It used to be Ramen Taiko Japanese Cuisine and they were mainly specializing in ramen only. A new management took over the restaurant in April this year and expanded the food repertoire to include other Japanese dishes. A new chef, Chef Steven Khoo took over and has since revamped the menu. The cosy restaurant has a warm homey feel to it, thanks to the wood-based furniture and interesting Japanese knick-knacks decorating the place.
The menu at Taiko is pretty comprehensive, covering categories from Zenzai to Ramen. But let’s just focus on my favourites.
Top on the list must surely be their Yakimono specials – sticks of deliciously grilled meats, smeared with sticky umami marinade. Choose from sticks of chicken liver (RM4.90), yakitori (RM5.90) and pork belly (RM6.90) and they each have their own sinful appeal.
I can never resist any bacon-wrapped item so their ozura bacon (RM6.90), tomato bacon (RM6.90) and hotate bacon (RM7.90) are absolute must-orders! The aroma alone is enough to whet the appetite. These perfectly grilled bacon delights are to die-for.
Tori Karaage – crispy fried chicken, an addictive appetizer!
Aigamo Smoke (RM18) are divine slices of velvety pink duck breast served simply with curls of scallions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Eaten with the seaweed sides, this is a superb appetizer.
Taiko Japanese Cuisine serves one of the best gyozas (RM12) around here. The delicate looking gyozas have thin skins (almost translucent) encasing a scrumptious filling of minced pork, chives, cabbage, dried shrimp and turnips. The dough of the gyoza skin is crunchy on the underside and has a nicely elastic texture on the topside.
Perfectly steamed scallops with garlic butter – one is never enough!
Any visit to a Japanese restaurant is not complete without sushi and sashimi. The sushis all look very appealing so we picked the prettiest platter. Rainbow sushi (RM23.90) comprises colorful rolls of crab, shrimp, tuna, salmon, snapper and avocado, all neatly arranged in alternating colours.
Taiko’s sashimi platters come in several sizes ranging From RM22.90 to RM48.90. The selection may vary from day to day depending on the freshest fish availability.
The freshness of their salmon is also reflected in the prettily-constructed Salmon Tartare (RM28.90). The layers of avocados, marinated salmon, Japanese seaweed and a topping of ebikko makes the salmon tartare a visual delight.
Taiko has retained some of the popular ramen dishes associated with them. On the menu, diners can choose from a good variety of soupy or fried ramen. My favourite is the Gomoku Ramen (RM18) – ramen served in an appetizing pork broth topped with tender pork slices, sweet Chinese cabbage, crunchy black fungus, green peppers, carrots and a luscious runny poached egg.
Kimuchi Ramen (RM23.90) comes a close second on my favourite Taiko ramen list. The piquant and spicy kimchi flavoured soup has plenty of seafood in it.
If you like fish head noodles, then the Salmon Head Ramen will be a hit. Big chunks of deep-fried salmon head lend their sweetness to the broth. Slices of briny bamboo shoots add some crunch to the bowl of al dente ramen.
End your meal with some of Taiko”s own-made ice cream
We’ll certainly be returning to this cosy restaurant for more of our favourites.
TAIKO JAPANESE CUISINE
Unit 15-0-2B & 2C
Mont Kiara Shoplex
Jalan Kiara, Mont Kiara
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Lunch – 11.30am to 3.00pm
Dinner – 5.30pm to 10.30pm
*This review was first published in HungryGoWhere Malaysia on 6 October 2014.