EAT: Hokkaido Ichiba, The Gardens

Hi! I’m on my third post! *chuffed*

So today I’m going to review Hokkaido Ichiba @ The Gardens Mall. When I’m in the mood to nom some maki and tori karaage at Gardens, it’s a pretty easy decision for me: either Yuzu or Hokkaido Ichiba. Other sushi joints (*cough*SUSHI ZANMAI*cough*) can get obscenely crowded (even at non-peak hours wtf!) so I don’t mind paying a tad more for a peaceful meal where I’m not rushed out of my seat.

We decided to have dinner at Hokkaido Ichiba a few nights ago, so here are the photos!

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First up is the Hama Sashimi Moriawase (RM45), a five-variety platter consisting of thick slabs of salmon, tuna, arrowjack, scallops and octopus. Honestly, this was a letdown! The salmon and scallops were deliciously smooth, but everything else required repeated dunking in soy sauce. The tuna wasn’t thawed properly and had an “icy” taste to it. The octopus was too chewy and rather dry – I still dream about the orgasmic octopus sashimi that I had at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo. I suppose nothing in KL could ever compare to that!

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Next was the Hotate Mentaiyaki (RM26); grilled scallops and shimeji mushrooms dressed with a thick mentaiko mayo sauce. This was passable, but the sauce was too smokey and overbearing, even for a mentaiko lover like me. :( The version served at Rakuzen is much lighter and more flavourful, mmm.

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California Maki (RM16, 6 pcs); rolls stuffed with meaty crab sticks, avocado chunks, crisp lettuce and seaweed before the whole thing is coated in yummy flying fish roe. A good choice! Ingredients were really fresh and I felt so healthy eating this lol.

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Tempura Moriawase (RM23), a staple order at every japanese joint! The batter was wonderfully light and crisp, and they give you a good mixture of prawns, pumpkin chunks, veggies and mushrooms. Yummers.

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Nankotsu Karaage (RM16); bite-size pieces of fried chicken cartilage!! Possibly the best snack food ever. O_O The chicken was not oily at all (air fried, maybe?) and the meat was juicy, flavourful, tender… With a piece of yummy crunchy tendon in the middle! I’m in love. Dip in the accompanying mayo and squeeze a bit of lemon on for maximum mouth pleasure. Highly recommended.

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Natto Maki (RM5, 6 pcs). Not a big fan of sushi, but I’ve wanted to try this since blogger Cheesie is always raving about natto. And… natto tastes freaking gross leh!! It’s Japanese fermented soybeans, but it’s nothing like the Indonesian variety, tempeh, that I’m shamelessly addicted to. Natto is really, really pungent. Rebecca commented that it tastes like chow tofu hahaha. I couldn’t tahan, wanted to throw up omg ☆〜(ゝ。∂)

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Verdict: Natto isn’t for everybody. Sample at your own risk!

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Kaisen Chahan (RM13); seafood fried rice. This is passable – no wok taste, but that’s common in nicer airconditioned eateries. The seafood tasted like it was of the frozen variety, disappointingly.

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Shishamo (RM9); grilled pregnant little fishies bursting with yummy eggs! I’m guilty of ordering shishamo whenever I see it on the menu. The one at Hokkaido Ichiba was well-grilled with a subtly smokey aftertaste, but no bitterness. So good, I could nom it all day!

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Chicken Katsujyu Zen (RM28): A bento rice set with egg and a fried chicken cutlet. Good as comfort food! It comes with miso soup, pickled appetisers, chawan mushi and sliced fruits (unpictured).

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The bento portions are pretty big, so stick to a la carte if you’re a small eater, or want better variety.

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Mixed Kinoko platter (RM13); enoki, oyster, shimeji, eryngii and shiitake mushrooms infused with garlic. This was a winner! I love me some shrooms, especially if they come in sample-size varieties. The only fault I could find was that the dish wasn’t evenly garnished – some parts had an overpoweringly garlicky taste, while others didn’t taste of garlic at all.

Overall, Hokkaido Ichiba is a good place to have a meal if you’re looking for somewhere well-decorated and generally havoc-free. I feel that the quality of the food has deteriorated over the years, but it’s still better than some other sushi joints. Avoid coming here during peak hours if you don’t fancy waiting in line for a table, but even that clears up pretty fast.

This place and Sushi Zanmai are actually owned by the same company, so you may recognise several things on the menu. Prices are higher than those at Zanmai’s, though. I think it’s justifiable because you get much better ambience and service, and that’s always a plus!

Hokkaido Ichiba
T-201, 3rd Floor,
The Gardens Mall, Mid Valley City,
59200 Kuala Lumpur

Call: 03-2283 1060

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