Makoto Japanese Cuisine with Fresh Eels from Shizuoka Japan at Desa Sri Hartamas
Are you a big fan of Japanese eel or Unagi? Wonder where is the best place in Klang Valley for the freshest and top quality Japanese eels? Well, we found a Japanese restaurant in Desa Sri Hartamas and it is called Makoto (formerly Hikari-ya). Makoto in Japanese means “Sincerity”, “Honesty” and “Essence”.
They are located at 54, Jalan 27/70a, Desa Sri Hartamas and they are popular among the Japanese communities in the neighbourhood. There is a saying, when you find Japanese dining in a Japanese restaurant, the place must be good. The Unage chief master chef in Makoto is a Japanese. This is thanks to their direct collaboration with the Executive Chef of a traditional Japanese eel restaurant in Tokyo, which has more than 200 years history ad has been loved by celebrities like top politicians and business executives.
If you travelled to Japan before, you noticed that many restaurants in Japan offers eel. Eel has been a part of Japanese cuisine for nearly 5000 years. (The bone of Eel was found in many historical remains that existed in 5000 years ago). The Kabayaki way of cooking – barbecued with soy sauces, was established in Edo era (the old name of Tokyo in Shogun period) around 200 years ago.
If you think eating eel in Japan is cheap, well it is not the case. The premium eels in Japan is never cheap. When it comes to food in Japan, it is all about quality and it is always pricey. That’s why any restaurants in Japan offers good quality food as they set the benchmark high throughout the country.
What is interesting about Makoto Japanese restaurant is they are the only restaurant in Malaysia that imports live eel all the way from Japan. It is from the region of Shizuoka Japan. The eels are kept in cold temperature to keep it calm and it will be freshly prepared and cooked by Unagi chef master. That’s why it takes around 25 minutes for them to prepare the eel dishes. The Unagi chef master will cook live eel per order so you get the freshest taste from the eel only in Makoto.
Let’s check out what we had for dinner.
Sashimi Platter – RM 138
Makoto is popular for its eel but it is also popular for its fresh sashimi. Their sashimi platter comes with the fresh fish they get from their supplier every week. We had sashimi salmon, tuna, yellow tail, prawns and halibut. It is served with real wasabi. Please take note that there are many other types of wasabi including the power type which is not 100% pure wasabi. We enjoyed the freshness of the sashimi here.
Their tempura moriawase comes with three pieces of prawn tempura and three vegetable tempura. They are lightly battered and deep fried to perfection. The colour of the tempura usually is bright yellow and you still can taste the freshness of the prawns even though it is very crispy.
Unagi Kurikara (grilled eels on skewers) – RM 38
We got ourselves special access to the kitchen to see how they prepare the live eels from Shizuoka. We saw it on TV food channel before but never seen a live one before. It just took seconds for the Unagi chef to prepare the live eel. It looks easy but it is actually not. To be a Unagi Chef, they must have gone through years of training and cooking experiences before they are qualified to be one. Unagi chef in Japan are certified chef.
Right after they cut the eel, they removed the tiny bones and they cut it into pieces. Then, they are make as skewers before grilled it with it charcoal. This is the best way to test the freshness and the juiciness of the eel. The texture is still tender as it is freshly grilled and it taste so good. Worth the price we paid.
Hone Senbei (eel bone cracker) – RM 8
Remember we mentioned about the eel bones removed? It is not wasted as it is deep fried to crispiness. It is called Hone Senbei or the eel bone cracker. It tastes similar to fried anchovies. It is crispy and the texture is crunchy. It is best to complement with sea salt and a glass of beer.
If you are looking for heart warming Japanese soup, this is the one you should order. It is the kampachi soup and it is not the ordinary miso soup. You get the slices of the kampachi fish (yellow tail fish) but soup is tasty and tummy warming.
The whole set comes with generous amount of unagi kabayaki with rice set. You can watch the video for the full review.
Most unagi you can find in many Japanese restaurants are pre-made and that’s the texture is very soft. When you have a freshly cooked unagi, the texture is more tender and you get to taste the natural taste of the eel. What we love about the unagi here is the sauce didn’t overwhelm the taste of the eel as they want you to taste the eel and not the sauce. That’s why you pay premium price for it. No doubt it is not cheap but since when good Japanese food is cheap?
Of course, there is a large set which comes with the whole unagi and kimo liver clear soup for RM 185.
Now, this is something interesting. This traditional Japanese dessert is called warabimochi. The dessert is tasty and the texture is similar to konnyaku. A perfect dessert to end the unagi feast and this is also a dish we will order when we come back again.
We guess our dreams of having a fresh Japanese eel comes true. It is indeed as good as what my Japanese friends told me. Once you tasted the fresh Japanese eel, you will know you are having ‘junk eels’ all this while.
To be honest, the price of the Japanese eels might look expensive but since we travelled to Japan a couple of times, it is comparable to the prices there. Please remember, these eels are air-flown to Malaysia from Shizuoka and they are the one and only restaurant in Malaysia that offer live eels. It is not about exclusivity but the freshness of these Japanese eels.
If you are a big fan of unagi or Japanese cuisine, Makoto Japanese Restaurant is a must to visit. Try their Japanese eels and you won’t regret it.
There is also special Executive Bento Set Lunches available on weekdays, from 12pm – 2:30pm and please check in the restaurant.