Lot F355 (first floor of Rainforest, two doors from Starbucks),
1 Utama Shopping Centre,
Lebuh Bandar Utama, Bandar Utama,
Tel: 03-7710 9884
Business hours: 11am to 11pm.
FANS of mixing music with their food can rejoice now that Rocku has opened another restaurant at 1 Utama Shopping Centre in Petaling Jaya.
Rocku specialises in Japanese charcoal barbecue, or what is loosely termed asyakiniku.
The first Rocku in Malaysia opened in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur in December 2014, while the one in 1 Utama opened for business exactly a year later.
“What we offer is a relaxed atmosphere complete with good food and entertainment,” said restaurant director Kenny Chui, who revealed that the latest outlet was slightly larger than the one in Kuala Lumpur.
On its appeal, Rocku could very well be the first restaurant in 1 Utama with live entertainment in the mix.
The singers hired are very competent, judging from the appreciative nodding and clapping from diners.
“For example, one (a female vocalist) of them has participated in Voice of China. We get rather good recommendations from our friends and associates as well,” he said.
Thankfully, there is no karaoke in sight, so there is no fear of an audio assault by off-key singing.
“We will make an exception only if you book the whole restaurant, which seats at least 170 people,” Chui said with a laugh.
The Malaysian singers can belt out with ease a good mix of English, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, and Cantonese numbers.
On weekends, the singing tends to start early, around 6pm, and lasts all the way up to 10pm, or later.
On certain days (especially Saturdays), a magician would be present to perform on stage (please call to confirm as this is subject to last-minute changes).
During a visit to the place on a Monday evening recently, I found that Rocku has managed to pull off that delicate mix between providing a relaxed atmosphere, good singing and great food.
While this place operates on a buffet concept, only the salads, appetisers, and other side dishes are placed at the buffet table.
The meats are kept refrigerated at all times, and one would have to actually ask for them.
Once seated, wait staff would take your order, which you make by ticking all the relevant boxes on the order chit to indicate the kind of meat and cuts you want. For beef, there’s chuck to ribeye to striploin; for pork, there’s belly, collar and bacon; chicken, lamb shoulder, and the seafood platter that includes salmon, butterfish, scallops, squid, and prawns.
Alternatively, you can just ask for salmon cubes if you abhor other kinds of seafood.
Servers will then bring out the chilled meat trays from the kitchen to your table so everything remains neat and hygienic.
The marination of the meat is thorough and good enough to eat right off the grill, even if one decides not to sample any of the three great sauces on offer – ponzu, spicy miso and chilli.
This tasty flavour is also the outcome of buying only choice cuts, especially for the beef.
The pork and seafood are just as good, but an equally attractive proposition is the enoki (long, thin white mushroom), which you should cook slowly with butter.
There is also a small selection of ala carte, with wagyu beef going at RM22 per 100g and a soft shell crab at RM12.
For dessert, there are ice creams from The Last Polka at RM3.90 per scoop – black sesame (great for those who do not have a sweet tooth), green tea, and dark chocolate (highly recommended).
Patrons are given 100 minutes to place their order, though they certainly can take their time to grill their meats and enjoy the entertainment while eating.
Dining at Rocku will not leave your hair and clothes smelling of barbecue. Fumes from the barbecue are quickly sucked in by extractors built into the table, rather than the types that dangle over your head like those typically found in Korean BBQ outlets.
I would rate this extraction system as 98% efficient, as there was barely any discernible smell on my clothes after a few hours inside the joint.
The trick lies in the suction fan system built at the base of the stove, which draws away nearly all of the fumes to leave the restaurant smelling fresh and nice.
Rocku is an appealing place for all age groups as it is reasonably quiet and tastefully ordained for a great night out with family or friends. Special seating arrangements can be made for parties of at least 20.
Rocku is open daily from 11am to 11pm, with the buffet starting from RM39.90++ per person up to 5pm, before going up to RM49.90++ after 5pm. Prices mentioned do not include the 10% service charge and GST.
Reservations can also be made through Facebook (Rocku Yakiniku Malaysia) and via phone.
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.