Friday, 27 April 2018

Kouzu @ Taman Tun Dr Ismail

We are well versed with tapas aka small plates of Spanish savoury dishes....but what's Japas?  Well, it seems they're the Japanese version of tapas.  Ooo...I like small portions.

And Kouzu @ Taman Tun Dr Ismail is a place for Japas besides also serving yakitori, donburi, salad & greens, pasta & noodles, Japanese pizza and desserts too.

Absolutely loving the colourful murals on the wall that looks somewhat like those illegal graffiti, drawn free hand, we see on street walls....hahaha! ;D  Except these ones are a lot, lot nicer, of course.  Choose a good spot and you'll come away with a nice background for your photo or selfie.

From the Japas menu, there's a wide selection of about 20 choices with the majority of them priced between RM18 - RM28.  We ordered the Creamy Baked Oysters @ RM19 to start.

As much as I like a fresh oyster, I like a baked one even more.  Covered with cream cheese and a dollop of salty capelin roe, they were baked to a nice golden-brown.  Juicy, velvety-smooth, perfect Japas to start with...and getting five oysters for the price paid was certainly good value.

Our next Japas was the Stone Grilled Sirloin @ RM27.  It arrived in fashion wrapped in aluminium foil with a bit of smoke and a sizzling sound that makes you eager to see what's inside.

Opened to reveal 5- 6 fairly thick slices of charred beef sizzling on a hot stone with some cubes of potato in a sweetish teriyaki-type sauce.  Tender, juicy, but not necessarily all that flavourful.  You'd want to eat it quickly before the still pinkish meat becomes more cooked.

From the Japas, we moved on to their Donburi section (with 8 selections, RM18 - RM30) and went with the Ishiyaki Stone Bowl @ RM30.  Served in a hot stone bowl that consisted of sweet-sticky unagi, vinegared prawns, a good-sized and well-charred scallop, minced chicken, sauteed mushrooms, a perfectly cooked onsen tamago, masago and rice.

We went about eating this by sharing out the prawns, scallop and unagi first and then breaking the runny yolk and mixing it in with the rice (together with the rest of the ingredients in the bowl).  That yielded moist, sticky rice at the top and crunchy textured bits at the bottom.  For a light eater, this delicious bowl is a complete meal in itself with a bit of everything...and you don't have to share! ^o^

From their Pasta & Noodles options (there were five priced between RM22 - RM27), we selected the Angel Hair Mentaiko Pasta @ RM22.  Nice presentation...wrapped around a pair of chopsticks! ^_~  The angel hair pasta was tossed in a creamy-but-not-cloying concoction of mentaiko and topped with masago, tobiko and thin strips of seaweed.

Next, we moved onto the Japanese Pizza offerings (with five alternatives to choose from, RM20 - RM27) and picked the Pizza with Japanese Escargot @ RM27 just because I love snails...of the edible kind....kekeke! ;)

With a layer of crackly rice as its base, this 4-inch pizza came topped with crunchy escargots, crispy and super thin slices of lotus root, greens of arugula and baby spinach along with Japanese mayo and a sweetish sauce.  Not the usual pizza and something new with its rice base dough though you may need to do a bit of hunting to find the scarce escargots though. :(

Only after devouring these dishes did we make our orders for their yakitori and that's just so we can eat the skewers of meat as and when they arrive at the table, still hot, straight off the grill.  There are at least 25 varieties to choose from ranging from as low as RM5 to the most expensive at RM18 a stick.  Here were some of our selections.

The Sirloin @ RM15 was juicy, flavourful but not as tender as I thought it would be.  And that's just my friend's finger hoping to get 'famous' on my blog giving you an estimate of the size of the skewer...hihihi!) :D

The Gyutan @ RM12 aka ox tongue was, unfortunately, very chewy and no where near tender nor flavourful as the ones I've eaten before.

The Chicken Wings @ RM6 (each skewer comes with two wingettes), with tender flesh, were fragrant from the charred and crisp skin and hands down the best skewer of the night.

No complaints on the Rock Lobster @ RM15 as it was fresh, moist, succulent.

The Salmon Cube @ RM12, fairly fresh, featured soft, tender flesh.

Was there any doubt I wouldn't order the Quail Eggs @ RM5 (each stick came with 3 mini eggs) if I see it on the menu?  Of course not.  However, these may have been left on the grill too long as some parts of the egg white were slightly rubbery.

As for the Shiitake Mushrooms @ RM5 (3 mushrooms in each stick), we were over eager to eat them (hence the sticks were removed before pic was taken!) as we enjoyed the sauteed mushrooms in the Ishiyaki Bowl earlier.

I've always loved Japanese sweet potatoes for its taste and looks (contrasting yellow flesh against purple skin), so an order of Sweet Potato @ RM5 (4 wedges of potato on each stick) when I see it on the menu comes as no surprise.  However, these ones were underdone as the flesh near the skin + the skin itself was still hard.

The Okra @ RM5 (4 pcs in one stick) was well-charred, soft and delicious.  All the skewers were simply seasoned with shio and pepper or a drizzle of soy to allow the natural flavours of the protein and vegetable to shine.

We enjoyed the Chicken Wings the most, so we placed a second order for another two sticks.  It was at this time I casually mentioned to the server (who took our orders) that we didn't like the gyutan and sweet potato skewers.

Without warning and to our surprise, the server brought us replacement skewers of the gyutan and sweet potato.  This time, the sweet potatoes were better executed.

Sorry, but the gyutan was still very chewy...and I took one bite only and left the skewer unfinished.  We, however, appreciated their gesture to replace the skewers that we mentioned weren't successful.

The server did later explain that the chef tasked with the cooking of the skewers is new, barely two months old.  But I think that was only half the cause, the other half being the quality of the skewered food.

When the plates of yakitori arrived, it immediately reminded me of the now-closed Shinjiro as they used the exact same plates (even the holder to put your already-eaten sticks is the same!).  But taste-wise, Shinjiro was much better.  Till this day I 'mourn' the closing of Shinjiro.  I don't know why it happened as the food was good.  I think they were in the wrong location/mall and I think they needed to add more to the menu other than just offering predominantly grilled skewers of food that may end up to be a costly meal for some.

P/S: You may want to check the discounts offered by eatigo (for food only, drinks excluded)

My Personal Opinion

Though the yakitori seems reasonably priced from RM5 to RM18 per stick, the fact remains that you'll need quite a few sticks to be full.  Imagine you're eating satay, if you need 10 sticks to be full, you'll need 10 skewers of meat...and at an average price of RM10 - RM12 a stick, you do the math, the amount can add up very quickly.  Even I can easily down 10 sticks, so you can imagine how many sticks the more ferocious eaters may need.

But since the skewers weren't that successful anyway (other than the wings), I'd probably stick to their Japas and donburi offerings with a few occasional skewers.

Still a good place to unwind, over the weekend or after work, with a couple of Japas in one hand and a beer or sake in the other! ^_^

Kouzu Restaurant
18 Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 1
Taman Tun Dr Ismail
60000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-7733 9309


  1. Not sure about the yakitori but i would choose the sirlion. yummy

  2. The donburi, pasta and pizza are in normal size? With the price tag, they are definitely more worthy in comparison with the skewers.

    1. Yes, they are. The donburi, pasta and pizza can be considered normal size but portions may be small which is usual when it comes to Japanese food.

  3. I like what I see! But will take note of your comment on the skewers. I need something like 20 sticks of satay to be full, so I better stay away from the skewers hah..hah...

    1. You can eat 20 sticks of satay? I think I can handle only 10...but these Japanese skewers, maybe I can even handle 20...haha! ;)

  4. i also love the crunchy rice bits at the bottom of certain stone bowls, certain clay pots and certain paella pans - love scraping up that layer and enjoying the charred, smoky texture :D

    1. The generation before us will try to stop us from scraping the bottom of the clay pots as they deem it unhealthy. >_<

  5. Honestly when I saw this post last Friday, my eyes went big & small in disbelief to see its address. I told myself that it must be well hidden away from my sight since I pass that area so often. I even went night jogging with my wife after dinner and passed this row of shops to reach the Kiara Park behind. So I told myself that I must go and take a good look before I commented on Friday night but it rained so much. I got carried away until now, after driving past it no less than 6 times! I am afraid to say that all the trees and traffic lights would hinder the driver's visibility. No wonder those restaurants there could not last long due to the trees and lack of parking space.

    I really love the wall murals in your photo as they really resemble the ambiance of street food in Japan where they have similar giant banners with Japanese motifs wrapping their stalls. I even bought jersey and pull over that has these Japanese Tattoo-like drawing prints! I should wear that when I drop by. We definitely love all the skewers as they have a good way to marinate and grill them before serving them hot to diners. I will hop over soon and taste for myself. It could be at par with Robotaya.

    1. Ah, when you go and try, you can wear your specially bought jersey and blend in with the wall murals when you take a selfie...wakakakaka! :D

      Sometimes we can't see the very things that are right under our noses...just like when Sean posts places in Pavilion (a mall I go to very frequently) which I don't even know existed...hehe! ;)


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