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18 April, 2015

HANAYA 華家 Japanese Dining @ Grand Millennium Hotel KL

Speaking of up-scaled fine cuisine of true Japanese authenticity, only a handful of restaurants comes into mind. Truly good ones in KL are far and few between, but we are delighted to have found our new love in HANAYA, which recently opened its doors in the heart of Kuala Lumpur city.

Based on my past experience dining in HANAYA's sister company, Ten Japanese Fine Dining at Marc Residence (which I blogged HERE), I have set very high expectations on Hanaya as well because both restaurants are serving only the finest seasonal ingredients imported from Japan, prepared by a team of Japanese culinary experts. 

True indeed, our gourmet adventure here has literally transported us to Japan! The Japanese chef explains that the sashimi is freshly imported a night before my dinner date there, and then stored in a traditional wooden refrigerator that operates using ice only to maintain the ultimate freshness of the raw treats. 

The restaurant is loved for its beautiful contemporary interior decorated in warm tones of brown, exuding cool comforts. Glancing through the menu, HANAYA has its own repertoire of a’la carte offerings which boast traditional Japanese dishes injected with modern interpretation. 

Honestly, the choices here are too abundant for us, although some are subject to availability. 
We decide to go for a 8-course dinner set meal instead:

Parboiled Red Snapper Soft Roe with Ponzu Sauce

I'm not kidding you when I say Hanaya does perfectly well in whipping up fantastic Japanese cuisine in the most traditional way. Popular during winter season, Shirako Ponzu is the soft and slippery fish milt served in tangy ponzu sauce that melts in the mouth like smooth warm creamy butter. So sweet and light, yet full-bodied with oceanic juiciness. 

Common Oriental Clam Fritters with Grated Green Beans Sauce

As luscious and delicate the appetizer is, nothing compares to the utter bliss I feel when I taste the soup for the first time. The soft and moist clam ball served in lightly boiled green bean cream is the stuff of dreams, composed solely, it seems, to awaken those taste buds. 

Fried Prawn in 3 Colors, Tofu Skin, Red Snapper with Mozuku Seaweed, Botargo

The impressive presentation already wins half of our hearts, before we taste the carefully-crafted combination of colorful prawns, salt-cured fish roe, tofu skin, red snapper sashimi and bamboo shoot with balsamic vinegar.

Among the 5 items on our entree platter, the biggest applause goes to the crunchy red snapper sashimi served on a bed of tender Mozuku dark brown seaweed in a Japanese ceramic cup. The flavour of rice vinegar is very prominent in the seaweed, and balances well with the freshness of raw snapper. Simply perfect as the palate refresher! 

As for the trio of fried prawns, I truly admire the little details placed onto the coating of each prawn. Each is delicately wrapped with colorful rice crisp, Japanese basil and black Nori seaweed coating respectively, creating a medley of flavours and textures that mute all senses! 

Bamboo shoot with balsamic vinegar is simple but truly comforting! 

Assorted seasonal sashimi

What not to be missed at Hanaya is the myriad of assorted seasonal sashimi which is as fresh as what you have in Tsukiji fish market! Taking the centre stage of the platter, we have freshly cut Ebi with extra creamy Avocado and Cucumber Sauce that accentuates the briny, fresh flavour of the prawn. 

From left to right: Vinaigrette saba fish, Seared salmon with Bonito cream cheese,
Aoyagi (Round clam shellfish) and Otoro (Tuna belly) 

To savour the best raw flavour of the fish, we should begin with the one with lightest taste. Every bite is bursting with the sweet briny flavour of the shellfish, followed by the complex flavour of cheesy salmon and then the bold and tart vinaigrette saba fish.

The sashimi enjoyment ends with a fiery note of the sweet and spicy soybean paste paired with melting good chunks of fatty tuna belly

Grilled Dish
Akita Wagyu Steak

The most memorable dish, however, is the charcoal grilled wagyu beef imported from Akita. It is my first time having my meaty portion with white and black sea salt, and it surprises me with its wonderful synchronicity of taste and texture! 

As the steak is dripping in its own deep-flavoured jus and punctuated by crispy Tasmanian garlic chips, every bite yields an exquisite crunch and tenderness. Excellent pairing with fresh daikon and dollops of pumpkin and potato puree too. 

Steamed Dish
Steamed Alfonsino

Other than having my fish portion raw, I love it steamed so that it brings out a beautiful crab-like succulent texture just like how the alfonsino (akin to red snapper) is perfectly done. And the topping of grated Japanese yam with egg white in warm fish stock sauce is surprisingly good and soul-comforting! 

Rice Dish
Chef's Recommended Seasonal Sushi

I am amazed by the efforts HANAYA made to source the world's best ingredients. It has gone great lengths to present us the cream of the crops by importing sea urchin and scallop from Hokkaido, premium Otoro tuna belly from Nagasaki, and sardine from Fukuoka. It also incorporates the best of autumn flavour in the Japanese yellowtail sushi.

My advice is, just skip the wasabi or shoyu, and enjoy each and every thickly-cut sashimi with well-dressed grains of sushi rice. 

Uni Sushi (Sea Urchin) is bursting with rich, creamy flavour,
leaving a lingering oceanic freshness that is absolutely unforgettable! 

Coconut Bavarois with Pineapple Jelly in Pina Colada Style

As a finale, the Coconut Bavarois appears in a tall martini glass--- a refreshingly light pineapple sorbet sitting pristinely atop some rich custard made of coconut cream layered with pineapple jelly. I take a bite of the tropical-inspired dessert, and wash it down with a sip of coffee. Disarming indeed!

Open 7 days a week, HANAYA is perfect for functions, long lunches and dinners
surrounded by KL city's premiere entertainment and leisure scene. 

1. Most dishes at Hanaya are exquisite to look at, but the Japanese chef's expertise shines through most with his entrees and freshly air-flown sashimi from Japan.
2. Our very high expectations are far exceeded! HANAYA is definitely a true gem for Japanese cuisine connoisseurs and sashimi gourmands.
3. It's by far the best fine Japanese cuisine I've ever tried. Highly recommended if you don't mind forking out RM300 for this 8-course meal. 

HANAYA Japanese Dining 
Lobby Floor,
Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur
160, Jalan Bukit Bintang,
55100 Kuala Lumpur.
Reservations: +603-2110 5499

Business Hours:
Lunch: 11.30am - 2.30pm
Dinner: 6.00pm onwards


  1. wahhh! personally loving the Akita Wagyu Steak ahahhaha! I love beef!

  2. Coconut Bavarois with Pineapple Jelly....omgosh..Now I'm drooling too!!!! >.<
    Nice share one! =)


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