The 19th Suzuki Hanten
Reimagined Sichuan Dishes with Japanese Flavours
By Jacqueline Benita Paul
Tucked away at the corner of Lorong Yap wan Seng is The 19th Suzuki Hanten, n elegant Chinese restaurant that combinesines the best of Sichuan and Japanese culinary elements. The eponymous restaurant is named after the founder, Datuk Ichiro Suzuki, a 19th generation member of the Suzuki family. If the name of the restaurant sounds suspiciously familiar, then you are probably thinking about The 19th Suzuki Shoten in Publika which is the specialty sake and rice product arm of the business.
As we entered the bungalow, it was as if we walked into a time machine that took us to 1950’s China and a couple of contemporary furniture came with us. The vast indoor space allows for comfortable seating even if it is a full house. Diners can also opt to enjoy the outdoors at the patio seating area. Upstairs, diners can enjoy a bit more privacy without a minimum spend but prior booking is advised. We were particularly impressed with the bathroom design that was decorated with different motifs that coincide to make an aesthetically pleasing interior.
Just as colourful and enchanting as the interior is the profile of the head chef, a Sichuan stalwart, Chef Shotaro Takemura who honed his craft under the tutelage of Chef Kentaro (known for his appearance on the Iron Chef TV series and 2 Michelin Star achievement). His experience at Shishen Hanten in Tokyo was the humble beginning of his Sichuan-Japanese fare.
Without further ado, we dug into the first course, delectable Cold Steam Chicken doused in a thick tangy sauce with a gentle sesame flavour. Here, we discovered that a few of the menu options offer flavour options which are especially appreciated in a group dining setting. Our palate cleanser came in the form of the cold sliced jellyfish. The refreshing pomegranate and zest of the vinegar on the bouncy texture of the jellyfish prepped us for the next dish. With a sourish aftertaste from our former course, the Grilled Beef with Spicy Garlic tentalised our tastebuds with its robustly flavoured wagyu and slices of cucumber that added a mild melon flavour.
Between the three of us, the portions for the appetisers gave us the best bang for our buck. Before we moved to the main course, we savoured the sublime flavour of the shark fin soup with crab meat. With the rain in the background, each sip brought warmth to our cheeks and delight to our hearts. Of course, the golden child of Sichuan cuisine was our main course of choice, the Mapo Tofu. You can select the level of spiciness or lack there off on your order. We went for an average level of spiciness and it was truly a hedonistic experience. All the ingredients including the peppers and chillis are grinded in-house. The fresh aroma and omnipresent flavour revealed the freshness of the ingredients and evidence of the in-house grinding practice.
Further contributing to our soporific experience was the Fried Chicken with Black Vinegar. Chef Takemura masterfully blended four types of vinegar and used the reduction process to keep the integrity of the sauce. By first frying the chicken and then drenching the indulgently sweet sauce, Chef Takemura has figured out the secret of uniting unlikely textures together. The fried chicken was unctuous and even when we thought we had no more room, we couldn’t stop eating till there was nothing left.
Address: The 19th Suzuki Hanten (*pork-free *Chinese *Japanese)
20, Lorong Yap Kwan Seng,
Kampung Baru, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2161 6699