SPECIALLY designed to whet appetites after a long day of fasting, the Muhibbah bento box is a feast for the eyes, the nose and the tongue.
This is the offering this Ramadan at Hilton Kuala Lumpur’s Iketeru Japanese Restaurant, in addition to the a la carte menu and usual offerings at the sushi bar, tempura and teppanyaki counters. On weekends, there is also the added option of a weekend bento box.
“We know that some customers at this time of the month are looking for something easy and quick yet delicious, that’s why I created a special bento set featuring a delectable full course meal,” says chef Ricky Kamiishi of the Muhibbah bento.
First, it’s a pretty arrangement, in typical Japanese style, of small little boxes and plates in a lacquered bento box. The colours are well thought out and Ricky definitely has a eye for fine details. Like using a young shoot of ginger tinted pink to slash across the brown of teriyaki sauce clinging to the grilled cod. Or sprinkling the snowy white of rice with flakes of salted plum and ensuring a colourful combination of vegetables in the simmered hot beef dish.
Then the aromas. You can almost smell the salty freshness of the sashimi, the crisp batter of the tempura, the sweet sauce of the grilled cod and the teppanyaki chicken. It’s an irresistible combination of smells that makes you reach out for the chopsticks.
After spending a few more minutes admiring the display, I start with the pickled bittergourd and garlic. Crisp and a little tart, just perfect to tease the tastebuds.
Then it’s sashimi, with maguro (tuna), sake (salmon) and shiromi (white fish), eaten with a dash of wasabi and dipped lightly in soya sauce. Or even plain, for an unadulterated taste of the fresh fish.
“We fly in seafood, beef, vegetables and fruit from Japan,” says Ricky who insists on using only the freshest ingredients. “I craft my dishes according to the availability of products.”
I love the goma tofu with its strong nutty flavour. Smooth and chilled, it’s a cool sensation on the tongue.
Miso soup is de riguer with any Japanese meal but it’s the chawan mushi that grabs my attention because, when I open the lid of the cup, I don’t see the usual smooth egg custard. Instead, I find what looks like sharks’ fin soup. This is Ricky’s kani an chawan mushi where the egg custard is topped with a crab meat sauce. One can either scoop the custard and eat with a bit of crab meat sauce or enjoy both separately, enjoying the crab sauce first and then the smooth custard with its usual hidden treasures of fish cake, ginkgo and chicken.
A mixed tempura of vegetables, fish and prawn sit alongside gyu yasai takiawase or simmered beef and vegetables (mushroom, carrot, peas and radish) and a slice of cod fillet with sweet teriyaki sauce. Teppanyaki chicken with mushroom is full of aroma and tender to the bite.
Portions are ample and if you have a big appetite, fill up with yukari gohan (plum rice).
For dessert, there’s fresh fruit and green tea ice cream.
Hilton Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2264 2592
Lunch and dinner. Muhibbah bento available for dinner only.
At KL Sentral.
Iketeru Muhibbah Bento.
Bento box, sweet ayu fish.
Calm and tranquil.
Go give it a try.