• Victoria Brown

Torii, Batai Village


Torii is not your typical Japanese restaurant. It is got a little French twist to its Asian identity.

The restaurant serves up a modern take on Japanese cuisine with dishes like Trifecta Mushi (a steamed duck egg custard with ikura, foie gras and shrimp), Tuna Poke (blue fin tuna, citrus concentrate, ponzu, mango and macadamia nuts) and Wagyu Sliders (homemade patty, spinach, caramalised onions and scones).

But what was truly impressive was their newly launched premium Japanese steak menu, which was what we had the pleasure of tasting.

The Wagyu beef is hand-carried from Japan into Malaysia, so you are getting fresh Japanese Matsusaka and Kobe beef.

First up, we tried Torii's Matsusaka steak (RM310 for 100g). This is a black-haired Wagyu and the most famous meat in Japan. With a high fat-to-meat ratio, it practically melts in your mouth. The meat is so soft, tender, well seasoned and cooked to absolute perfection.

All the steaks are served medium rare, which is the recommended done-ness to bring out the flavour and texture of the beef.

Torii also serves a variety of Kobe steaks with different meat grading and marbling. Their selection consists of four different gradings with A5 being the highest and F1 the lowest.

The grade is the standard set to evaluated cutability. For instance, Grade A beef are above standard, Grade B beef are standard, while Grade C beef and so on are below standard.

Whereas, marbling grade is the flecks or thin strips of fat in the beef. So the higher the grading, the higher the fat content. The grade ranges from 0 to 5 being the highest.

The Kobe Zabuton A5 (RM250 for 100g) was my personal favourite Kobe cut, that comes from the short rib of the cow. The steak was beautifully pink, buttery and luscious.

You could see the strips of fat in the Kobe Sirloin A3 (RM150 for 100g), making it more grey than pink. But the steak was succulent and wonderfully rich!

The Kobe Sirloin F1 (RM120 for 100g) had a nice pink center surrounded by a ribbon of fat. It was slightly less rich as the A4 sirloin, but just as delectable.

I was told that Torii's chef is Malaysian with 12-years of Japenese cuisine experience, having being trained and undergone work experience in Tokyo and Kyoto. And I must say, all that training shines through in his steaks as they were spot on!

The steaks were all cooked perfectly and all were consistently medium-rare. The seasoning and char on all the steaks were also on point.

The steaks are also served with diced mushrooms that add wonderful texture and taste to the dish, a truffle sauce, and a simple salad.

The Wagyu steaks are all served in 100g portions, which I feel is the perfect size, as the meat is so rich and buttery.

However, if you're feeling extra indulgent, you can choose to add on sides like shaved fresh black truffle (RM15), pan-seared foie gras (RM29) or grilled Japanese scallop (RM19).

The side of sauteed spinach (RM25) was delicious, and I really loved the green beans with black sesame sauce (RM18).

The egg yolk croquettes (RM19) had a lovely runny yolk with a lovely mayo dressing.

However, the avocados in the heritage salad (RM15) were way too hard to eat, but the spinach and salad dressing was yummy.

Torii is famous for their selection of whiskey, but because I'm not a whiskey drinker, I settled down with a wonderful glass of Luis Felipe merlot (their house pouring red RM39.90) that was delightfully smooth and paired perfectly with the delicious steaks.

We also tried their signature cocktail called The Torii (RM37.90) which is their take on a whiskey sour. The cocktail has whiskey, soda, yuzu juice and gomme. It was not too sweet, very smooth with a lovely citrus hit.

Being in a restaurant with the largest range of Japanese single malt whiskies in Kuala Lumpur, I got my friend to order their 12-year Hakushu single malt whiskey on the rocks (RM49.90). He said it was very smooth and it paired well with the steaks.

For dessert we tried three of Torii's artisanal ice creams: White chocolate lavender, dark chocolate and whiskey-n-raisin (RM12.90 a scoop).

My favourite was the white chocolate lavender ice cream, which was the most unique flavour of the lot. I was afraid that the taste of lavender would be too strong, making it seem like your consuming potpourri, but the lavender instead provided a subtle florally aftertaste to the sweetness of the white chocolate. It was the perfect flavour combination!

The dark chocolate ice cream was what I imagined it to be - rich, slightly bitter, with a slight sweetness. Since I'm very much a chocolate lover, this was a very enjoyable ice cream.

The whiskey-n-raisin is an interesting twist on the classic rum-n-raisin ice cream.

The raisins were juicy (and I think soaked in whiskey) and the vanilla is beautifully creamy with a hint of whiskey. For someone who isn't a fan of whiskey, the alcohol wasn't too strong to overpower the dessert. The flavours were well-balanced.

If you are willing to spend a bit more cash for an amazing steak - I would recommend Torii. All their steaks are fresh and perfectly cooked, and I love how the chef let the beautiful beefy flavours of the steak highlight the dish.

Torii Address: 8, Jalan Batai, Bukit Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Phone: +60 3-2011 3798 Hours: Opened Monday to Friday 11.30am to 2.30pm, 5pm to 1am

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