Text Ellfian Rahim
Images Andy Kho
A Different Kind of Happy Hour
A quick search on Wikipedia will reveal to you that an ‘izakaya’ is a type of Japanese drinking establishment, which also serves food to accompany the drinks. Sort of like a classy bar with a kitchen that serves more than just laddish fried food, if you like. Happily, this sort of establishment is quickly becoming yet another choice stopover for classier folk who pride themselves with living on more than just canned beer and McDonalds. And perhaps the most talked about izakaya at the moment is Torii – situated in the upmarket KL suburb of Taman Tun Dr. Ismail.
The environment is decidedly adult, and although children are not prohibited, there are no baby chairs, thus the atmosphere is distinctly conducive for more adult conducts, like impressing a date or a business acquaintance. In view of these possibilities, there’s a great cocktail list at the bar, and plenty of Japanese whisky for the drink connoisseur types to choose from as well to flavour conversations! But no, this isn’t a bar review…
Instead, let’s focus on the delightfully unique food offerings available here. Key to Torii’s delightful menu are grilled yakitori skewers of chicken and a wealth of other types of staples made to order over charcoal, all to be consumed alongside beverages from the restaurant’s drink list that offers everything from fancy cocktails, whiskies from the house of Suntory and Nikka, and sake, of course!
Top on the list was the perfectly cooked chicken wings, marinated in just salt and grilled to perfection with crispy skin. The homemade beef meatballs with sweet BBQ sauce were lightly salted on the outside and full flavoured on the inside. The smoked duck was embellished simply and deliciously with sea salt and onion, while the wagyu sirloin beef was delightfully uncomplicated with complimentary sea salt and black pepper. Yes folks, the food are marinated in the simplest of spices to ensure that each item’s freshness and unique flavour shines through.
Then, there’s also the mouth-watering bonded unagi and foie gras, bite-sized combo of grilled eel, egg, and pan seared foie gras. The wagyu sliders are a standout as well, homemade and enveloped in light flavours of spinach and caramelised onions, then blanketed on either side by a house made scone.
Should you end up becoming a regular here after your first visit (we really don’t see why not since everything tasted wonderful), you’ll be happy to note that the almost three dozen-odd items on the skewers – ranging from seafood and poultry, to more exotic stuff like escargot, Halibut, tri-flavour baby cuttlefish and pregnant fish (no kidding!) – are reviewed and changed quarterly, so there’s bound to be a surprise waiting for you at the grill every now and then.
18 LORONG DATUK SULAIMAN 1
TAMAN TUN DR. ISMAIL
60000 KUALA LUMPUR
T: 03 7733 9309
OPEN: 5PM – 1AM