Kin No Mizu pushes the boundaries of traditional Japanese cooking with its selection of contemporary specialties.
When chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa (or Nobu for short) started incorporating Peruvian and non-Japanese ingredients into his cooking in the 70s, his bold, inventive approach inspired other chefs to follow suit.
These days, many Japanese restaurants give their chefs the licence to reinterpret traditional cuisine using French and other influences — without compromising on the freshness of the ingredients and the customary aesthetics, of course.
It is this same innovative spirit that steered veteran restaurateur Simon Sangawa and his two Mizu restaurants on the path to success some six years ago in Kuala Lumpur.
Having opened his third and latest restaurant, Kin No Mizu at The Intermark on Jalan Tun Razak, two months ago, Sangawa-san says: “I constantly remind my team to adhere to wa — the basic Japanese definition of peace — by striking an equilibrium between the restaurant business and our guests.
“We must provide those who step into our restaurants with the best service and food that’s cooked from the heart, and leave them with great peace of mind and complete satisfaction. While classic Japanese delicacies like sushi, sashimi, teppanyaki and tempura form the mainstays of our menu, I’m proud that our team also excels in trendy fusion dishes.
“Thanks to our chefs’ solid grounding in traditional Japanese cuisine, their creativity shines through in signature dishes such as Simmered Daikon with Foie Gras, Tomato Ramen and Yaki-Spa, which all blend in multicultural influences.”
From its external feature wall with its cascading water and clear glass walkway that’s mounted atop a bed of running water and oval stones, to its sleek wine displays, Kin No Mizu’s décor mirrors that of its sister outlet in Bangsar. Tucked within its tranquil Zen-like interior is a sushi and teppanyaki counter and private or semi-private dining rooms that cater to small and medium-sized dining parties.
Sangawa’s most trusted lieutenant and former protégé, Brhma Dava a.k.a. Chef Devan currently holds the reins here. He brings with him 24 years of experience gained working in one of Kuala Lumpur’s five-star hotel restaurants. One of the few local chefs filling the second-in-command position at a Japanese restaurant, Devan says that his job has changed him, both professionally and personally.
“I learned everything from scratch from eight Japanese master chefs, watching them at work,” he says. “They were demanding and tough perfectionists who insisted that every task be completed to satisfaction.”
Now that he is the executive chef of Kin No Mizu, Devan is putting what he’s learnt to good use.
Heavenly is the first word that comes to mind when you bite into the house speciality of Foie Gras with Simmered Daikon (RM48++). Savour every mouthful slowly to appreciate how the braised radish’s exquisite sweetness is amplified manifold by the rich and velvety goose liver.
For the Maguro Tataki Salad (RM35++), it is best to go easy on the sesame and soy dressing, or you might find the seared tuna salad with avocado, lettuce, onion and cherry tomatoes to be too salty for your liking.
When you dive into the Yellow Tail Carpaccio with Cili Padi and Wasabi Soya Sauce (RM55++), let the globules of salmon roe burst on your tongue. Its ripe brininess will accentuate the chilli’s searing heat and chopped spring onion’s tanginess against the fish’s slightly fatty but clear flavours.
Be forewarned, though, that this may leave your palate slightly blunted, preventing it from discerning the subtle nuances of the Sautéed Jumbo Prawns and Scallops with Truffle Sauce (RM65++).
The Tomato Ramen (RM20++) and Yaki-Spaghetti (RM35++) are likely to confound you with their unconventionality. I find it easier to accept spaghetti stir-fried with bonito flakes, cabbage, laver (seaweed), prawns, scallops and pea sprouts than springy ramen coupled with tangy-sweet tomato-based broth.
I also wasn’t big on the Kin No Mizu Roll (RM45++) as the whole ensemble was far too indulgent for my liking. It is such a pity that the delicate accents of fresh salmon and yellow tail slices on the vinegared rice roll was lost amidst the cloying richness of the cream cheese.
Still Kin No Mizu deserves plaudits for its novel and imaginative attempts. Obviously some combinations work better than others but let your taste buds be the judge of what works best for you.
For reservations, call (03) 2166 2888. The restaurant is located at Lot 211, Level 2 of The Intermark (adjacent to Doubletree Hilton), Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur.