HAVING a background in graphic design has been an asset for Janet Chia and Phoebe Ting, as it helps them to come up with creative ideas and craft unique dishes at their Japanese restaurant.
“We studied graphic design and ran a printing and premium gift business prior to opening the restaurant. So having a background in the visual arts is an advantage for us, ” said the co-founders of Washoku Kinrara.
The restaurant located in Bandar Kinrara, Puchong, opened three years ago but was rebranded as Washoku (literally meaning Japanese cuisine) early last year, when the co-founders decided to change the concept and expand its menu.
In addition to offering affordable Japanese food in a fuss-free setting, Chia said Washoku takes on a modern, fusion approach by regularly updating its menu based on what is popular as well as offering healthier options to cater to its diverse customers.
“Earlier this year, we introduced sushi using five grain rice as well as dishes featuring avocado and pumpkin.
“These dishes are popular among more health-conscious and elderly diners, ” said Ting, adding that Washoku is a family-friendly restaurant and its customers comprised people from different generations.
“We also introduced ice plant, a leafy vegetable with a crunchy texture that we use for salads. Ice plant is also said to have health benefits.”
The Whole Grain Sushi (RM19.90) features a platter of popular sushi such as salmon, ebi (shrimp) and tamago (egg).
It tastes and looks just like normal sushi, except for the purple-hued mixed grains rice made from a combination of brown rice, millet, red rice and two other grains. Ting said vinegar is used to make the rice sticky.
The Fish Skin Ice Plant (RM12.90) was a personal favourite. The deep-fried fish skin added crunch to the crisp salad, which was accompanied with a tart wafu sauce.
From the set lunch and dinner menu comes options such as Healthy Pumpkin Udon (RM15.90) with pumpkin, fresh mushroom, sweet corn, beancurd and carrot as well as Mixed Mushroom Udon (RM15.90). The udon can be replaced with ramen, soba or rice.
Washoku’s take on Western-style burgers is the Sushi Burger (RM9.90) using sushi rice patties as the burger bun.
Filling options include hot and spicy tori karaage (fried chicken), unagi (freshwater eel), salmon teriyaki and avocado.
“Based on customers’ request, we also recently unveiled several beef and Korean-style dishes, ” said Chia.
These include Sukiyaki-Style Zen Beef Set (beef hot pot – RM33.90), Jigoku Ramen (noodles and beef served in a spicy soup – RM18.90), Yakinikugyu Don (beef and rice with lava egg – RM15.90), Spicy Kimchi Gyu (beef stir-fried with fermented vegetables and glass noodles – RM18.90) and Gyuniku Cheese Maki (sushi roll with cream cheese, beef and avocado - RM16.90).
In addition to an extensive a la carte menu, Washoku’s conveyor belt offers a wide variety of sushi options with prices ranging from RM1.70 to RM4.70 per plate.
One of the restaurant’s bestsellers is the Sushi Cake, a customisable dish featuring assorted sushi stacked and presented in the shape of a cake, then topped with a candle.
The Sushi Cake can be ordered for small to large groups and tailored to suit dining preferences, such as having more child-friendly options or more seafood sushi.
Available through advanced reservations, all the sushi for the Sushi Cake comes from Washoku’s existing menu.
Washoku also offers festive-inspired dishes, such as Christmas tree and Christmas laurel-shaped sushi platters for Christmas last year and yee sang and poon choy (prosperity pot) for Chinese New Year this year.
Both Chia and Ting said it was beyond their expectations when Washoku was able to expand to two other locations.
The same menu is available at Washoku Sunway, which opened in August last year, and Washoku Taipan, which opened in February.
WASHOKU KINRARA, 11, Jalan BK5A/ 3A, Bandar Kinrara, Puchong. (Tel: 03-8074 7848 – Kinrara, 03-8081 6161 – Taipan, 012-936 1355 – Sunway). Business hours: Noon to 10pm (Monday to Friday), 11.30am to 10pm (Saturday, Sunday and public holidays). Pork-free.
This is the writer’s observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.