Since it’ll be a while before my next trip, I’ll try to document any (near-)Japanese experience in the new #missing日本 series on this blog.

I’ve been to a few establishments in KL prior to my first ever visit to Japan in 2014, and since then, I had a hankering for finding an experience as close to what I had in those previous trips in the last three years. Last night, I had dinner with a few friends last night at Kogetsu 「湖月」, a restaurant at The Saujana, KL.

I had read up on the place a couple of years back, and had added it to the list despite some discouraging online reviews on Tripadvisor[1]. From the outside, Kogetsu looks like a traditional ryokan and we were greeted by the expected irasshaimase from the waiting staff who then led us to our table.

Unlike non-izakaya eateries in Japan which tend to be specialised, Kogetsu serves a whole variety of Japanese dishes (including niku jaga interestingly enough – a simple homemade meat and ‘tatoes dish). My only experience of eating at an eaterie that served more than one type of dish was at a shyabu-shyabu place in Kyōto which unfortunately didn’t do the best sushi as one would expect, possibly explaining why good Japanese restaurants tend to specialise in one particular dish (and its varieties) only. Nevertheless, I was hopeful from recent reviews that Kogetsu should be good, specialised or not.

The dinner menu had a lot to choose from and I was spoilt for choice. Despite having reviewed the menu online prior to arriving, I was still undecided. I finally opted for the chirashi don 「散らし丼」:

Expecting this to trump the massive chirashi don breakfast I had at Tsukiji market was unreasonable I guess. When the donburi arrived, I noted the lovely presentation. The neta slices were generous in size and comprised salmon, tuna, shime saba (vinegared mackerel), surf clam, shrimp, shiitake and tobiko (flying fish roe), decorated with a ball of wasabi and some gari (pickled ginger). Underneath the slices of neta was thin strips of nori (dried seaweed) over shari (vinegared sushi rice). The neta tasted fresh and the vinegar in the rice is just nice – the combo of which tasted sublime. I am not a fan of shime saba 「〆鯖」, though. If this was the only dish I was having last night, as a greedy sod the portion was probably just all right.

On the side was the tempura moriawase 「天婦羅盛り合わせ」which comprised a few shrimps and veg done just nicely, with some shredded daikon on the side:

The other *koff* ‘side’ was a moriawase of sushi – the Hakone, which was the deluxe platter:

The deluxe platter again had a shime saba nigiri, but the rest comprised a combo of salmon, tuna, surf clam and suzuki (seabass) nigiri, a tobiko gunkan, two slices of tamago (Japanese-styled omelettes), and makimono (four kappa maki, and two containing what looked like kanpyo (gourd) with crab meat and cucumber). Again, the neta was fresh raw fish, apart from the surf clam, which I’ve never really encountered raw apart from that one time at Dai.

All in all, the sushi served here was good – fish as fresh as could be and well presented. I like my nigiri to have a slightly greater neta-to-shari ratio[2] and it wasn’t too bad here. One minor criticism I had was that all the dishes (which were large[3], and not of the typical small plate variety) arrived at the same time, although I do admit the menu items weren’t separated as per the Western convention (eg I would’ve liked my shiitake osuimono 「椎茸お吸い物」 to have arrived before my main dish).

I would like to add that eating Japanese in Malaysia all these while had been a different experience – we tend to melantak more here, and this is not a criticism on the meal I had last night as it had been the same almost every time I had it in KL. Whilst in Japan, one tends to order one item and at most, the solitary item will occasionally have a small side dish. Which means it will feel a bit odd to face a large menu such as Kogetsu’s, order a tenzaru soba and call it day.

Recommended especially if dining with family/friends!

The Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS
HICOM Glenmarie
40150 Shah Alam

[1]You always take such reviews with a pinch of garam anyways.
[2]This is subjective.
[3]We also had some items from the teppanyaki selection.