Of Hedonistic Enjoyments
In recent years, KL folk have become spoilt for choice when it comes to high-end sushi dining. Our seemingly unending appetite for sushi has fuelled a supply boom in the number of sushiya that are either locally grown ventures or imported abroad from Japan land. Whether this is ultimately a boon to our culinary scene or not is a debatable topic. Nevertheless, variety is the spice of life and I welcome this booming trend.
Sushi Masa (serving traditional edomae sushi) opened its doors on August 18 and is helmed by chef Yoshinaga Hisaki, with my inaugural visit in late October. The restaurant serves one menu for lunch – Kou at RM488 – and two menus for dinner – Miyabi at RM988 and Omakase at RM1288.
I had the 13-course Omakase menu, which was a stellar knockout. Even in hindsight, I would say that it was probably one of the better sushi meals I’ve had all 2022.
What do you get for RM1288 though? Authentic edomae without the overly fancy frills. In other words, delicious sushi with an emphasis on quality. Here’s what the omakase menu offers and what your experience may look like.
The foie gras of the sea – monkfish liver – starts dinner with its signature palate-whetting flavours. Its rich, fatty, slightly nutty taste is wonderfully balanced by the monaka wafer’s biscuity mouthfeel. What a way to start the meal!
Shiro Ebi With Dashi Jelly And Uni
Simple as it may seem, the layers of flavour this dish boasted were exquisite! The sweet shiroebi meat‘s (aged in konbujime for six hours) prized oceanic taste is so wonderfully balanced by the salty, umami taste of the dashi jelly and enriched by the use of fresh sea urchin. With such a flavourful combo, micro flowers and leek acted as palate-freshening agents to clean the tastebuds.
With kegani (horsehair/hairy crab) being in season at the time, Sushi Masa featured multiple dishes using this palatable sea treat. Starting with this simple yet highly delicious croquette using the crustacean’s meat.
What comes after that sublime crunch is a delicate flavour with full-on crab meatiness. Adding a dash of wasabi enhances the crab’s natural qualities with a gentle, creamy and light sting. However, a pinch of salt also goes well.
Simple and highly effective at bolstering one’s appetite further.
Three Kinds Of Premium Sushi – Part 1
Chef Yoshinaga comes ready to hit it out of the park from the beginning, starting with open of my favourite sushi – chutoro. The medium fatty tuna was exceptional – the rice and neta ratio was perfect for me, where the rice was just enough to savour but still acted as the ideal supporting cast to that wonderfully aged sliced fish.
To follow up, smoked kinmedai filled the senses with a lovely charred quality before revealing its fatty taste and delectable bounce. Delicious. The saba sushi was surprisingly floral thanks to a combination of greens (shiso, kanpyo, and myoga) to balance out the fish's inherent oil qualities.
Steamed kuroawabi (black abalone) from Chiba prefecture signalled the first intermission course to break up the sushi courses. I'm a fan of Sushi Masa's decision to give diners a break between serving sushi and introducing hot dishes that showcase different seafood and cooking methods in welcoming ways.
Served with a karasumi and liver sauce, the naturally sweet and slightly briny away was exceptional. The steamed abalone had a bounce in the mouth that spoke of the ingredient's premium quality and the chef's mastery of using the best methods to both preserve and enhance an ingredient's natural attributes.
Once done, chef Yoshinaga adds a dollop of rice into the sauce and introduces freshly grated karasumi to mix it into a risotto. What a treat.
Three Kinds Of Premium Sushi – Part 2
Sushi then resumes, starting with nodoguro. Lightly grilled and served in a double-toasted seaweed wrap with seasoned rice, the fish had a distinctly piquant taste that oozed into the rice underneath.
Akami zuke (marinated tuna) then follows, which is my favourite sushi and one that chef Yoshinaga has absolutely perfected. Its beauty lies in its simplicity – deliciously meaty tuna with a hint of sweetness and that elegant savouriness and oiliness the fish is renowned for. You get a lovely mouthful, going through the motions of discovering the fish's salty, almost buttery-like quality. Exceptional.
This is immediately one-upped by otoro, the complete opposite of the previous entry. Pure flavour and fat, except 20 seconds of pure pleasure on the palate. Although I enjoy otoro, one-and-done is usually the case for me. Chased with gari, of course.
No fuss, no frills. Just grilled quality unagi served with fresh wasabi. What can I say?
It was juicy, flaky, and slightly sweet, and it went well with the creamy kick of wasabi. Another welcoming course to break up the sushi course.
Three Kinds Of Premium Sushi – Part 3
Uni gunkanmaki resumes the final sushi bout. Creamy with a tiny hint of nuttiness, it was just the right amount of refined salinity to tingle the tastebuds after a more straightforward course.
Kuruma ebi quickly followed, its lightly sweet taste allowing me to taste the expertly-seasoned rice all the more. Pillowy with a touch of density, the rice alone was superb.
Choosing to end the sushi course with anago was a respectable choice. One that I could certainly appreciate. The anago was a little savoury and sweet, a balanced way to bow out the sushi part of the meal.
Hairy Crab, Uni, Ikura Risotto
More crab than rice (not a complain), the rice dish of the omakase menu featured a star-studded cast of premium seafood. The hairy crab served at the meal's start returns to join ikura, uni and rice to make for a genuinely sinful dish. Rich and flavourful, this certainly made sure that I left the restaurant completely satisfied.
If you still have room for sushi, rejoice, for you’d be happy to know that there’s one last indulgent item – the torotaku handroll made from tuna, takuan, and a hint of yuzu. Despite being at 95% capacity, this still managed to taste incredible. You‘ve got the fattiness of the minced tuna, the levity of the takuan and the zestiness of the yuzu working in harmony with toasted seaweed and seasoned rice.
Diners are treated to two types of tamagoyaki – one cooked at 170 degrees for an hour and another at 120 degrees for two hours – to round out the meal. The former was chiffon-like with a pleasant char and a mild egg taste, while the former had a more custard-like texture with a more robust egg flavour.
Both were superb and went down well despite me almost bursting at the seams.
Not pictured here was a simple yet tasty miso soup to end the savoury section of the omakase before dessert. Simply yet punchy, it deserved a mention.
Dessert – Bunny Daifuku
Almost too cute to eat, the meal ended with a cream-stuffed daifuku. Although my palate was virtually worn out at that moment, it was still a tasty enough treat to savour and enjoy before I restricted myself from eating anything else for the foreseeable future.
Sushi Masa's menus receive slight updates on the 18th of every month, and it is a fantastic, albeit premium-priced, sushiya that I'm sure many Japanese gastronomy seekers will enjoy.