Opened for almost 3 months, Sasagawa took over the premise which used to be Makishima within the Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur.
Some changes have been made to the interior decor. Holding court in the centre now is a huge pot of bonsai held high in a stone pond with flooring marked in centric circles creating a mesmerising effect. This is further enhanced by interesting wooden lattice dividers along the long corridor leading to private dining space. Clever light effects from the latticework bounce off on the ceiling and the whole picture, taken from certain angles, is indeed captivating.
Chef Hitoshi Sasagawa, who’s incredibly young-looking, helms the restaurant. He trained under Tadamichi Ota, an Iron Chef contender and his skills are honed in traditional and authentic Japanese Kaiseki cuisine. The menu in Sasagawa has a good variety of a la carte items listed in the order of their cooking methods, as is the norm for Kaiseki cuisine.
If Kaiseki is new to you, then it’s best to get a general sampling by opting for their set menus. Leave it in the creative hands of Chef Sasagawa by choosing any of the 3 dinner sets:
Tsuki Set @ RM280
Hana Set @ RM350
Yuki Set @ RM460
I tried the Hana Set, a series of gastronomic delights featuring top-notch ingredients from Japan and prepared dedicatedly by Chef Sasagawa. His skills and passion are evident in the artfully presented dishes where form, color, taste and texture are melded in perfect harmony.
A selection of 3 pretty, bite-sized Appetizers were served on a “hassun” long dish. Delicately arranged with floral petals and leaves, the Egg Tofu, Boiled Greens and Cutlass Fish Nanbanduke were almost too lovely to eat.
Egg Tofu topped with Salmon Roe, Gold Leaves, Radish & Wasabi
Boiled Greens in bonito-flavoured soy sauce, fried tofu and Mizuna baby fish
Cutlass Fish Nanbanduke with Kikka Flower and Loofah marinated with vinegar
Fresh fish is flown in directly from Japan 4 days in a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday) so you can be assured that only the freshest is used in their Sashimi. I had my fill of the sweetest maguro (tuna), chutoro (tuna belly), ishidai (parrot fish), tenshi ebi (angel shrimp) and salmon from the stunning array presented.
My Simmered Dish consisted of Kuroge Wagyu boiled in soy broth made sweeter with the addition of red peppers, sweet sake, Japanese pumpkin and turnip. The divinely marbled wagyu was so tender yet maintained a slight bounciness in its texture, an amazing technique by Chef Sasagawa. The resultant sauce on the shallow dish was so delicious that not a drop was left – saucery at its best! I also wished there was more than just 2 pieces of that Kuroge Wagyu.
Next was the Pot Stew, similar to sukiyaki but with a difference of using seafood. A small portable stove was brought to the table and a floral-rimmed metal bowl placed on it. Once the Japanese-style onion soup started boiling, I placed torched octopus, seabass fillet, king crab claw and assorted vegetables of Kujo green onions, mizuna leaves, maitake mushrooms and a piece of lime in it. I liked how the broth was not too sweet and was nicely balanced with a hint of citrus from that lime.
Chawanmushi has always been a must-have for me in a Japanese meal and I was so happy that Sasagawa’s Steamed Dish turned out to be a Special Chawanmushi. It’s a wobbly and smooth creation of half egg custard and half goma tofu (sesame beancurd) steamed together in two layers and topped with a thin slice of winter melon, goma cream and a bright red wolfberry. Amazing skills and technique to pull this off so flawlessly.
I’ve always eaten tempura dunked in the usual tentsuyu sauce with grated daikon. Here in Sasagawa, the good chef served his tempura with just Andes salt. The Deep Fried Dish consisted of prawn, brinjals and sweet potato tempura and with just salt as accompaniment, the natural flavours and textures of the ingredients shone through.
While I’m not a big fan of rice, I had to concede that Chef Sasagawa’s Shokuji Rice was fabulous. Short-grained Japanese rice cooked with dashi stock and bonito flakes and further boosted with abalone, salmon, perfumed with Shiso leaves and topped with those glorious globules of salmon roe.
The rice came with Miso Soup boiled with Fukusa miso and Pickled Seaweed with Arima.
After the colourful variety of savoury dishes served, the Hana Set ended with some snow-white Yukimi Daifuku – vanilla ice-cream covered with soft stretchy mocha skin.
Service was politely attentive and cocooned in this chic and zen-like ambience, the dining experience here was truly enjoyable. Chef Sasagawa’s creations of delicious authentic Kaiseki cuisine should be on the list of discerning diners. For lunch, there are bento sets ranging from RM90-RM120.
Level 2 Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Sultan Ismail
50250 Kuala Lumpur
12.00pm – 2.30pm (Lunch)
6.00pm – 10.00pm (Dinner)