The arrival of spring means only one thing in Japan: hanami — a time to start new beginnings as people get together to witness the beautiful cherry blossoms while they eat, drink and be merry. In most Japanese matsuri (festivals), the ‘eat’ aspect is particularly important, as you will find various food stalls offering all sorts of tantalising delicacies.
However, should you be unable to visit the Land of the Rising Sun, don’t fret because our friends over at Hilton Petaling Jaya have got you covered. This spring, Genji Restaurant at Hilton Petaling Jaya is offering some of the best Japanese spring specials to put you in the mood and start the season off on the right foot.
Using only fresh ingredients specially flown in from Japan, the menu, which is heavily inspired by two prominent Japanese cities, Osaka and Tokyo, is helmed by the expert hands of Chef Richard Teoh who has been professionally trained in those aforementioned cities before starting his 28-year tenure with Hilton.
When you first walk into the restaurant, you will find that it boasts a very serene setting, akin to that of a verdant Japanese park brimming with blooming sakura trees. Guests can also opt to dine in the private lounge areas should you seek more privacy.
Chef Richard Teoh uses rapeseed blossoms in four of his signature sakura dishes, a type of bright-yellow flowering vegetable harvested during spring and contains a natural source of energy, high in fibre, iron and protein.
This can be seen in the first dish, Nano Hana Otashi (RM36), comprising the blanched stems of rape blossoms in a light soy dressing. Although it may look simple, trust us, the dish will leave your taste buds wanting more and more as you relish it in your mouth.
The chef also uses rapeseed blossoms in Wagyu Beef Nano Hana Maki (RM160) and Nano Hana Teppanyaki (RM50). Both dishes are unique as they are prepared differently; one consists of thinly-sliced beef rolled with the stems of the rapeseed flowers, whereas the other is a delicious teppanyaki combined with rapeseed blossoms.
Another of our favourites is the Nano Hana Maki (RM55) – A pickled radish that has a sweet, crispy texture, topped with juicy avocado that totally elevates the overall taste.
Since every season brings forth a whole new flavour profile, the award-winning restaurant also features spring’s most celebrated ingredient – the sea bream or Tai, derived from the Japanese word medetai, signifying a fortunate event.
The most popular dish is, of course, the delicious Tai Sashimi (RM120) – Fresh slices of air-flown sea bream are served alongside soy sauce and wasabi. The melt-in-your-mouth sashimi tastes pristine and though packed with sweetness and umami, the fish is well-balanced and remains light.
On the other hand, guests should also take the opportunity to try out the Tai Misoyaki (RM130), Genji’s bestselling grilled air-flown eel, presented with sweet miso sauce which will definitely fascinate the taste buds. The mouth-watering maki has a distinct flavour that is rich and extremely gratifying.
Last but not least, after you are done savouring the mains, end your feast with Genji’s sweet and juicy Japanese Musk Melon (RM90) to cleanse your palate. This prized fruit in Japan could cost up to RM2,000 per fruit, and the taste, well, let’s just say that it can be compared to a delightful yet healthier version of cotton candy.