Friday, 2 February 2018

The Fish Bowl @ Pavilion

The 1st Premium Poke speciality shop to open in Malaysia, The Fish Bowl opened in mid-2016 in Bandar Sunway.  I first read about it from eatdrinkkl and remembered liking the fresh look of these Hawaiian-inspired raw seafood salads but just never got round to trying it.

Fast forward 1 1/2 years later and bringing its poke bowl craze to KL, they have expanded to my favourite mall in September 2017The Fish Bowl @ Pavilionis their third outlet and the first in KL.  You can also find The Fish Bowl in One Utama, Plaza Arkadia and soon in Sunway Velocity (and maybe KL Eco City and Mont Kiara too).

Their outlet in Pavilion is opened as a kiosk, so seating is limited to just a few tables.  It's more convenient for takeaways to cater to hoards of office workers and shoppers on the go here.

Ordering is pretty easy.  Just grab one of these leaflets to create your own poke...and follow the instructions step by step (just like New Kids on the Block...Step 1: We can have lots of fun....Step 2: There's so much we can do...Step 3....ok, ok, not quite like that but you get the picture...kikiki!) :D 

Step 1 - Pick Your Base (from White Rice, Pesto Rice to Brown Rice or Quinoa & Baby Greens for the more health-conscious)

Step 2 - Pick 2 Sauces (Lime Aioli, Herby Lime, Gar-Gar or Garlic Sauce, Teriyaki, Sesame Miso and, for those who like it spicy, Baby-Racha & Monster-Racha)

Step 3 - Pick 4 Sides (from 15 choices of vegetables, fruits & nuts)

Step 4 - Add-on Premium Sides (like avocado, guacamole, poached egg, salmon skin, coconut salmon flakes & parmesan crisps)

Step 5 - Pick Your Unlimited Toppings (from at least 13 toppings comprising of seeds, crisps & flakes)

Step 6 - Pick Your Protein (a choice of salmon, tuna, chicken, shrimp & tofu or more premium ingredients of soft shell crab & unagi)

Right off the bat, I noticed that no prices were stated on the order sheet other than the prices for extra scoops of protein, rice and sides and the premium add-ons.  When I enquired, the cashier just rattled away all the prices.  I'd much rather they just list the prices next to the proteins so that we'll know the base price upfront for easier decision on our part.  I guess it's easier to change prices if they weren't printed on the order sheets! >_<  

And because of that, we went 'overboard' with our first poke bowl coz we didn't know the base price of the protein we chose initially.  We chose a Premium Poke Bowl @ RM45 with Unagi (RM37) and added Shoyu Salmon (RM8).  We also picked a premium add on of Salmon Skin (RM2.90) and decided to Upsize it (RM8).  In the end, we felt that more than RM50 for a smallish poke bowl was just too much to pay.  So, we dialled it back a little and settled on just unagi and salmon.

I have to say the unagi portion was justified for the price we paid.  And, best of all, it's of a decent quality and tasted really good. ^.^

The shoyu salmon, reputedly their best selling item, was also fresh and delicious.  Our choice of teriyaki and gar-gar sauce went pretty well with the rice and toppings.

For our next poke bowl, we went with one of their pre-selected combinations which is great for those in a hurry or don't know what combinations to pick.  Again, no prices were listed on the order chit.

We chose the Zesty Bowl @ RM19 with Kaffir Lime Salmon as the protein.  Remember to take a photo first when it's all still pretty coz you'll need to dig in with your spoon and mixed it all up for a well balanced bite (as the sauce appears to be drizzled at the bottom).  I'm not so sure if I like the gar-gar sauce all that much though.

I actually prefer this fresh and tangy-tasting salmon to the shoyu-flavoured one...and the salmon also looks better visually...still vibrantly orange! ^_^  What can I say...I like to eat with my eyes.

Probably the only things I didn't like were the toppings of fried shallots that tasted like any store-bought shallots without the freshly fried fragrance.  The other would be the pickled radish which I originally thought would be freshly pickled radish but these yellow ones taste like those preserved pickled vegetables instead.

I also didn't like the almonds which didn't have that fresh nutty fragrance, tasted a bit past its prime actually.  Note to self: Skip the nuts, pickled radish and fried shallots for future bowls.  I think I'll stick to the fresher Japanese-type toppings that taste better.

The second time we were there, we had just the Salmon Shoyu @ RM19 without the premium unagi...and the premium price....hihihi! ;D  This time we got our poke bowl served in a proper ceramic bowl (instead of a paper bowl the last time) even though we dined in both times.

I prefer to eat from an actual bowl as they use one with a wide circumference and the toppings are properly laid out and better segregated around the protein.  For those who prefer a savoury twist to their salmon, shoyu is your best bet shown here with sides of Japanese cucumber, carrots, corn and mangoes and toppings of fried shallots, garlic chips, seaweed flakes and furikake with teriyaki and gar-gar sauce.

Previously, the paper bowl was much smaller and deeper, so the sides and toppings tend to get piled on top of one another.  Also, it's more difficult to eat out of a deeper bowl.

So, I was glad to see (on my second visit) that they had come up with a new paper bowl that's wider and shallower that made it easier to get at the food.

I wanted to try something spicy for my next bowl and went with the Spicy Sriracha Salmon @ RM19 with a premium add-on of Salmon Skin @ RM2.90.  This time I stuck with Japanese toppings of sesame seeds, fried garlic chips, furikake and ebiko and sides of edamame, pineapples, mangoes and pickled ginger with just one sauce, herby lime.

The salmon skin was irreproachably crispy but bland tasting.  It was screaming for some salt and if it had been seasoned, the savouriness of it would have made the crispy skin so much better.

As for the salmon with spicy sriracha sauce, it wasn't all that spicy but, having said that, I thought the sauce overpowered the delicate taste of the fresh salmon.  I think I'd much rather have a lighter sauce that let me taste the salmon.

With more poke bowls I tried, I'm beginning to eliminate what I do not want as my choice of sides and toppings.  Besides the earlier three, I'd have to include mangoes in the list coz it wasn't the soft, ripe, sweet mangoes I thought I'd be getting but the green, unripened, sourish ones instead.  I'll probably omit the fried garlic chips too coz I thought they'd resemble those crispy garlic slices we get when we eat teppanyaki and not these that look like fried minced garlic...kekeke! ^_~

My Personal Opinion

The proteins were fresh and the taste commendable.  It's a quick and healthy bowl of food for people on the go.  I just wish they had a bigger dine-in space than just the four-or-so tables.

The only drawback would probably be the portion size...which is good for a small to medium eater.  Big eaters will need two bowls or perhaps an upsized one could be sufficient.

Looks like this will be a regular pit-stop for me when I'm seeking a light meal, so I'll certainly be back to try more proteins (like Soft Shell Crab or Shrimp) and sauces (like Baby-Racha or even Monster-Racha)! ^o^

The Fish Bowl
Lot No. P1.04.00 Level 1
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur


  1. I'm always happy to discover new spots in Pavilion.

  2. Aha! This is a new trend of eating now... I have been passing this popular outlet at One-U which enjoyed full house always yet I never tried. Looks like you have successfully lured me there besides teaching me how to order and what nots! I also love brightly orange salmon and eat with my eyes like you! This is a joke to me that I could easily be influenced by good foodie bloggers like you, Mun & Ah Hong Chee! Hee-Hee! I think I would be going to "2nd Floor" very soon too!

    1. But that's what food blogs are supposed to do. If I can convince...and lure you there to try the food, I consider my post a success...hihihi! ;D

  3. One of my go-to uberEATS order!

  4. Ah yes! I have tried the one at 1-Utama and I love it! I could actually eat this poke bowl everyday and won't get sick of it. If only there were an outlet at The Staring hee...hee..

    1. Maybe there'll expand to The Starling one day :)

  5. wow, i didn't realise they've been spreading so widely in the klang valley, but happy for them! :) i wonder if poke bowls will have longevity in kl ... like, will we still see poke bowls in kl in 2038? :)

    1. Hmmm, 20 years from now...your guess is as good as mine! ;) I'm waiting for them to open in Sunway Velocity.

  6. With so many (too many actually =.=") options of ingredients, I'll most probably end up top my protein with pile of ingredients becuase I'm type of easily lost control when comes to ingredients choosing (aka greedy) LOL

    1. Yeah, when you're allowed unlimited toppings, it's going to be difficult to resist not ticking everything! :D


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