HajimeSubsequent to my last post on Japanese food, several food enthusiasts signed up to become members of the Japanese Food Kawan Association (a label coined by one loyal lifetime member, Xiu Long Bao). I had a hard time deciding on the committee members. Two positions were subsequently filled (Elected by the President – majority not required…who said this was a democracy anyway?). Boo_licious was appointed Secretary due to her prolific writing skills and excellent photography, while Paprika was appointed Treasurer (due to her connections with one Hunky who is attached to an international bank and who is able to provide unlimited funding as and when required…we hope…) and Head of Maki subcommittee. Other posts will be filled in due course. Your patience is appreciated.Being the responsible citizens that we were, the newly appointed committee met immediately to discuss the rules & regulations and other such technicalities over a plate of sashimi at our not-so-secret headquarters.

Hajime Hajime Menu Hajime

Finding the not-so-secret headquarters wasn’t too terrible a task as I was familiar with Jalan Damai, the location of one of my favourite spas, Vila Manja. The exterior and interior of this refurbished bungalow were extremely pleasing due to the use of various types of woods and stones to create different textures on the surfaces of the building. I brushed past a rope curtain at the main entrance as I entered a very short passageway which led to the main dining area. The main area had two separate sections. The non-smoking section consisted of sunken seats with muted lighting, while the smoking section was more brighty lit with conventional tables and chairs. Naturally, because we wanted to document the food correctly without the unnecessary attention of flashbulbs, we sacrificed our lungs for the sake of our faithful Japanese Food Kawan Association members. *cough cough*

Fugu Mirin Hoshi Hotatei Corn Yaki

The menu wasn’t very extensive, but contained enough of a variety to get us curious. I have to add here that service was excellent. The lady taking our order was not only knowledgeable about her menu, she was also able to give us informed recommendations on the different types of food. Perhaps other restaurants should take a leaf out of Hajime’s book and learn something about the importance of hiring knowledgeable staff.

I have blogged about Fugu before. There’s really nothing to worry about as the poison would have been removed prior to shipping. At least, that’s what they all say. Better to be blissfully ignorant than to be consciously skeptical and a constant worrywort, I say! The Fugu Mirin Hoshi priced at RM14 was nothing like the sashimi I had tried before. The thick cut slices of fugu tasted like barbequed dried meat which was rather chewy but full of flavour. If someone gave me this dish and asked me to do a blind test, I’d have immediately guessed it to be dried pork instead of fish. I’d put this in the “snack” category – perfect for munching on while watching Harry Potter battle his nemesis in the movies.

The Hotatei Corn Yaki (RM18) was essentially scallops baked with a topping of cheese and corn. The sweet scallops contrasted well with the heavy topping.

Black Spider Hamo Teriyaki

Having the honorable Head of Maki subcommittee in our midst, we naturally had to order something to suit her discerning palate, and we believe that she was suitably satisfied with the Black Spider Maki (RM18) made of sinfully delicious soft shell crabs with caviar in a vinegared rice roll. We struggled a bit trying to eat the rather large pieces of maki in a ladylike fashion, but our attempts made the effort clumsier than ever with bits of rice and other ingredients covering our tiny plates with a mess capable of making my 5 year old twitchy fidgetty nephew, with his Winnie the Pooh plastic bowl, look like an angel.

The Hamo (pike eel) Teriyaki (RM38) was like comfort food to me. Tasting similar to unagi, I couldn’t quite tell the difference between the two. Perhaps I shall have to try another serving?

Taco Belt Wagyu Roll with Shimeji Mushroom

The waitress suggested trying the Taco Belt which got us thinking of Mexican food and pita breads, and I’m glad we didn’t laugh away her recommendation. This must be the best item of the night. The maki was not made of rice, but instead consisted of soft shell crab, salmon and avocado wrapped in seaweed. The unique textures of the different ingredients made me feel like I was experiencing so many different sensations at the same time; from the softness of the avocado to the crunchiness of the soft shell crab, they all blended together to create a symphony of flavours.

Unfortunately, the Wagyu Roll with Shimeji Mushroom (RM36) fell short of expectation. the bland taste and tough texture of the meat was barely rescued by the barbeque sauce on the side.

Salmon Shichu Mushi

I enjoyed eating the Salmon Shichu Mushi (RM15) which was served with a very small portion of noodles. The highlight of this dish was most definitely the broth, infused with the flavours of the salmon and seaweed, which it was cooked in.

Hama Sashimi Tuna Sashimi

Earlier that evening, I was having a conversation with another Japanese food expert who advised me to try food other than sashimi after seeing the glut of sashimi posts on my blog, but really, sir, it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks. After 20 minutes of humming and hawing, and with the blessings of my newly appointed committee, I proceeded to order a plate of sashimi (RM100). Looking at the gorgeous pieces of freshly cut fish placed on a bed of shaved ice, I am glad I acknowledged my inner desires. With every bite of the raw fish, I felt like I was born again.

Daikon Ume SaladI didn’t touch much of the Daikon Ume Salad (RM18) made of white radish drizzled with japanese plum sauce. The sauce was a little too sour for my liking and the salad was just too ordinary.


Figuring out the dessert was quite an effort in imagination. The Kuzukiri (RM10) was puzzling. The noodles (which I presume were made of arrow-root starch) was rather gelatinous while the brown sauce was apparently made of gula melaka (brown palm sugar). We took turns guessing what the powder was, and creative answers such as “peanut powder with a hint of sesame” to “something that my mum uses in her indian cooking lah” were offered, but in the end, we were told that it was actually chestnut powder. I guess even foodies get it wrong sometimes. 🙂

Hajime The meeting adjourned at 11.00pm with a vote of thanks to the President.

No. 64, Jalan Damai, Off Jalan Tun Razak, 55000 KL.

Tel: 03-2143 0073

For map, click here.