This post was written by Chad Merchant
When you show up at a Japanese restaurant, chances are you have a few preconceptions of what you’ll be seeing on the menu, and of what the décor might be. Japanese food is steady and predictable, the design minimalist and modern. This reliability is one of the great hallmarks of the cuisine, and it has served its purpose remarkably well, as evidenced by the enduring popularity of Japanese food and design throughout the world. A visit to Ri-Yakitori will challenge all of your previously held notions. This is basically a marvellously realised fusion of a bar and grill with a refined Japanese restaurant. If you stick to the front of the restaurant, you may even feel a hint of sports bar ambiance!
Hailing from Osaka, Japan, the delightful Chef de Cuisine at Ri-Yakitori, Keiichi Nakahara, is a well-seasoned and travelled chef, working in restaurants in both Japan and Italy, and now Malaysia. Chef Nakahara brings this eclectic background to his menu and is at once inventive and traditional in its execution. A host of dishes are served skewered and grilled to perfection, and if anything is Ri-Yakitori’s hallmark, it is this. Perfect for sharing and savouring, offerings such as the grilled chicken thigh, grilled shiitake mushrooms, and even a tasty grilled Japanese green chili were delightful in both their presentation and their flavour. Ingredients are fresh and wholesome, and the menu is varied enough for anyone to find something they love. Naturally, the popular Japanese grilled yakitori is a house special!
Located on the 7th floor adjacent to The Gardens Hotel, Ri-Yakitori welcomes diners into a comfortable, appealing space that could be appropriately called a bar area, complete with large flat-panel TVs and a generous application of dark woods and leather-covered barstools at high-top tables. It’s a very inviting area, and a perfect location to meet friends and watch the big match. In fact, on our visit, a group of Aussies were enjoying a rugby match between Queensland and New South Wales, and it was clear that they were regulars. A wide range of libations is on offer, whether your tastes run to Eastern beverages with sake and soju as their base, or more traditional Western cocktails. Naturally, a full selection of beers, both local and Japanese, is available, as well.
Ri-Yakitori is a hidden gem, well worth your effort to seek out. If you find yourself at Mid Valley or The Gardens, don’t miss the chance to grab a bite. During the month of July, the restaurant is featuring the popular unagi promotion, a scrumptious grilled freshwater eel roll that’s purported to increase stamina and appetite during the hot, humid months; in July and August, it’s customary in Japan to eat unagi regularly, and Ri-Yakitori are honouring this custom by promoting a month-long special. So take the lifts from The Garden Hotel up to level 7 and experience a unique fusion of Japanese cuisine in a decidedly East-meets-West bar and grill!
Fact File :
The Gardens Hotel, Level 7
Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra
Ph: 03.2268 1323
Most Mains RM15-30++
Mondays-Saturdays 5.00pm to 1.00am
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Source: The Expat July 2012
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