As you enter the corner lot in which Kouzu sits, you are greeted by a large dragon.
It is not a scary dragon, but rather one that is beautifully painted on a stretch of Kouzu's wall. It sits next to paintings of Mount Fuji, Sakura flowers, koi fish and a geisha.
The spectacular graffiti wall certainly does make an impression, and it sets the tone of Kouzu being artistically modern while still holding onto Japanese culture.
Opened just a month ago, Kouzu is the latest Japanese tapas, or Japas, restaurant to hit Bangsar. If you are wondering what is Japas, it is modern Japanese dishes that are made to share.
On top of that, Kouzu offers sushi, yakitori, donburi, salads, soups, pastas and pizzas.
There's also a wide range of sake, whiskey, beer, wines and liquor -- perfect for a cheeky drink after work or with friends!
I am a huge fan of salads, so I just had to try Kouzu's Yasai Heritage Salad (RM17) that featured some really interesting greens that you would not usually find in typical salads. They had point pennywort, cosmos candatus, point selom and sakura be for their greens.
It is safe to say that I've never had any of them in a salad! But they had an interesting almost peppery flavour, and their slight bitterness was offset by the juicy orange segments and cherry tomatoes. It is also paired with a delicious tangy ponzu vinaigrette and topped with grated coconut.
We also enjoyed the Dobin Mushi (RM15) which is one of the best dashi-based broths I've had in Kuala Lumpur! The broth is packed full of flavour and yet maintains its delicate and light consistency.
It features steamed dashi, shrimp, chicken, fish, shiitake mushrooms that is served in a cute teapot. I recommend squeezing the wedge of lime in the broth to give it some slight tang. This is one of my favourite dishes, you have to try it!
We also had to have Kouzu's Salmon Trout Sashimi (RM25 for five pieces). I love salmon sashimi, and Kouzu brings in one of the freshest in town!
I absolutely love agedashi tofu because of its crispy outer layer and silky soft consistency inside. So I was excited to try Kouzu's Bonito Agedashi Tofu (RM10) that somehow seems even more crispy!
I loved the bonito flakes and the slow cooked egg that made this dish a bit different from other Japanese restaurants.
We also tried Kouzu's Creamy Baked Oysters (RM25 for five pieces). If you are not a fan of raw oysters, you should definitely give this cooked one a try! The creamy sauce has a distinct Japanese flavour with the miso, ebiko and teriyaki sauce -- it was delicious.
A favourite was the Blue Fin Tuna and Foie Gras which is very reasonably priced at RM29. The tuna was cooked to absolute perfection, and it paired beautifully with the foie gras, unagi sauce and apple chutney. I would highly recommend trying this dish!
I also loved Kouzu's Gyoza Kaisen (RM22 for three pieces) that had an amazing chunky seafood filling, with a nice thin wrapper encasing it. It had lovely textures, and it was not too dry like some gyozas are.
We also tried a selection of Yakitori. We tried their (from right) king mushroom (RM6), rock lobster (RM15), smoked duck (RM11), chicken wings (RM6), and rack of lamb (RM15).
All of them were delicious, but the chicken wings and smoked duck were my favourite out of the lot!
My favourite dish was Kouzu's Smoked Kamo Steak (RM25) that featured grilled smoked duck breast with a side of creamy spinach and onsen yolk. The skin of the duck was deliciously crispy, while the meat was succulent and moist. If you like duck, you will love this dish!
We also tried one of Kouzu's donburi dishes, and decided on the Ishiyaki Bibimbap (RM29). It featured an abundance of seafood - scallop, shrimps, unagi - and served with a slow cooked egg, dried shitake mushrooms. a generous serving of ebiko, on a bed of Japanese rice.
Be sure to mix everything together to experience all the flavours!
I am a huge sucker for sushi rolls, so we just had to get our hands on some Dragon Roll (RM15) which is one of my favourites! It has shrimps, caviar, wasabi mayo and avocado - what's not to love?
We also tried Kouzu's Umami Roll (RM20) that had unagi, tatura cheese, wasabi mayo and unagi sauce wrapped in a crispy outer skin.
We also tried Kouzu's version of pizza that was actually pretty delicious! We tried the Seafood Pizza (RM22) that had very generous toppings of salmon, shrimp, scallop and squid on a tomato base. It is topped with cheese, wasabi mayo and teriyaki sauce, giving it a Japanese twist.
We also tried a glass of Nikka whiskey from the barrel (RM24 a glass) and some Hoshiya Mutenka Joto Umeshu plum wine (RM25 a glass). Both were exceptional.
Kouzu also has a selection of amazing artisan ice cream. We tried their whisky raisin, green tea, chocolate, rum and coconut, and yuzu umeshu sorbet (RM12 per scoop).
Overall, I loved the food and atmosphere at Kouzu. The best thing about tapas-style food is that you get to try several dishes with your dining partner(s).
I feel that Kouzu's pricing is very reasonable considering the quality of ingredients they serve. They also don't stray too far from the Japanese cuisine, and holds true to very typical East Asian flavours.