Come here for the cheesecake and stay for the cheesecake. Also, it’s quite a pretty little place to dine at. And some of the dishes may well be worth the visit.
Take the escalators up through Isetan Lot 10 where the top floor beckons with the instantly recognizable sheets of red, draping luxuriously from the ceiling. It’s a dramatic dining room. Interior impressions aside though, the first thing you’ll likely notice when reaching is the snake-like queue at The Tokyo Restaurant, home to the overwhelmingly popular 6th Avenue Cheesecake. We’ve had it before. Several times. Okay, fine, we’ve had it a lot of times both because we genuinely love it and because we are shameless gluttons. What we haven’t had before was the rest of the food at The Tokyo Restaurant, and we sought to rectify that with our latest visit and to, as one Foodgazer put it, broaden our experiences beyond that of fromagey cake.
Special thanks to TTR and particularly Deborah for hosting us!
As is tradition in Japan, we started off with a salad (editor’s note: it IS tradition there, right? Can we get this fact-checked?). And not your usual ubiquitous soggy caesar salad that’s served as limp as Caesar’s body at the end of War for the Planet of Apes. No, friends, this here is the tofu wakame seaweed salad: a refreshing mix of Japanese tofu, seaweed, katsuoboshi (bonito flakes) and salmon skin. Drizzled with roasted sesame dressing, it was a pleasantly refreshing potpourri of clean flavours to wash away the dredges of alcohol from last night. And these bonito flakes genuinely taste better than the usual fare, which is surprising since they usually aren’t particularly noteworthy in most dishes.
The main thing that stood out, though, was the controlled balance of flavours. In particular, let us consider the dressing. It really was drizzled. And after hundreds of salads (and burgers!) in Malaysia that come with a shocking flood of sauce, this was a very welcome change of pace. Being able to appropriately dress a salad is typically the sign of a measured, controlled hand. And here is a photo of one of the owners of said controlled hands, preparing our next dish. Round of applause, if you please.
Next up was a sushi roll platter (RM 38), featuring a couple of mini roll pieces of, uh, sushi. There was, for instance, the unagi with cream cheese inside. Sure, the unagi isn’t Makoto-level, but it’s a good deal tastier than the average ones around. And the combination with cream cheese is brilliant. The umami meatiness and texture of the unagi is accentuated and complemented with a rich creaminess for a lovely little treat.
The California roll was a California roll (shoutout to Canada). The ikura roll was quite tasty though! I mean, look at that ikura, all plump and ready to explode. We obliged with eager bites that popped the delicate membranes and released the oozes of briny egg-matter or whatever it is these lovely orbs hold within.
Good old lamb. Growing up, I had minimal interaction with other human beings and it was only after the birth and maturing of Foodgazer that I realized there’s an incredibly big group of people out there who just do not like lamb at all. It smells, they say. It’s gamey. It’s gristly. The fat coagulates quickly and becomes a disgusting lip balm when cold. Strongly-flavoured meat is better suited for the peasants. And the list of complaints inevitably goes on and on as they attempt to rationalize the non-consumption of lamb. All well and good, but we fortunately do not have such discriminatory tastebuds. And as such, we gobbled down the “grilled lamb chop saikyo miso style” (RM 50) and tongue-wiped the plate clean afterwards.
As you may be able to make out from the shoddy photo above, there was some lovely caramelization on the lamb. The meat within was cooked medium-well, the fat was well rendered and there was a caramelized glaze glistening on the outside. Then we dipped into the green sauce and were pleasantly surprised by the burst of spice that handily cut through the fat and sent the tastebuds tingling ever so slightly. We were even more surprised to find that the sauce wasn’t supposed to be served with the lamb (as we were informed by the indomitable Deborah who somehow managed to provide us with very attentive service, whilst simultaneously handling a very-packed restaurant) and that it later popped up again with the beef omurice. It was a pleasant surprise though. That sauce works with the lamb, fam.
Oh boy. Look at that pretty pile of dried paprika on top. And you can’t quite see it from these shots but there are some perfectly crisp vegetables right underneath that made us very happy indeed. The chicken karaage itself was pleasant enough without being noteworthy. It did, however, provide a nice, light change of pace between the grilled lambo and…
…the BEEF OMURICE. Omelet. Beef curry. Rice. And the return of that spicy-but-not-too-spicy green chili sauce which rounded everything out with a depth and pleasing undercurrent of warmth. The curry was alright. The default plate is just the curry rice without the omelet but trust us when we say you absolutely have to add the egg on. Mandatory upsell, this (RM 22 + RM 8). It was wondrously fluffy, soft, and swirled; it existed in that uncertain-state of cooked well and not-quite cooked, and we enjoyed it tremendously.
In fact, this Foodgazer returned on a separate day with REDACTED to order the eggu a la carte but to our surprise it wasn’t quite the same. Almost like it needed to be paired with the curry rice and wasn’t made to exist separately.
For dessert, we had the fruits kakigori. Marinated fruit bits, some ginger, mint and mochi were topped with a sorbet. Shoutout to the strawberries which were delicate and delicious. And the mochi was lovely. I mean mochi generally is (how can you not love that bouncy chewy pillowy texture?) but this was especially pleasurable. Decent dessert overall. But it’s not the cheesecake, of course.
And, yeah, we had the cheesecake again.
Yes, it’s good. That’s not that much that needs to be said about it, really. Give it a shot yourself. Share it with someone. Gripe about work, talk about your travel plans, say the new Bojack season is just out and you’ve already marathoned it, say you don’t understand what you did wrong and why you weren’t good enough and why you couldn’t piece the words together to make her stay just a little longer, and debate the existential necessity of that dollop of cream at the tip of the cake (pictured above). I think it’s essential, frankly. It’s a light, airy fresh cream that doesn’t burst with artificial sweetness. BUT I do think it needs to be placed on the other end. On the thick butt of the cake, you’d get the firmer part of the cheesecake (with the slight bite and dryness as it approaches the burnt end) juxtaposed against the delicate softness of the cream. That’s probably the best way to pair them.
But it does look better this way. So maybe it matters more how it looks from the outside, eh?
Till we meet again, RM 18 cheesecake slice. Keep on haunting our dreams.
The Tokyo Restaurant can be found inside Isetan Lot 10, Bukit Bintang. Head up to the top floor (make a pit stop along the way to touch those incredibly fluffy towels on the 2nd floor). They’re open from 11am to 11pm every day. You can make reservations online or call them at +603-2119 2622.