REGULAR updates to its menu and reasonable prices have been key to Matsuki Japanese Restaurant’s longevity. Now in its 17th year, it still draws in the crowds with tasty new offerings.
Located along Jalan Pemenang, off Gurney Drive (formerly part of Cantonment Road), the family-run eatery in Penang is popular among locals and Japanese expatriates for having almost everything under the rising sun.
Their extensive repertoire of pork-free dishes — from sushi to sashimi, bento sets to tempura — is a result of constant additions over the years, and gives diners something new and exciting to feast their taste buds on, every so often.
Most recent items include the Saba and Zaru Soba Set (mackerel and cold noodles), which is a boon to the health conscious. The fish, lightly seasoned with salt and teriyaki sauce, is grilled just right.
The cold noodles complement the fish’s strong flavours nicely but those not keen on the former can have it swapped for warm noodles or udon instead. The set comes with chawanmushi (steamed egg), miso soup, pickles and fruits.
The Miso Katsu (chicken chargrilled with miso paste) is poised to be a bestseller. Savoury with hints of sweetness, it is great both as a snack on its own and when paired with rice.
Some items bear slight, fusion twists like the Ebi To Avocado No Wafu Chikin Set (pan fried prawns, chicken and avocado in wafu sauce). A colourful melange of flavours and contrasting textures, it similarly comes with the typical, set items.
There is also the Tori Katsu Curry Udon, which is two deep fried chicken skewers, and a hearty bowl of sweet, Japanese curry noodles.
On top of that, more dishes are on the horizon. A sashimi and udon set, and around eight types of new maki rolls are poised to make their debut sometime in April.
Despite the new additions, regulars would find it comforting to know that time-honoured favourites always remain. These include the selection of sashimi, freshly flown in several time a week.
There is also a myriad of traditional Japanese delicacies like gyoza (dumplings), sukiyaki (stew), teppanyaki (grilled items), and the customary sushi.
Their Chicken Teriyaki, basted in sweet soy sauce marinade and grilled, is often lauded, thanks to its sauce, which is thicker and more flavourful than those commonly found elsewhere.
Among other popular items are the Hotate Mayo (scallops baked in mayonnaise), Salmon Skin Salad, Sashimi Salad and Unagi Tofu.
The restaurant is particular busy during lunch times, as nearby office workers and residents come to savour the reasonably-priced set meals, ranging from RM12+ onwards.
There are some 70 choices, with a free scoop of Haagen-Dazs or Baskin Robbins ice cream for dessert. The sets are also available for dinnertime but minus the ice cream.
The restaurant’s main dining hall, with modest wooden furnishings, is complemented by four private rooms (three of them tatami-style), which are available for private gatherings and parties.
Up front, its large compound affords customers ample parking space. Business hours are from noon to 2.30pm for lunch, and from 6pm to 10.30pm for dinner. For reservations, call 04-2295504.