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Sep 19, 2012 07:23 AM

Kuala Lumpur - Fab Tempura at Tatsu

Cowabunga, after 18 months, > 12 restaurants later ... and RM2,000 poorer, I finally found a Japanese restaurant in KL that serves tempura which is worth writing home about - Tatsu at the InterContinental Hotel (sorry, Kuriya).

Tatsu's Executive Chef Tetsuya Yanagida is good - as good as any chef I'd encountered in Tokyo or Osaka. The restaurant evoked the typical retro-60s feel which many restaurants in Japan liked to maintain - simple furniture, calm & serene surroundings, clean Zen-like lines.

The seafood tempura set (RM150++ or around USD50 plus service/taxes) started off with a trio of not-very-impressive starters: a crisp salad bowl with overly-vinegary dressing, a bland tofu-carrot-daikon dish, and a steamed "chawan-mushi" which I can re-produce at home myself with good eggs, dashi stock, and bits of chicken, mushroom and fishcake.

But then, came the piece de resistance: the mixed seafood tempura set: the large prawn was bursting with flavors, the soft-shell crab extravagantly rich and meltingly delicious inside, the fish fillets, scallop - oh, what a revelation: everything was simply perfect.

There was also a small plate of salmon & tuna sashimi at the side, but that's superfluous.

The miso soup was a bit disappointing.

Still, overall, it was a superb tempura meal - at least where KL is concerned.

There is no specialist tempura restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, the likes of Ten-Ichi in Tokyo, or Singapore's Tenshin, where you sit at a counter in front of a tempura chef who coats each piece of the ingredient in batter and fry them right in front of you, before he pops the freshly crisp-fried morsel onto your plate straight from the frying pan using a pair of extra-long serving chopsticks.

But Tatsu KL is definitely worth checking out.

Address details
1st Floor, InterContinental Hotel Kuala Lumpur
165, Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +60 3 2782 6118

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  1. The meal *looks* good, visually at least. Can one get double portions of the tempura and skip most of the other stuff? (I suppose that would then be a la carte, but it must be possible?)

    What are those posts with cup-like thingies? Lighting fixtures?

    2 Replies
    1. re: huiray

      I'm sure we can get tempura a la carte. And yes, those appear to be light fittings, though I don't really fancy warm bulbs next to me at a dining table :-D

      1. re: klyeoh

        I can't imagine that they would not have a high attrition rate for those cup thingies with folks getting up, moving around, etc knocking them over!

        Really good tempura is wonderful.

    2. Back to Tatsu again yesterday evening after we're being turned away from Kampachi (Troika Towers) for wearing bermudas - there *is* a dress code (?!!) in Kampachi. Oh well.

      Anyhoo, Tatsu at the InterContinental Hotel more than satisfied us with their stellar service and superb cooking. What we had:
      - Salmon sashimi: very fresh, perfect.
      - Tamago-sushi: another perfectly-textured concoction: sweet, multi-layered.
      - Miso soup with salmon fish-head. Full-bodied soup, picking the flesh and gooey bits of the fish-head pieces was fun.
      - Tempura moriawase: good, but slightly greasier than I'd have liked - obviously, the oil for frying was at the wrong temperature. Loved the lily buds though.
      - Agedashi tofu: slightly soggy when served, but tastewise: perfect.
      - Potato salad: too wet and mushy here. Avoid!

      - Japanese mochi in different flavours. Must-not-miss!
      - One scoop each of green tea ice-cream and black sesame ice-cream. Extra-creamy here, could have used some red beans to offset the richness, but otherwise enjoyable.

      No regrets for missing Kampachi. Super-efficient and very friendly, professional service at Tatsu makes it my fave Japanese spot in KL, bar none.