Zanmai is chain of Japanese restaurants offering sushi and fusion fares. It has about 10 outlets in Sunway, The Gardens, Low Yat, 1U, Mid Valley, etc. The place we went to was in the newly opened Empire Shopping Gallery in Subang Jaya. It is situated on the ground floor of the shopping complex. It has a nice contemporary decor and has a separate store within the outlet selling various Japanese foods.
We perused the menu in great detail and decided on a combination of Japanese, pasta and pizza. But we were hugely disappointed when the waiter apologetically told us that their oven was broken and we could not have pizza for dinner that evening. We altered our selection and then settled down to sipping our tea.
The potato croquette was delicious. It was mashed potato deep fried in bread crumbs with a filling of parmesan cheese. It was served with some salad. I enjoyed the crispy skin and the creamy filling.
The deep fried soft shell crab was another delightful starter. It was served with a nice sweet sauce. It was crispy outside with the flavor of nice crab meat inside. Soft shell crabs have always been one of my favorites. They are eaten when they are in the process of moulding - changing their shells. Poor crabs.
Our entree selection started with the unagi (Japanese eel preparation) pasta. It was served with some salad and a miso soup. What a fusion it was. And very nicely done too. The pasta was cooked with some mushroom and the unagi complemented it fantastically. It was a real culinary innovation.
Next was the terriyaki chicken gratin. The gratin was potato based and the terriyaki chicken was served on top of it. Another great Japanese-western fusion. The combination of tastes did not clash. Compliments to the innovator.
They were all we initially ordered. But we were not sated. We wanted more. This potato salad was added on. It was creamy and smooth. Not bad at all for an afterthought.
This meat sauce omelet rice was also an added-on. It was a kind of tomato rice covered with a plain omelet, served with a tomato based meat sauce. I did not fancy this too much. I felt that there was too much tomato in it. It was rather sweet which was not my type of savory food.
Dessert was green tea tiramisu. It was served with a spoonful of red bean paste. Another great fusion idea. But sadly it did not turn out to be that great for me. I did not quite like the green tea flavor in tiramisu. But my wife liked it. So ignore my preference and go ahead and try it if you are ever there.
Pasta Zanmai is a great fusion novelty. The people there must be really creative to come up with great tasting food from the merging of two very popular tastes - Japanese and western. There are a lot of items in the menu that we have not tried. Going by what we had, I think we will going back.