Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Momotalo Yakiniku @ Desa Sri Hartamas

Craving for some delicious and good quality grilled meats, Japanese yakiniku to be exact, my family headed out to Desa Sri Hartamas where the area is home to at least four yakiniku restaurants like Kannichikan (with pork), Momotalo (no pork), Gyukingu and, the newest kid on the block, Sin Nihon (mostly beef)...the latter two seem too premium for our budget.

We picked Momotalo Yakiniku @ Desa Sri Hartamas for our dinner venue (this place, I believe, has been around for more than 10 years?).  This yakiniku joint is quite simplistic in outlook and not very big with table seating on one side (about 5 tables-of-four) and tatami seating on the other (about 5 or 6 tables-of-six).

After our orders were made, these dishes arrived....kimchi, raw cabbage and pickled Japanese cucumber.  I initially thought these were complimentary side dishes but they were listed as Titbits @ RM3 on the receipt. RM3 is a negligible sum to pay but if you really don't want to eat these, I suppose you can tell them upfront. We enjoyed the crunchy cucumbers but none of us like kimchi.

Besides serving us these side dishes, the server also came round to mix up a dipping sauce for us.  Initially, I thought we had to choose our preferred dipping sauce since I saw five such sauces on the menu (but I guess that no longer applies).

First, he spooned some chopped garlic onto the sauce plate followed by their house-made miso paste, soy sauce and (finally) a dollop of chilli paste.  This sauce was harmoniously balanced with salty, garlicky and not-too-spicy flavours.

Mix everything together and the sauce was da bomb!  My husband had two plates and finished half of mine as well (since I prefer to taste the natural flavour of the meat. so I needed only a little dip).

We were also asked if we'd like to do the grilling ourselves or let them do it for us.  We opted for the latter as I reckon they'd be able to do a better job.  I also thought that the grilling would be done in the kitchen and the cooked dishes brought to us but apparently that wasn't the case.

The server would grill the meats at the table while you eat, so it was like having your own 'personal chef' at your table.  The server would also grill different meats at one time (three pieces of each at a time to be exact since there were three of us) so that we'd have a variety to eat at one go.  For those of you not used to having someone hovering around your table throughout the dinner (and prefer some privacy), then opt to do the grilling yourselves.

It's all about the yakiniku we started our dinner with this I-heard-so-much-about ox tongue and that if you haven't had it before, you should try it.  So, try we did.  Momotalo offers two types of ox tongue, one normal (RM20) and the other supreme (with a bit more marbling).

Supreme Ox Tongue @ RM28

Cooked Supreme Ox Tongue - firm, flavourful, absolutely scrumptious! ^o^

With a description that says tongue, I can see why many of us would be squeamish and shy away from ordering it but once I tasted it, I loved it...and so did my whole family.  It turned out to be my favourite meat that night...and we will not hesitate to order it again when we see it on the menu.

Sirloin @ RM28

The sirloin is cut thinly so it needs just mere seconds to cook.

Cooked Sirloin - tender and delicious.

Momotalo also offers two types of ox short ribs, the normal Harami Ox Short Ribs or Karubi Ox Short Ribs (Boneless or With Bone) go for RM28.  We chose the Supreme Harami Ox Short Ribs (Boneless) @ RM42 which is a more marbled cut.

These literally took only seconds to cook.  They were super yum :)  I'm glad I have my own 'personal chef' to do it for me.  Though our server speaks no English, he was always courteous and we understood his hand gestures perfectly...always gesturing us to eat.

Cooked Supreme Harami Ox Short Ribs (Boneless) - #OhSoYum!

After 3 orders of meat, it was time for some seafood.  The Seafood Combination @ RM39 is a good choice offering a bit of everything with 3 types of seafood.

The server used indirect heat to cook the shishamo (pregnant fish), so it took the longest time to cook. Maybe that's the best way to cook it...low and allow more smoky flavours to penetrate the fish?  I learned a few tips from him that I'll put to good use in future when I'm doing my own grilling! ;)

The serving came with only 4 - 5 pieces of cuttlefish.

Cooked Prawns & Shishamo - both were fresh, smoky and succulent.

Look at that charring on the prawns...and, even better, the server made it easier for us to eat by opening up the prawn shells (with his tongs) towards the end of the cooking! ^.^

The Cooked Cuttlefish had a slightly chewy texture.  Certainly not among my favourites that night.  A point to highlight is that they change the grilling mesh ever so often you won't find burned bits sticking to any of your meats or seafood.

I also couldn't resist ordering the Cuttlefish Heads @ RM17 when I saw it on the menu.

The server again chose to cook the fresh cuttlefish heads around the direct heat (so as not to overcook the heads and reduce chewiness?).  I'm glad I asked for the food to be cooked by expert hands as this allowed me to gain some valuable tips so I'd be better at grilling on my own the next time round.

The Cooked Cuttlefish Heads, finished with a sprinkling of chilli powder which amped up the flavours even more, had a crunchy texture.  Personally, I prefer the softer texture of squid tentacles.

When I ordered Salmon @ RM28, I was expecting to get the usual salmon slices for grilling.  What came were salmon cubes, submerged in a tray of water instead, with a slice of butter.

So, essentially, what you're getting is essentially steamed salmon in a butter sauce....which is a nice change from just simple grilling.

And because the Cooked Salmon Cubes were sitting in a buttery 'bath', they were incredibly moist and juicy. And not to worry...the leftover butter sauce was put to good husband poured it over his rice! O_o

After all the meat and seafood options, we added some vegetables starting with Onions @ RM11.  The grilling brought out the sweetness in the yellow onions.

I requested for a bit more charring and he dutifully obliged with better charred onions subsequently (the pic above is the one with less charring).  For the health-conscious, they can satisfy their lust of grilled stuff here as this is one place where the charring is minimalistic to respect the freshness of the ingredients.

When I ordered the Sweet Potatoes @ RM11, I didn't expect purple potatoes (I thought I'd be getting either yellow or orange-coloured sweet potatoes).

Again, I was expecting sliced sweet potatoes for grilling instead of potato cubes in a water bath.  This meant the water would boil/steam the sweet potato cubes until they soften.

Cooked Sweet Potatoes - soft, sweet, delish.

Our third vegetable was....well, the raw cabbage served to us earlier.  I know we eat raw cabbage all the time (in coleslaw) but those were finely shredded, these were in big chunks.  So, I threw them on the grill to char and soften (after 'my chef' left since all the food has been cooked) as I didn't want to waste the cabbage. But then another server walked by and started to flip the cabbage pieces for me (#SoEmbarrassing) but I was told other diners do the same too (*ok, not so embarrassing anymore*)...hehe! :D

All the meat, seafood and vegetables were seasoned minimally and differently, some with just salt and pepper, some with soy sauce or miso, and finished with a sprinkling of sesame seeds or chopped spring onions.  The marinades were subtle to allow us to savour the freshness and true flavours of the stand-out proteins.  Price of meat (beef, lamb, chicken and offal) ranges from RM17 - RM50 (with expensive Kobe available at RM165) while vegetables and mushrooms start from RM9 - RM17.  Seafood costs RM17 - RM39 while affordable set lunches are offered on weekdays.

The Green Tea @ RM7 per pax (refillable) and White Rice @ RM6 a bowl seemed a bit pricey.  If the rice was Japanese rice, that would make the price tag easier to swallow (I'm sure it was, just that I can't recall as I was too engrossed with the grilled stuff, haha).

When we asked for the bill, we were presented with this complimentary Chilled Lemon Jelly Dessert which we didn't expect.  If we had known, we probably wouldn't have drank so much green tea! :P  Notwithstanding that, the tangy, lemony flavours were a welcome relieve to our full tummies.  It was a perfect way to end our meal.

My Personal Opinion

Since there aren't any set menus (for dinner), the prices may seem a little higher for the a la carte orders, so be prepared to fork out around RM100 per person for a meal here.  Though prices are on the higher end, I have no complaints and deem it worthy when the meat and seafood is utterly fresh and of such good quality.

My only tiny grouse to our otherwise very satisfying dinner was that some of the diners decided to smoke (I'm not sure if that's allowed but none of the staff seem to object) probably thinking that it's ok since there are exhaust hoods to suck up the smoke (luckily so).

Overall, we enjoyed our meal tremendously and I would say it's an excellent place to satisfy your craving for some good tasting grilled meats.  Coupled with a personal one-on-one service of grilling the meat at tableside, it was brilliant and much welcomed.  I'd probably return at some point but not before I've had the chance to try out the other grilled meat joint in the area! ^_~

Momotalo Yakiniku
20 Jalan 24/70A
Desa Sri Hartamas
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2300 2080


  1. Thanks for educating me about Yakiniku which is new to me but they were around for 10 years! All grilled meat could be easily prepared but the sauce are most important like what you had with their house-made miso paste etc! Sounds da bomb!
    I am equally surprised to see the purple potatoes being used.

    1. Yeah, I'd be less surprised if I had gotten Japanese sweet potatoes instead...the ones with the purple skin but yellow flesh. I think yakiniku has been around longer than that...maybe since the 80s?

  2. Meat lovers paradise I would say! I would enjoy a meal here, that's for sure. I would also prefer for the server to do the cooking because I am not doing any cooking when I am eating out hah!

    1. On the contrary, I know many diners would enjoy cooking the food themselves (for the fun of it, I would sometimes too) when it comes to yakiniku or Korean barbeque :)

  3. i tend to take momotalo for granted cos it's been around for so long! but based on your experience, it seems clear why they've endured ... cos they succeed in satisfying their customers! the tongue and ribs look gorgeous ... and that's an interesting way of cooking the salmon - i'd make good use of all the melted butter too! :D

    1. You and my spouse is on the same page when it comes to melted butter. I can't say I'm a huge fan of melted butter but I did enjoy the salmon cooked this way as it was incredibly moist. ^.^

  4. I'm not personally a bit meat person - I need a lot of veggies to balance it out. I imagine hubby would be very happy in a place like this though.

    1. Yup, this is a paradise for carnivores! ;) Hey, I did balance out with...not a lot....but some veggies. :P

  5. I've tried ox tongue before and just like what you said, it was surprisingly tender. RM11 for that onion, my heart ache a bit, it's not even an whole onion >_<
    I don't like cook-it-yourself kind of restaurant too as I cook from Monday to Friday at home and all I wanna do is goyang kaki enjoy my food during eat out =.="

    1. Wow, you cook 5 days a week?...clap, clap! I do it probably max twice a week. Aha, that's why this place will be great for you since you have the option of asking them to grill for you (which I did) must have missed reading that part.

      Eh, I remember you (and Sam) like Korean barbeque a lot (from the many posts on your blog)...and those usually have to cook-it-yourself also. You can multitask...grill and goyang kaki at the same time...wakakakaka! :D


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