Jaya? I read that it is good. Although your review here got me salivating especially at the salmon but I think I will give it a pass as I am not sure why I am not keen on yakitori.

    1. Yes, I know of this Sumi-ka (in fact, Sean of eatdrinkkl recommended it to me) and no, I've not eaten there. I did google this place but found out that it's a really small space with mostly bar-type seatings (very limited individual seats), the yakitori is done in the open (so, I envisage smelling like yakitori when I leave) and place is filled with lots of Japanese men smoking and drinking (I don't think I'd like that kind of environment). So, for these reasons, I chose not to go. If you're not keen on yakitori, they do have other stuff on their menu that you can try.

  7. yay! hmmm ... the unagi rice looks interesting ... totally topped with a lot of ingredients :) and are you sure the quail eggs were calling out to you? i think they were calling for ME! :D

    1. The unagi rice, unfortunately, had more vegetables than unagi. I think the quail eggs were calling out to us both! ;D

  8. This place definitely not my choice as I'll eat till bankrupt to fill up my stomach!

    1. Don't worry...won't bankrupt! I think 5 - 10 skewers will be quite sufficient for one person, so probably about RM70-80 will do.

  9. I always find these places so expensive.. wee morsel for like 6 bucks.. can eat satay for less.. hahaha.. Kidding. But yeah, we had tons of yakitori in tokyo.. funnily enough it seemed worthwhile spending there !hahaha #gofigure

    1. Yeah, initially it may seem pricey when you consider the price per stick, but after 5 - 10 sticks we start to get full....haha! :)


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