Thursday, 24 November 2016

The Kobe Grand @ Jalan Ampang

I've been wanting to try kobe beef for the longest time (and a special occasion was just the excuse I needed) but I still had to muster enough 'courage' to do it.  Ok, I can feel some of you rolling your eyes already...what courage?  It's not like she had to eat bugs or something nasty like that.  Well, my definition of 'courage' here simply meant I had to summon enough courage to PAY for it! :D

I was contemplating between Torii (I've seen many recent reviews praising their Kobe beef to the skies) and this place...and finally decided on The Kobe Grand @ Jalan Ampang because of it's closer proximity to where we stay + I thought if they named it Kobe, that must be their speciality.  And the recent change of name from The Kobe to The Kobe Grand means they better bring I'm allowed to have great expectations! ^_*

Right after we placed our orders and our drinks arrived, we were each given a complimentary chawanmushi. It was just a plain egg custard but something to warm our tummies while we wait for our food.

Our first order of the evening was the Kiri Kiri Kara Maki @ RM26.90 which featured enoki mushroom tempura rice roll topped with spicy minced salmon.  [#P/S: I'm not sure why I was charged RM26.90 when the menu price was stated as RM24.90.  I only realised when I was writing this post (and checked against the receipt).]

The enoki mushroom taste wasn't apparent as I tasted more of the crispy tempura bits.  Presentation could be better (the last piece actually fell down) and the sushi rice could be a bit more compact.

The Salmon Ikura Don @ RM38.90 of vinegared rice topped with salmon sashimi and ikura (salmon roe) was served with two pieces of tamago (Japanese rolled omelette) together with pickled ginger and wasabi in the bowl (which I didn't appreciate).  I would have preferred the ginger and wasabi to be served separately (coz not everyone likes wasabi).

The salmon was fresh with a nice marbling but was presented thinly sliced and in a larger piece here (I personally prefer them to be a thicker cut).  The ikura was nice and juicy but not quite bursting with juices like some I've had before.

We also had an order of Garlic Fried Rice @ RM9.90 which arrived topped with some crispy garlic chips and chopped spring onions.  I was pleased with the portion, taste and texture of this fried rice...nicely done :)

Of course, I came here for one intention and one intention only....and that was to try the Kobe beef!  Looking at the menu, I saw that it was priced @ RM238.90/100g and they do it in three ways (teppanyaki, stone grilled or garlic butter grilled).  I chose teppanyaki and what happened next wasn't what I expected.  The waitress then said that I have a choice of two sizes...either 150g or 160g! @_@  Now why didn't they put that in the menu in the first place by stating that a minimum order of 150g is required (I would have preferred to know that upfront, don't you?  Coz we're paying a princely sum for it, it's not something cheap, you know).  By then, it was too late, you've already made an order and it'd be too embarrassing to back out.  I also question as to why the other size is 160g coz it makes no sense as just 10g more is negligible (can you actually cut a piece of meat from the same block of beef that's just 10g more?  I highly doubt it.)  It was like they insincerely offered you two sizes to choose from but actually just wanted you to order a minimum 150g...that's how it looked to me.

It took a while for my Kobe beef to be served and the waitress came bearing this...something for you while you wait, she said.  Seriously?  It was three sticks of cucumber with miso paste! O_o  I think they can do better than three cheap sticks of cucumber, don't you agree?  They'd be better off not offering anything as it made me think more lowly of them.

Frustrations aside, my order of Kobe Beef (150g) @ RM358.35 finally arrived with some grilled vegetables and condiments of garlic chips, dried wakami seaweed (I think) and wasabi.

I was in for another rude shock.  I requested for my beef to be done medium rare and it didn't look like it was cooked to that doneness at all.  I immediately got the attention of a server and asked him, "Does that look like medium rare to you?"  Of course his answer would be yes.  When he realised I wasn't convinced, he asked if I'd like to speak to the chef.  Of course I would.  I told the chef that the beef is overcooked which he, of course, denied didn't admit.  At that point, I realised that it'd be pointless to continue with my stand.

I decided to flip over more pieces to confirm my suspicion....there, you be the judge.  Does that look like medium rare to you?  If you ask me, it's more like medium well! >:(  I wasn't so much as disappointed with the taste (I believe it was still a good quality piece of Kobe steak, tender with a fatty, well-marbled texture), I was more disappointed with the cooking of it.  I know it could have been so much better if it was executed to exactly how I preferred to eat it...after all, we paid freakin' close to RM360 for it! T_T

Not wanting to admit the beef was overcooked so that they don't have to replace it tells me that they're not looking to sustain a long term business in today's consumer-driven world.  They would rather not make a loss on this one case than to ensure they have a happy customer.  Well, you know what they say...a happy customer tells a friend, an unhappy customer tells the world (more so with the advent of social media these days)! XD

I often hear people describe Kobe as "the meat literally melts in your mouth"...but this was far from it! :'(  I'm not sure if I was pissed off already as it wasn't executed the way I wanted it, so I didn't quite get the "it's so awesome" feeling.

Just look at the streak of fat going down the side! O_o  Each time I put a piece of it in my mouth I could feel the lingering taste of oil in and around my mouth.

Even the side of grilled vegetables was not properly executed.  The onion and pumpkin (though soft) had a very oily feel to it, suffering from the fate of being cooked with too much butter.  The eryngii, on the other hand, wasn't soft enough rendering it chewy.  I practically left these untouched other than the cherry tomatoes that offered me a juicy respite and the much needed acidity to cut through all that oiliness and richness.

The waitress (who attended to our orders) came by (just as we were finishing our meal) to ask if we would like some ice cream (on the house) to which I politely declined as I told her we were too full already.  She also asked us how the meal was to which I told her that it was fine except that they overcooked the beef.  She still brought us the complimentary ice cream anyway (I don't know, maybe she felt apologetic on the execution of the beef).

When she brought the ice cream, the chef came over to say that the offer of ice cream is his way of apologising for the cooking of the beef.  I didn't think it was very sincere as it was an afterthought (he didn't realise that the waitress had already offered me the complimentary ice cream earlier)! >.<  Even so, vanilla ice cream?  Not even a house-made matcha or sesame ice cream?  For all I know, the vanilla ice cream could be store-bought! >:(  Again, I saw it as a misstep in service.

Our refreshing juices of Daidaiiro (orange-carrot-apple) @ RM13.90 and Aka (pineapple-apple-pen-watermelon) @ RM13.90 also.

I can see why they wouldn't want to refire another piece of beef for me as the whole time I was there, it was just us and another table (and the place has a large capacity).  Even the outdoor poolside seating was devoid of customers and part of it seems to have closed.  The grilled skewers are no longer on the menu and has been replaced by a Poolside DIY Teppanyaki.

My Personal Opinion

To say that my first taste of Kobe isn't all that I expected it to be would be an understatement.  

I've always heard of people saying that you haven't had the best beef if you haven't tried Kobe.  And so I tried it....and it didn't give me the "cinderella moment" know, the one with birds singing around it did when I had my first taste of foie gras and uni! ^o^

I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to have it again coz of the price factor + I fear that I may not actually like Kobe beef or if this first experience ruined it for me because of subpar cooking.

My next sentence will probably make die-hard Kobe lovers think I'm a nut case...but I'm going to go out on a limb and say it....I think I prefer good grade Wagyu over Kobe! ^.^  I think it's a case of Kobe beef being too intensely marbled for me (and the fat has a bit more of a chew and not as soft as Wagyu).

I'm not sure if the taste of Kobe wasn't as awesome as I had hoped because of the poor execution or that Kobe beef itself didn't suit my taste buds.  I'm not sure I'd want to try Kobe again for fear that I may end up paying my (or someone else's) hard-earned money for something that I actually don't enjoy.  But one thing I'm sure....if I do try Kobe beef again, it certainly won't be at Kobe Grand, Ampang...there was nothing grand about their Kobe beef! :P

The Kobe Grand
No 347 Jalan Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-4266 6262


  1. So sorry to read about your unpleasant experience, the beef definitely overcooked! Why the chef still offered you the complimentary ice cream since he didn't admit that he overcooked the beef at first?

    1. It was his way of apologising in the end for the cooking of the beef, I guess....short of admitting that it was overcooked. You'd agree that the beef was overdone too, right?

  2. You were each given a complimentary chawanmushi and ice cream that night. I think that would not pacify the fact that it was really over cooked. I am weird and prefers well done or burnt but I could tell that the chef had not done to your request. If the boss is a Japanese, I am sure he would oblige to give in and make a new one. I don't know what is the difference between Wagyu and Kobe beef. LOL

    1. Well, the easiest definition would be....all kobe are indeed wagyu but not all wagyu are kobe. Btw, the chef was Japanese!

      Luckily, you yourself say you're weird...preferring well done or burnt, then you don't need to eat good quality beef coz it'll be a waste of good money...hehe! ;D Actually, some places would even cook it to medium rare by default.

  3. Arrgghhh!!!! You paid RM358.35 for the beef and came away frustrated and disappointed. My heart is actually aching for you. The beef was obviously overcooked from your photos. Well, I doubt if you want to come back to The Kobe Grand. If you want to give Kobe beef a second chance, I hope you find a restaurant where the chef can cook it properly.

    1. That's my predicament right now. I don't know if I dare give kobe beef a second chance coz I'm not sure if it was the cooking that spoiled it for me or I personally just don't like the over-fattiness of the meat :'(

  4. Grrr! At that price, too. Sorry you didn't have good experience

    1. It was a waste of money....and stomach space for an underwhelming experience like that! T_T

  5. Looks like that place is not going to last too long if that's the average experience.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...