When Kikyo opened in September this year, it was quick to make a big impression on diners who were looking for something a little different than the usual omakase experience.
Here, some of the finest cut meats are cooked using an age-old Japanese cooking technique – warayaki, an open flame method that uses rice straw instead of coal.
This grilling method hails from the Kochi prefecture in Shikoku, Japan, an island well-known for its speciality Bonito dish. The fish is prepared by lightly searing over a high heat of up to 900 degrees Celsius, resulting in a smoky aroma that harnesses an extra depth of flavour.
Kikyo places itself as one of the only restaurants in Kuala Lumpur to employ the traditional Warayaki technique in its menu. For Chef Yamasaki Kenichiro who helms the kitchen, creativity is at the centre of every dish.
The 11-course omakase-style menu at Kikyo is a testament to the culinary team’s creativity in combining traditional Japanese cuisine with hints of the contemporary.
The Chef’s Special Arrangement starts with highlighting seasonal ingredients. During The Peak’s visit, the tamagoyaki was served in an eggshell, with uni and lobster sauce in the fluffy egg concoction.
Innovative would be the right word to describe the Cold Dish course – which was a dish of Japanese oyster and ikura with a refreshing base of shungiku greens.
The first Warayaki dish comes in the form of tuna sashimi – the akami and the ootoro – which are particularly excellent when cooked over fire with hints of cherry wood smoke.
Moving on to The Warayaki Grill, we were served the three-day dry aged A5 Miyabi tenderloin steak with mushroom sauce and celery puree.
While warayaki is commonly used for seafood dishes, at Kikyo, the highlight is on red meat and it’s worth noting that Chef Kenichiro is a certified Wagyu Master Chef, a title he earned from the Brazilian Government for his feats at the Wagyu Cooking and Concept at Sao Paolo Expo in 2022.
Chef Kenichiro is fond of using A5 Miyabi, widely known as the crème de la crème of wagyu variations, to showcase the play on the smoky flavours that come with open-fire cooking.
Then there’s also the Donabe Rice bowl, a dish that also employs another age-old cooking technique of koji sake marination. The Kenkori egg in this rice dish is marinated with the house-blend shoyu, and topped with juicy slices of A5 Miyabi wagyu.
The dessert here is simple with an ode to traditional Japanese sweets. The petit fours of meringue and matcha ganache make for the perfect ending.
Apart from the food, the spectacle of watching your meal cooked over a raging fire is truly dazzling. The intimate open kitchen seating area offers an unobstructed view of Chef Kenichiro and his team in action.
For reservations, visit Kikyo.