Makoto Japanese Cuisine
Unagi Specialty Restaurant
By Hiranmayii Awli Mohanan
Sandwiched between a salon and an eatery, Makoto Japanese Restaurant is a hidden gem that is easily missed. Inside, there are no airs and graces — ambient lighting, minimalistic designs and cosy seating arrangements lead to an open kitchen where the magic happens.
Carrying all the hallmarks of a quaint Japanese restaurant, Makoto is Malaysia’s first unagi speciality restaurant that imports the finest live eels from the Land of the Rising Sun.
With a Japanese chef at Makoto’s helm, one can indulge in a plethora of Japanese staples including air-flown seasonal sashimi, sushi and the works. That said, the heart of Makoto lies in its unagi dishes.
We whetted our appetites with the Hone Senbei (deep-fried unagi bones) — a simple appetiser that is appreciated best with beer or sake. Then came the glorious Umaki — bits of unagi swaddled in Japanese omelette. Glistening and ruggedly lined, this unassuming dish took us by surprise and charmed us with its velvety finish and luscious flavours. Next, having visited Makoto on the perfect day, we were treated to slices of air-flown hamachi (yellowtail) and salmon sashimi. Vivid colours, buttery texture and beautiful brininess spoke of the fishes’ freshness.
The Unaju is the crowning glory of Makoto – a square lacquer box held a whole slab of unagi that was prepared kabayaki-style with tare sauce, a side of unagi liver soup and homemade pickles. The majestic dish boasted delightful aroma, hue and texture – all indications of the chef’s culinary prowess and the difference a live unagi makes. Prepared through the Kanto/Tokyo- style of grilling, steaming and lightly dousing the freshwater eel with special inhouse unagi sauce, the Unaju is meant to be savoured as is, without extra condiments overpowering its inherent quality. It is without a doubt, the best unagi we have come across.
If the Unaju is more exclusive, authentic, and cared for perfection, the Hitsumabushi is a casual, Nagoya rendition. This set sees a unique hexagonal Hitsu box filled with Japanese rice, and atop, the chopped unagi kabayaki are laid over the rice. The Hitsumabushi is accompanied by four condiments comprising spring onion, wasabi, fresh sansho powder and seaweed alongside ochazuke soup — each carrying and exuding distinctive flavours that highlight the unagi. After mouthfuls of experimentation, we leaned towards the pairing of the sangho powder and the soup for its subtle yet comforting flavours that weaved through our palates.
Address: Makoto Japanese Cuisine
54, Jalan 27/70a, Desa Sri Hartamas,
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-6211 1409