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Senya Dining
Eat Paradise, Level 2, Isetan,
1 Utama Shopping Centre,
1, Lebuh Bandar Utama,
47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

www.facebook.com/senya.sake.dining

I HAVE a big problem with Senya Dining, which is right at the front of the Eat Paradise cluster of eateries in Isetan, 1 Utama. I keep ordering the same thing.

You see, the Hokkaido pork don (top pic) there is so full of char-grilled goodness, that I can never resist it whenever I eat there. Sure, there is the shogayaki-like Tokyo pork don. There’s unagi, Japanese curry, noodles, sushi, bento sets, soft shell crab … the trouble is, I can’t tell you much about them. I don’t even know if the Tokyo pork don tastes anything like shogayaki!

The simple reason is that I can’t bring myself to order anything else when there’s the very distracting Hokkaido pork don on the menu. It’s my … my Preciousssss.

For the carb-averse, better ask the kitchen to halve the rice portion if you’re going for the potato salad option.

For the carb-averse, better ask the kitchen to halve the rice portion if you’re going for the potato salad option.

The don, as the name indicates, is a rice bowl. A bed of rice, a layer of grated salad leaves and carrots, and a generous layer of grilled meat slices on top. You can have it with kimchi, or potato salad, or simply unadorned aside from pickled radish. The meat has that rich smoky flavour and just the hint of a crunchy texture from the char, but beneath that it’s all succulent goodness, all condiments optional. (The outlet provides pickles, shichimi and mayonnaise. Don prices start at RM22.).

OK, once, when I had lunch there with a colleague who ordered the soft shell crab salad, I did try a bit of that. It was fine, but I couldn’t take too much of it, not when you-know-what was looking so hurt from not being the sole object of my attention.

As a concession to variety being the spice of life and all that, on my latest visit, I opted for the promotional don – a mix of lightly grilled salmon slices and good ol’ Hokkaido-style meat. (Like a half and half pizza … only with a rice and veggie base.) The salmon was perfectly cooked, smooth and not overdone. It’s not easy to achieve that with salmon, and I salute the cooks for that.

The October salmon and Hokkaido pork promo is like a half and half pizza … only with a rice and veggie base.

The October salmon and Hokkaido pork promo is like a half and half pizza … only with a rice and veggie base.

But you know what? I ate all the salmon first, reserving the pork slices for later. Saving the best for last.

Apparently, this is a branch of Senya Izakaya, which has been serving this yummy preparation for a long time along KL’s Jalan P. Ramlee. There are also branches at Publika and that humongous Mitsui Outlet Park out by KLIA2. But seeing as how this one is along one of my more frequented routes, I will remain faithful to this outlet … and to the Precious.

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