• Ronn Tan

A Raw Review: Nippori Bistro, Petaling Jaya

Hello there, it's Ronn!

A Raw Review. My column where I give my honest reviews of all the noms I have had the opportunity to try; delivering the true essence of food reviews: raw.

It's fun, casual, and simple; and I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts as much as I enjoy writing them for you.

Nippori Bistro, one of the newest eateries in town, is operated by Haraju Holdings — the group behind culinary destinations such as Nippori Cafe, Haraju Cube, and Haraju Bakery. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Nippori Bistro can be described as a larger-than-life spinoff of its predecessors.

On the outside, you will first notice a white facade with large windows but step into the restaurant and you'll find yourself admiring its intricacies. There's the massive portrait of Mona Lisa (not exactly), the high ceilings, a modern take on zashiki, and unique light installations.

The menu here is an eccentric mix of Japanese and European (with heavy French influences). A quick glance at the extensive menu and you'll be sure to understand why. Here are the dishes I tried when I was at Nippori Bistro:

1 | Fresh Oysters (RM38)

Served with oroshi ponzu sauce and fresh lemon, each plate consists of six pieces. Ideal as an appetiser, expect a citrus burst that (actually) opens up your palate. While not everyone's a fan of oysters (or of seafood; let alone raw!), I definitely am.

I thoroughly enjoyed the mild brackishness that comes with the ponzu sauce. As a result, the oysters — which tend to be briny and creamy on their own — are slightly tart and acidic with the addition of oroshi ponzu sauce.

Yes, the oysters don't exactly smell like ocean breeze but if you're up for a rude yet definitely palatable awakening — they are worth giving a go.

2 | Tomato Gyoza (RM32)

Here, you have a bowl of hand-wrapped cheese-infused chicken gyozas that's served with slow cooked tomato cream soup. Described as Washoku (or simply — Japanese cuisine), this is a rather simple dish by appearance but it sure packs a creamy punch in terms of flavour profile.

Begin your immaculate culinary adventure by taking sips of the tomato cream soup. Albeit a tad lighter in consistency than expected, the soup sure exudes warmth and comfort. Seasoned well, you get a satisfying fusion of sweet and tangy.

Prepared as soup instead of sauce (hence, the light consistency), the tomato cream soup complements the gyozas rather well. The chicken gyozas were actually really enjoyable on their own with ample softness. All in all, this is a pleasant option if you're up for a different take on your usual gyoza concoctions.

3 | Deep Sea Kombu (RM39)

Alright, alright, alright. Before I arrived at Nippori Bistro, this is the one dish I was thoroughly excited to try. Topped with crispy seaweed, the spaghetti dish is cooked with a selection of seafood and a heavy cream sauce base that's prepared with melted deep sea seaweed.

On first glance, it's clear that what you see is a gastronomical ecosystem — all in a single bowl. It's a toothsome dish with the highlight being the kombu cream sauce — also known as the umami provider (at least that's how I describe it). It has a melodious depth and it's filled with savoury undertones.

If there's a dish I would order from this list, it'd be this. However, it is a massive dish and can be too heavy for some. I recommend sharing the portion to maximise satisfaction.

4 | The Expensive One (RM65)

It's easy to understand why it's named The Expensive One. The thin crust pizza is topped with unagi cubes, caramelised foie gras, wagyu beef cubes, black tobiko, and homemade teriyaki sauce. Basically, the creme de la creme of fine ingredients.

The concoction is by no means traditional in approach. After all, it's an assimilation of a variety of culinary cultures: Japanese, French, and Italian. Aptly named, this is the most expensive pizza on the menu.

On my first bite, confusion is to be expected. You get a plethora of different flavour profiles — akin to a clash for the strongest ingredient. Give it some time and you'll realise that there's a sense of wit that's infused in and on the pizza. You'll get highly concentrated flavours; each offering balancing amounts of sweet and savoury.

Nippori Bistro's menu is filled with a multitude of unique creations and I'd love to return for more — especially to check out the Washoku and dessert options. Have you been to the restaurant?


B Land, Seksyen 51a, Petaling Jaya

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