Did you know that there was a cosy and very quaint Japanese restaurant – Kyoto Lab – nestled directly above the buzzing hotspot called The Pool KL? Bet you didn't.
Cos I didn't too!
Me with their original design of a Japanese maiden
(There's an interesting story behind this artwork…ask when you dine there!)
It was very nice of them to extend a dinner invitation to me to sample some of their dishes.
Being the absolute Japanese cuisine fan I am, how could I say no?
As the name suggests, this hip & happening nightlife hotspot organizes awesome pool parties too!
So I decided to pop by The Pool KL in Ampang last week
There was an elevator which took me directly to the upper floor of the restaurant.
Upon entering the premise, I was impressed by the simple yet creative and unique interior already
Should you take the staircase, this will be the first thing you see ! 🙂
The dining area & the counter
As I took my seat, I noticed something peculiar right above me.
See the ceiling lamps? There were so many of them & actually tins containing wine, biscuits, soy sauce & oil before
The owner of the restaurant then shared how most of their interior and furniture pieces are actually reused items. How ingenious! I felt as though I was talking to Robinson Crusoe before he even finished his story
The table base and legs were also the metal carriers previously used in the construction industry too.
See the lovely fuchsia pink & vermilion decor behind me?
Those are real bamboo sticks chopped up, dried, painted & lacquered up beautifully!
After checking out Kyoto Lab's highly innovative and resourceful interior decor, I was ready to be wowed by what they have to serve already.
I began to develop pretty high expectations! Surely the food ought to be as good as the outlet looks
Let's find out, shall we?
I was given the cocktail menu to select my drinks & was spoilt for choice.
There were three pages of creative & never-seen-before cocktails! Ever heard of The Fish Bowl, Spicy Mango Madness, Skittles Bomb (as opposed to Jager Bombs), Pink Elephant, Milo Ais cocktail.. and especially Chemistry Lab Experiment?
Nothing beckons me better than chocolate does So I opted for the Nutella Martini (RM25)
The pleasantly sweet chocolate-hazelnut flavour complemented the vodka in the martini excellently!
It wasn't garnished with the usual olives, but with Koko Krunch instead
It had me at the first sip
The next cocktail I had was the best-selling Watermelon Slush (RM40)
It was served in a heart shape carved in a giant watermelon half. How lovely!
Perfect for couple sharing
I loved its distinct slushy & chunky watermelon & lychee taste, with a good hint of vodka & midori.
Tasted very refreshing & sweet! Something most girls would most likely fancy.
Cute presentation too! Major hearts (literally) for this cocktail!
The final cocktail that I am going to write about (because at this point, you must be thinking – where's the food? So I'll let you discover the other cocktails yourself!) is a cocktail named Coco's Nutz (RM28) .
I swear I can't be the only one who found that name particularly amusing. Teehee.
Looks like it's fresh off a tropical island, no?
I enjoyed its milky, creamy texture with a good blend of Malibu, Rum & fresh coconut juice. So rich!
Heck, it's no wonder it bagged the Winning Cocktail in 2011's JTI Horeca Bartending Contest
Rebecca & I getting a mouthful of the intricately made cocktails!
Okay, on to the food! I wonder if the cocktails were served to alter the receptivity of my tastebuds?
I'm joking; of course it didn't! I actually had the cocktails sparingly in between meals, not all in one go!
Chefs hard at work preparing our meals in Kyoto Lab's open concept kitchen
One of my favorite entrees was the Salmon Potato Salad with Truffle Oil (RM18)
I love salmon. I love Potato Salad. I love lettuce. When combined, I trust it will be absolutely divine.
A simple entree but it sure as ever was a delicious kick-start!
Prawns, Avocado & Crab Meat Timbale (RM12)
This is an entree of amazing flavours that I would most definitely vouch for!
The three main ingredients fused together so well, almost a melt-in-your-mouth combo
Another light bite I had was Sashimi Nouyeou Salmon Trout (RM25)
Sashimi lovers will be in for something really different!
Far from the traditional, plain, raw sashimi, this splendid take on sashimi
boasts a zestful but not-too-overpowering sweet & sour flavour with each bite
Next up and hot off the griller, was Kyoto Lab's skewered grilled meat.
Let's take a look at some of them!
Chicken/Beef Yakitori (RM8)
I have always fancied skewered meat doused in teriyaki sauce and this certainly did not disappoint.
Both the chicken and the beef were very tender and bursting with teriyaki goodness)
Gyuniku Asparamaki (RM10).
This was arguably my favorite dish of the evening
Being a pro-health junkie, I took so much pleasure in relishing this skewered asparagus wrapped in grilled beef strips served with Teriyaki sauce & sesame seeds. I ABSOLUTELY MUST have it again!
Scallop Misoyaki (RM15)
The soft & melt-in-your-mouth scallops marinated sweet & salty miso sauce will never be enough!
One bite gets you hooked – not even joking
Is it epic mealtime yet? The following dish was pretty damn marvellous to me.
The Green Monster Lamb Burger with Mint Sauce (RM28)
I love lamb! Served with potato wedges & onion rings, the Green Monster's lamb patties packed a punch!
It was so juicy and the taste of well-done lamb with mint sauce ruled my tastebuds. Thumbs up
The following "burger" blew me away & made me appreciate steak a little more! (I was never a fan, tbh)
Portobello Mushroom sandwiched between two thick slabs of medium steak with grilled Zucchini
Australian Grain-Fed Chilled Tenderloin (RM60)
I have never seen something quite like that before.
Perhaps the closest would be KFC's Double Down but it pales in comparison!
A cross-section of the meal
You have no idea how I ravaged the poor thing.
I devoured the portobello mushroom (heh, I love my vegetables more than my meat), but each time I sank my teeth into it I made sure I had a bite of the thick, succulent tenderloin as well
Now, what about dishes from the fryer? I immediately pointed to another one of my personal favorite.
Soft Shell Crab (RM25)
Despite the creative experimenting, Kyoto Lab did a great job in their basic Japanese dishes too.
It was crispy enough on the outside, but soft and juicy on the inside – just like how a perfect soft shell crab dish should be!
We squeezed a lemon that accompanied the crabs for that extra citrus boom
Curry Flavoured Wings (RM18)
For the peeps who never fail to have fried chicken wings or chicken drummets, you can opt for this.
It was served with a helping of salad & a slice of lemon too. I didn't eat this one but boyfieKon said it was as it is – not too spicy!
Now, what's Japanese cuisine without its sushi and maki rolls, hey?
But the first one I'm going to talk about comes with a slight twist as well
Tuna & Mango Roll (RM20)
This maki could be an acquired taste, if you aren't too keen on mango. But I am, and this is pretty swell!
The interesting (but slightly odd!) combination is really something you should definitely explore!
Green Dragon (RM24)
You can never go wrong with a dragon roll!
The prawn, avocado & Japanese mayonaise rolled into a tight rice-wrapped seaweed is a must-eat!
Cheesy Fire Roll (RM24)
Sushi with cheese is pretty new to me, although it's something I've tasted before.
This version however, was delicious with its combination of crab meat, roe, Japanese cucumber, cheeeeeeese and wasabi!
You just gotta dig in!
On to the dessert!
I was full to the brim so I didn't help myself with any. BoyfieKon ordered this for himself –
Sakae Wine Poached Pear & Green Tea Ice-Cream (RM15)
He mentioned to me that the pear had a bitter-sweet after taste to it
And that wraps up the wide array of choices of my dinner. You should totally put your explorer hats on and check out this Japanese "secret laboratory" for yourself tucked away like a hideout upstairs Ampang's The Pool KL.
I had a brilliant time there experimenting & tasting new stuff that tantalized
my tastebuds however strange it initially felt
Thank you Kyoto Lab for an evening with a nouveau twist to the traditional Japanese fare I've known all my life!
You know what to do now, if you're up for taking your tastebuds on a fascinating adventure!