Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ichiban Boshi

Ichiban Boshi is apparently a part of a Japanese chain that started in Singapore. Besides Malaysia, they have outlets in Vietnam and (curiously) Russia. In Malaysia, they are found in the Pavilion in Bukit Bintang in KL and the Sunway Giza Mall in PJ. They also have a sister restaurant, the Kuriya at the Bangsar Shopping Complex in KL.

We chanced into their outlet in the Sunway Giza Mall. We actually drove to Tropicana for Korean to satisfy my wife's craving for her favorite foreign food. But the place was closed - perhaps permanently in spite of their signboard that still hung lighted outside. Then I remembered a friend told me about a Korean place in nearby Kota Damansara that according to him was very good. It turned out to be a Daorae which we have tried a number of times and were not too eager to revisit. So we drove into the Sunway Giza Mall to look for a Korean. There wasn't any, and Japanese in the Ichiban Boshi was the next best alternative.

There was a long queue when we got there. Normally we would had moved on but for some reason, my family was willing to wait. And so we did. We were attended to by a very pleasant waitress who politely asked us for the number of diners and assured us a table in a short while. Still we waited for about 15 minutes. They should have some chairs outside to make waiting a little more bearable.

We finally got a nice table with a view of the outside mall. I would had preferred one next to their conveyor-belt sushi bar. But it was OK. I didn't mind. We were just hungry. We browsed the menu and made our orders.

While waiting for our food, I moved around to get some pictures. The place wasn't big. It had a nice contemporary decor. But soon the same pleasant waitress came to me to tell me that they did not allow photography in the restaurant. I wondered why. I wasn't using a flash and I wasn't disturbing anybody. And it was not as if they were a high security place that had anything to hide. By then I had enough shots of the restaurant and later ignored her instructions to take shots of our food.

My wife had this sukiyaki gozen. It was a set meal. She opted for chicken over the beef. It was served with rice, a mushroom appetizer, some udon noddles, a raw egg, water melon as dessert and curiously a bowl of miso soup. I wondered why they bothered with the miso since the sukiyaki is already a soup. They could had given something else. Perhaps a cawan mushi would had been more appropriate.

My set was a soba & teridon gozen. I opted for the green tea soba, and it was served with the same mushroom appetizer,  a bowl of chicken terriyaki rice and water melon dessert. I enjoyed the green tea soba. The noddle was very nice dipped into the soy sauce. The portion of soba was generous and adequate.

Crystal had this bowl of white soup half udon. It was udon in a milky soup. I wondered why they call it "half udon". I had a taste of the soup and to me it was rather odd. Yet Crystal seemed to enjoy it.

We ordered a number of side dishes. This is a salmon tataki. It was half grilled salmon in a soy sauce. It was good. Only the serving was rather small. Not quite enough to sate our craving.

This unagi juice roll was very good. It was eel rolled with sushi rice and in it were egg, crab stick and cucumber. The roll was generously covered with a mayo sauce. The unagi was delicious and combined very well with the other ingredients in the roll. Yummy.

This was a cream croquette. It was a deep fried croquette with cheese and crab meat. It was not OK. The taste was rather flat and I was not too crazy about it.

The gyoza was deep fried and served in a hot plate. Curious. This is the rarely seen in a Japanese restaurant. The Japs normally do not deep fried their gyoza. In any case, it was quite good. The skin of the gyoza was crispy which I like.

Dessert was tempura ice cream. It was vanilla ice cream deep fried inside a batter and topped with a strawberry sauce. I found the batter rather thick - in fact so thick that there wasn't very much ice cream in it. It was for this reason that I did not find it to be good. I have tasted fried ice creams that were a lot better.

Overall, the Ichiban Boshi is not a bad place at all for a Japanese meal. It is quite authentic and the prices are also reasonable. The positive reasons for wanting to go back outnumber the negative. So I think my family will be gunning for more of this place.

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