Update: This restaurant is permanently closed.
I’ve passed by Kai Zen Japanese Restaurant many times while in Bandar Puteri, Puchong, but was never tempted to step in due to it’s shady facade lol. I guess they wanted to give their guests privacy, but you can see nothing of how the restaurant looks like on the inside – thanks to dark wooden walls blocking off your line of sight.
Since Moo suggested we get Japanese food, we came here for dinner after reading good reviews of the place.
The first floor was packed with round booths and a kitchen at the back. Parents didn’t like the layout coz it was cramped. We cozied into one of the booths. A flick through the menu saw a large selection of bentos, ramens and set meals. Prices are slightly more expensive than your average Japanese resto chain like Sushi King or Sakae Sushi.
Our set meals came with fresh fruits – cold slices of sweet, juicy watermelons which were served at the beginning of the meal. I read somewhere that says that it’s better to eat fruits before your main meal than after. True, or not true?
A small appetiser of stir-fried bitter gourd with egg, soft carrots and bits of fish. The gourd was only slightly bitter so it was really yummy. Great way to get the ball rollin’!
Moo and I ordered the same thing: Ramen with Age Gyoze (shrimp dumpling) (RM18.90). The ramen was top notch : al-dente, bouncy and smooth. The broth was clear but a little bland. The chasiu slices swimming in the soup had a buttery flavour, while the egg had a perfectly gooey yolk in the center. Overall, not the best ramen I’ve had, but a very good one.
The Age Gyoza was piping hot; crispy on the outside and filled with chives, minced meat and shrimp on the inside. The filling was rather dry but was still tasty when dipped into spicy chilli oil and shoyu (soy sauce).
Bro had something similar with his Ramen and Ebi Tempura set.
His meal came with two large pieces of tempura-battered ebi (shrimp) and three pieces of gyoza.
Pops had Grilled Saba (mackerel) and teriyaki chicken (RM20.40), and an upgraded (+Rm2) garlic fried rice. The rice was eggy and ‘wet’, but each grain had been infused with flavour thanks to ‘wok hei‘ (or what we call ‘the breath of fire’, essential to sealing in flavours in Chinese cooking).
Saba had a flaky but juicy texture, with salty meat but a sweet glaze.
Teriyaki chicken was flavourless despite it’s nice appearance.
Our meal for four came up to Rm85. Prices are, as I mentioned, more expensive than your average Japanese joint. Food is good; not extraordinary, and the place can be cramped, but it’s still a nice neighbourhood restaurant.