With masculine black walls, wood accents and cast iron swing doors, transport yourself to urban Japan at Torii and indulge in the twin pleasures of yakitori and divine whisky
“Torii is like an ex-boyfriend I keep going back to,” says a friend of mine when I tell her I’m checking out KL’s latest Japanese Gastro Bar. “I love the place, the food is just amaze.” She gushes.
Not even a year old and already Torii has racked up a reputation for being one of the best yakitori joints in the city and boasts the largest range of Japanese single malt whiskies in the country. Described as a modern interpretation of an izakaya, this dining experience can be found inconspicuously tucked in the neighbourhood of Taman Tun Dr. Ismail yet on any given night, this establishment is packed with a sexy clientele, usually regulars who know they won’t be disappointed.
Whether it’s date night or supper and a nightcap, Torii’s menu is updated every three to four months, which explains why its customers keep coming back for more. The stars of the show are definitely Torii’s repertoire of yakitori skewers that are grilled atop low-heat Binchō-tan (white charcoal) that does not release smoke or unpleasant odours, keeping your lightly salt-seasoned grilled meats at its purest form. The chicken skewers benefit the most, as the meats are cooked to perfection on the inside whilst maintaining a crunchy exterior.
If there’s one thing that stands out it’s how perfectly timed each dish is served – nothing comes cold, and everything is perfectly cooked by the time it reaches your table, and at regular intervals. You get to savour each mouth-watering skewer without having to wait too long for the next one to arrive.
The delicacies are definitely worth a try too, from the appetizing Crustacean Bisque, to the Bonded Unagi & Foie Gras and the interesting take on the classic egg custard dish using duck’s eggs in the Trifecta Mushi, exquisitely garnished with ikura, foie gras and shrimp.
For dessert, I tried the deconstructed Raw Lime Cheese Cake with Green Tea Ice Cream (which is made exclusively for Torii by artisanal ice cream makers, Forty Licks) that was a surprise to the senses as it played on texture and contrasting flavours that when combined, came together elegantly for the perfect dessert.
Tantalize your taste buds with the extensive cocktail collection; we suggest trying the Garden Sake for meals, presented in quintessential Japanese fashion with an orange peel ‘flower’ and cucumber ‘leaves’. The combination of sake, gin, cucumber, sweet and sour mix is refreshing in this pretty cocktail.
Having completed the meal, exhausted from having my mind blown with each bite throughout the entire night, I finally understand my friend’s predicament. Torii is not expensive per se, but due to the amount you’ll end up ordering it can be quite the costly experience. But like a moth to a flame.. sometimes it really is worth it.
Yakitori We Like
Wings – Sea salted, it’s crispy on the outside but oh-so-succulent on the inside. The simplicity of the ingredients really shines
Wagyu – Buttery, rich and delicious. The Marble 7 wagyu sirloin just melts in your mouth!
Crispy Skin – Crunchy, salty goodness and not at all oily. The slice of lemon provides the right balance.
Beef Enoki – Thinly sliced beef, wrapped around crunchy slices of enoki.
Salmon Cubes – If you like melt-in-your-mouth salmon, this is perfectly timed and just fatty enough!
Smoked Duck – Flavoured with sea salt and Welsh onion
18 Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 1, TTDI, 60000 Kuala Lumpur
+603 7733 9309 / +6011 3301 9923
Text: Audra Roslani
Photos: Lucas Lau | Point Form Digital