Monday, 10 December 2012

Gonbei San @ Starhill Gallery, KL

Ah...Gonbei San - the top guy of the fine dining buffet pyramid. Curious about its offerings and how much more fine dining it can get buffet-style, we headed over to Starhill Gallery one day. The whole mall exudes elegance and a sort of untouchable / unreachable sense to it (much like the elite Tan Sris and Puan Sris) and the same applies to Gonbei San.
The view from across
Main entrance
The main entrance itself feels surreal like you're entering an entirely different world. The drum is beaten once to signal your arrival and you have to walk through a series of criss-crossing bamboo poles shaped somewhat like a teepee to reach the inner chambers of the restaurant...
Once inside though, we found the seating arrangements here a little odd...most of the tables are 2-seaters and the seats are placed at a right angle. When we attempted to shift the chair so that we can be seated facing each other, the slightly snobbish manager hurried forward and told us sternly that we were not allowed to change the seating arrangements. Thankfully, a more experienced waitress came over and offered us another table.
Mango Juice
An assortment of juices is available for the little kids (in you)...
Sashimi! The whole point of going to a fine-dining Japanese restaurant is for their super fresh and juicy and bouncy sashimi! Here they have salmon, tuna and butterfish. Needless to say, the sashimi at Gonbei San totally lives up to expectations - chilled, juicy and bouncy - and we took many many servings...
Maki and more Sashimi!
I couldn't resist sneaking a few makis - here I've taken futomaki, soft shell crab maki and ebi maki =) The futomaki wasn't too well-prepared - I much prefer Sushi Zanmai's one. The ebi maki was average but the soft shell crab maki was really good. One point to note was the uneven and "un-clean" cut of the can see jagged bits of rice sticking out.
Pickled cold salad
The pickled seaweed on the left was typical but the one on the right which I couldn't figure out its contents, was kind of odd. It was crunchy and tasteless >.<
Seafood salad and carbs
  • I also couldn't resist sneaking a bowl of cold soba which was quite average. 
  • The seafood salad in Thousand Island sauce was fresh and yummy. 
  • The black blob on the plate is stewed hijiki, a type of sea vegetable, which was not too bad but Tenjin's version tastes much better and is more flavourful.
  • I love potato salads and this was no exception =D
The Chawanmushi has mushrooms, seaweed, bits of chicken bits and a squid ball and was slightly firm with a nice smooth texture.
Clockwise from top left are the prawns, beef, mussels, chicken, squid and fish teppanyaki. No prizes for guessing but I enjoyed the prawn teppanyaki the most as they were shelled (except for the tail bit) and you can just pop them into your mouth consecutively. The mussels were really good and juicy too. Actually, all of them were equally good and not the least dry.
From the left in a clockwise order, we've got tori karaage aka fried chicken, sakana katsu aka fish cutlets, tori katsu aka chicken cutlet, lamb teriyaki and butter fish fillet. They were deep-fried to perfection and very yummy.
Fried Rice
As usual, I had to satisfy my carby self so had this bowl of fried rice which was really good, perfectly separated rice grains and adequate wok hei.
Onsen Tamago
The onsen tamago was slurpilicious.
The tempura came with the usual dipping sauce.
Close-up of Tempura
We tried the prawn, sweet potato and ladies finger tempura and they were all good - light and not oily.
Traditional Japanese Dessert
These were my choice of desserts - mochi rolled in sugary peanut crumbs, chrysanthemum jelly with wolfberry and mini dorayakis filled with a choice of sweet red bean paste or smooth peanut butter.
I felt the mochi was slightly too sweet for me and after the heavy meal, I was really too lazy to chew on the gooey mochi. The mini dorayakis were addictive but there was no way of distinguishing which had peanut butter sandwiched in between and which had red bean paste.
My favourite was the chrysanthemum was totally refreshing with sweet wolfberries embedded in each slice. A real palate cleanser, I easily had 4 or 5 of those irresistible squares O.O
Western Dessert
There were many types of Western desserts available which included an assortment of cakes but as were totally stuffed, we only had a fruit tart and some chocolate dipped marshmallow and strawberry. These were typical Western desserts and not very outstanding.
Black Sesame Ice-Cream
There were many ice-cream flavours available but we only took the black sesame and green tea ice-cream.
Green Tea Ice-Cream
Both the black sesame and green tea ice-cream were velvety smooth and creamy with a strong black sesame and green tea taste respectively.
Overall, the sashimi here is really good and fresh and most of the food tasted quite good but at this price, I'd rather go for quality over quantity. Plus there are other buffet restaurants serving the same or even better quality food at a much cheaper price.
By the way, if you are a fan of novelty washrooms, do visit Gonbei San's as they've got a modified shishiodoshi for a tap!
PawPoints: 4 Paws
Pawket: Salami
Gonbei San
T2 Relish Floor
Starhill Gallery
Tel: 03 2782 3801
Daily: 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 11pm

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