GENJI JAPANESE RESTAURANT,
Hilton Petaling Jaya,
2, Jalan Barat,
Tel : 03-7955 9122 ext 4071/72
Business hours: Noon to 10.30pm, daily.
WHEN it comes to food preparation, it is important to respect the food, especially that which involves meat, poultry and seafood.
Fish, of all things, comes with a set of skills on the part of the person butchering it.
The method of ikejime, a Japanese technique of killing fish, is considered the fastest and most humane. It involves inserting a spike swiftly and directly into the fish’s hind brain, located slightly behind and above the eye, which causes immediate brain death.
If this rapid slaughter is done correctly, the fish fins flare and the fish becomes relaxed, immediately ceasing all motion. When this happens, no lactic acid is produced, hence the meat stays fresh without turning sour.
A second cut is made at the tail to speed up the bleeding process, followed by immersion in a salt and ice bath at 12°C.
“This technique is key to maintain freshness and hygiene. The fish is dead, but the meat is alive,” said chef Tetsuya Yanagida, who is in town to promote his seafood showcase at Genji Japanese Restaurant in Hilton Petaling Jaya until Sept 11 for lunch and dinner.
Yanagida, who is also a consultant for the ikejime fish project with Genji’s sustainable seafood supplier – GST Fine Foods Sdn Bhd, has carefully crafted the menu, which has exquisite seafood dishes from RM50 nett.
“The produce are supplied daily for this promotion as only authentic and specific produce will result in flavourful seafood dishes,” said Yanagida.
GST Group assistant business development manager Victor Chiah said they bred fish such as grouper and snapper and used the ikejime method to maintain freshness.
“For sashimi-grade fish, the shelf life is three to four days, while for regular fish, it is seven days in the chiller,” said Chiah.
But Yanagida is instrumental in promoting locally sourced fish and not only imported salmon.
“You have good sashimi-grade fish in Malaysia and I want to show tourists exactly that,” he said.
Being a passionate cook from a young age, one of Yanagida’s accolades include the Japan Prime Minister Award for Japanese Cuisine Chefs and Occupational Certification and the honour of being a licensed fugu handler, who is certified to prepare and sell the poisonous fish.
His seafood menu features a selection of impeccably prepared dishes including appetisers, chawanmushi, Seafood Mushini Hot Pot, rice, Ikejime Fish Head Miso Soup and dessert, priced at RM168 nett.
We sampled some delicious dishes from the promotion menu, namely Prime Ikejime Fish Roll with Spring Onion and Coriander, Deep-fried Ikejime Grouper with Ginger flavoured Tabasco Nazu, assorted sashimi – ikejime grouper and red snapper, Seafood Mushini Hot Pot – ikejime grouper, red snapper, abalone, scallops, mussels and mushrooms, ikejime red snapper, abalone, scallops and mussels teppanyaki, and for dessert – Genji signature green tea ice-cream.
The fish roll with coriander leaves, neatly tucked away within the sushi rice, was a pleasant surprise at the start of the meal.
Sushi purists in Japan would probably frown at this deviated concoction, but we were happy campers. The coriander has subtle citrus flavours and coupled with the grassy spring onion provided a fresh burst of texture and balance to the fish.
The sashimi platter needs no explanation, other than the fact that it was the first time that I tasted grouper or snapper sashimi-style.
Two words are enough – fresh and juicy, thanks to the ikejime method.
The seafood hot pot was a like a warm hug on a cold day, and turned out to be a soothing Umami flavoured soup.
If you love anything deep-fried, the grouper is a must-have and who does not love teppanyaki? Both dishes were tasty and flavourful.
To cool down from all that savoury goodness, the green tea ice-cream should do the trick.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.