A few years ago, before we even had this blog, Wendy took me to this place called Hajime for my birthday. It was in this obscure bungalow off Jalan Ampang, which at that time seemed like such an adventure to find!
Fast forward to today, and sadly Hajime is not around anymore. But it has been reopened at another location and is now named Coco.Tei, serving up the same fresh Japanese food that Hajime was known for. =)
The interior is warmly-lit (slightly brighter than Hajime used to be, if I remember correctly) and inviting. Most of the seats are tatami-esque but with leg room under the table so you're more comfortable.
Staff ushered us to our table quickly and took down our drinks order first while we browsed through the menu, which we appreciated since the menu at Coco.Tei was quite extensive.
At any other genre of food, we'll always have to spend some time looking at the appetizers. But when it comes to Japanese food, there's no need for questions - it's always Sashimi to share! At Coco.Tei. the Shake Sashimi (RM 32) is really as good as it gets. As good as we remembered it to be at Hajime.
There's 5 slices in total, and they are thick. Very thick! The sashimi is also very nicely chilled by the bed of ice it is served on, with a perfect layer of fat around each slice. Those not used to more upmarket Jap food might balk at the RM 32 price tag, but believe me, this is worth the money you pay. Just don't invite too many friends to share! =P
Since we were at Coco.Tei for a special occasion, we allowed ourselves to splurge more than our usual. It's a good thing we did, or we wouldn't have tried the Hotatei Ninniku (RM 16) - grilled scallops with special garlic sauce.
Though there were only 4 pieces, each piece was a full scallop topped with baked cheese, garlic, and egg roe. The scallop was certainly fresh, since we could feel the springiness in each bite. The baked cheese enhanced the flavour even more, making it hard for us to savour this slowly.
With the starters already off to such a flying start, we didn't know if anything could go wrong. The Garlic Fried Rice (RM 8) was the only grey spot in the whole dinner, so we'd say dinner really was a success! While the rice smelt good, the taste was just so-so, lacking that crucial wok flavour any fried rice should bear, Japanese or not. There was plenty of egg in the rice, but not a lot of meat. At RM 8, this was in fact the cheapest item on the whole menu! Ironically, we'd have to say it's also the dish least worth eating in Coco.Tei. Save space and money for other things. =D
Continuing our trend of ordering familiar food, we gave the Tori Karaage (RM 25), which is Japanese style fried chicken, a try. There are 5 pieces, so RM5 per small piece of chicken seems very expensive, but we do feel it is worth the price once in awhile. Each piece is plump and juicy, without hint of fat. We dare say they know how to fry chicken better than good ol' Colonel Sanders. =D
In contrast, the Saba Teriyaki (RM 20) - grilled mackarel with teriyaki sauce - is RM5 cheaper than the Tori Karaage above, which defies conventional logic that chicken is cheaper than fish! The Saba is by no means inferior to the chicken though, as we were impressed with how fresh the mackerel was, and how the skin was so crispy and nicely glazed with teriyaki. The piece of fish was also excellent, thickly sliced and chunky. Extra teriyaki sauce is served separately for everyone to dip as they please. An important component to avoid the fish getting too dry.
Finally to round up the meal, we ordered 2 different rolls - namely Golden Triangle (RM35) and Coco Maki (RM 38). Both the rolls were served on one plate, but with enough space between the two to distinguish them apart. Kudos to the service at Coco.Tei for saving us valuable space on the table and enhancing the overall presentation!
The Golden Triangle packs crispy soft shell crab, raw salmon and salmon skin roll served with homemade avocado sweet sauce. Between the 2 special rolls, it's hard for us to decide on a favourite. I pick the Golden Triangle because it has both of my favourite Japanese food, crispy soft shell crab and fresh sashimi! Needless to say, the flavours blend together in perfect harmony. The flavours of this are more common, but it is a combination that can't go wrong for everyone. Gosh I'm craving for some now... =D
The Coco Maki is also a mouthful just to describe - it has deep fried tuna fish with bread crumbs, topped with eel and flying fish roe with special garlic & spicy sauce.
This is the house specialty, so of course we had to try it. The textures here are interesting, from to the firm flesh of tuna, crunchy breadcrumb batter; to the silken unagi and beady roe - pop the whole thing in your mouth and just enjoy! Don't worry about the spicy sauce, because it's actually just slightly tangible and won't burn any tongues off.
|Dimming the lights as the waiters cleaned up for the night - we were the last to go.|
Though we'll never forget our one and only trip to Hajime, we're very glad that we have it reincarnated in the form of Coco.Tei! Ambience is nice and chill-out, plus service is brisk. While prices may seem a little steep to make regular trips, we actually think the quality of food is well worth the price paid, especially for the specialty rolls. Can't wait to dine here again!
Coco.Tei Tokyo Japanese Cuisine | Site
No. 5, GF-B, Jalan Delima,
55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +6 03 2141 1945 / 1800-88-6655
Fax: +6 03 2110 0418