On a sunny Thursday lunchtime, my colleagues and I found our way to a quiet corner of The Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur that contains a secluded gastronomic haven in the form of a Japanese restaurant styled in a traditional ryokan called Kogetsu.
The restaurant was half full when we arrived, filled with families, couples and business people; yet it remained relatively peaceful throughout our time there. Perhaps, that’s what you get when you put people in a tranquil environment; they become more relaxed. In fact, even the name suggests peacefulness because Kogetsu means the ‘reflection of the moon on the water’, which I reckoned was inspired by the huge body of water next to it.
The space is divided into three sections: a floor of open seatings, a couple of sushi bars and private rooms for guests who appreciate extra privacy. The design follows classic Japanese aesthetics such as clean lines, dark wooden frames with unassuming furniture and latticed doors, making the space welcoming and inviting. The windows here are large too, framing views of the beautiful lake complete with a water fountain, including the surrounding trees, in the effort to bring the outdoors in.
Kogetsu is anchored by Chef Taketoshi Minami, who has over 20 years of experience under his belt. His extensive creations feature curated selection of fine Japanese delicacies that are impossible to devour in one single visit. There are à la carte options besides the set menus. For starter, try the Fuji Assorted Sushi Platter Combo (MYR 154++) that includes handmade sushi to honours the delicate flavours between the vinegared rice and seafood. The combo comprises some of the best sushi from the menu, including sea urchin sushi, salmon sushi, yellow tail fish sushi, fatty tuna, tuna berry, and tuna maki. The generous portions are also big enough to be shared among two persons.
Then, elevate your senses with the classic Hamachi Teriyaki (MYR 71++), which is grilled Yellowtail with sweet and savoury teriyaki sauce. The fish is commonly cured with salt to remove the smell, then marinated, and grilled a couple of times, resulting in a glazed soft flesh that goes well with a bowl of rice. Alternatively, tempura lovers can opt for the Tempura Moriawase (MYR 61++) that boasts assorted lightly battered seafood and vegetables.
We tempted our taste buds further by trying out some of the lunch sets available here. Personally, I consider the Makunouchi Bento set (MYR 74++) a wholesome meal, especially ideal for those who pressed for time, as it contains bits from the food pyramid such as Japanese pickles, vegetables, eggs, fish and rice. But if one prefers soba or udon instead, there is the equally delicious Chirashi Sushi Soba/Udon set (MYR 70++). Other standouts include the immaculately presented Sashimi to Unagi Kabayaki Teishoku (MYR 86++), which is assorted fresh raw fish and grilled eel with teriyaki sauce set, as well as the Sushi and Sashimi Bento set (MYR 90++) showcasing a selection of sushi, sashimi and various other delicacies.
All in all, I truly believe Kogetsu deserves to be respected for its quality, and Chef Taketoshi Minami’s culinary prowess reflects his uncanny devotion to his art. The restaurant is definitely a place where guests will want to revisit, be it for the great food or just simply to hide away from the hustle and bustle of the city. But don’t just take my word for it, try it for yourself…
Kogetsu restaurant opens every day from 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. For bookings, please visit www.saujanahotels.com/the-saujana-hotel/en/dining/kogetsu or call +6 03 7843 1234.