Ever since Jogoya, the famous restaurant from Taiwan opened in Starhill Gallery, there has been a buzz around town saying how great the food selection is. Recently a whole group of us managed to catch the action there and I must admit the food is excellent even though the restaurant still has a few hiccups to look into. We also took the opportunity to savour the seafood delights at discounted prices since they were running an opening promotion of RM10 off their usual charges. The promotion ends on 31 March, 2006.
The restaurant is located on the third floor (also known as the Relish Level) of the newly revamped Starhill Gallery and is enormous with 30,000 square feet of space. It's advisable you book a table but you will still need to queue in front to pay for your meal in advance. The restaurant is pretty dark and full of little corners and nooks and can fit up to 580 people. I took this sneak view of the restaurant from the outside through the wooden slats that front the place hence you can see the slice of light from outside versus the dimly lit restaurant.
Since it was a big group of us, we got a round table to ourselves tucked in one little corner. If it's two of you at this place, they give you a nifty sized booth with not much of a view as it faces a wall. There are also VIP rooms with special titles like reunion, giving, I love you and etc. Each of these rooms can be used for different purposes, for instance the reunion room is perfect for families to spend time together at the dinner table. Every table gets a portable burner that is great for keeping your food warm and cooking certain dishes like the claypot items. You also get a metal clip (seen above) with your table number on it. When you peruse the different counters and want a cooked meal, drop this metal clip at the basket and they will send you the food once it is ready. Be warned though, it takes quite a while.
As the place is huge, one gets really confused on what they have and where things are located around the different counters. I spent quite a bit of time at the sashimi/sushi counter since it is my favourite food plus it had great light there. There were a small selection of makis, nigiri sushi at one side like this California Maki. You could also order a California roll to be hand rolled from the counter. Next to it is a selection of cold appetizers like winkles in chilli sauce, wakame seaweed, cold cha soba noodles and etc.
Their sashimi and raw seafood is packed on top of beds of crushed ice and a layer of dry ice that emits this ghostly smoke from underneath. It's an excellent idea as it keeps the seafood like these raw oysters so fresh.
There is a huge selection of sashimi but my favourites were the buttery salmon and scallop which I took loads to be dipped in soya sauce and wasabi.
A selection of the sashimi counter: amaebi (sweet prawns), scallops, stuffed inari beancurd pouches or battleship sushi and tuna. You get a lot of fresh seafood at this place so load up on oysters, prawns (they use freshwater ones with the big heads), crabs, scallops and etc here.
This is one of the counters they have dotted around the restaurant. At this counter, they serve dimsum, chawan mushi and the paper pot soup. You choose from a selection of crabs, freshwater prawns, scallops, an interesting fish cake (has two layers) and vegetables for your soup. There is also a selection of soup broths i.e. miso seafood, chicken and tomyam.
Once you select the items for your soup, they will blanch it at the counter and pour it inside the paper pot. The hot soup broth is then ladled inside the paper pot. You can keep your soup warm at your table with the portable burner.
Another snapshot selection of items they have at Jogoya: baked cheese seafood, scallops and oysters which you can cook on clay pots at your portable burner, chawan mushi and xiao long bao. They also have excellent prawn tempura which comes encased in a light crispy batter.
Oysters are in abundance at this place - besides eating them raw, you can also get them baked with cheese. There is a cooked food section that allows you to select from drunken prawns, oysters with black bean sauce and etc. Another section has steamed fish and there is even an Indian section if you prefer your food spicy. I probably did not cover the entire selection as the place is so huge.
Special mention must be made about the desserts here. Although they have no traditional Japanese sweets like green tea matcha ice cream and mochi, they made our day with their Movenpick ice cream. We liked the maple walnut flavour best of the lot (as seen above) and kept going back for numerous tiny scoops. (Note that Marche serves this ice cream at about RM8 a scoop so this is a real good deal)
They also have a large selection of desserts behind a glass counter for you to choose from - tiramisu, cappucino mousse (seen above), fruit tarts, cheesecake, almond tuiles, herbal jelly with honey, puddings and etc. The cakes were nothing exceptional and after a nibble here and there, we just concentrated on the Movenpick ice cream. Another great thing about this place is their neverending supply of juices. We liked the sweet coconut water you get from tiny cute coconuts. There is also coffee you can make from their machines.
Like any other restaurant, this place is not perfect so there were little quirks here we thought entailed a little development. Since the place is so huge and confusing, suggestions to add a location map to the various counters would be appreciated. We also felt that the staff behind the counters were too busy to explain to us the various items served and how everything worked as there were moments of confusion. For instance, I was only able to work out how to get my paper pot soup when a nice lady waiting for her soup told me how it worked when she saw my confused face. They probably need a few wait staff circulating around the counters to explain how things work. Another gripe was although the wait staff was extremely polite and helpful, they could not really speak English well. What I like about the place is they seem to change if things do not work, for instance initially when they started out they did not blanch the items in the soup and it took forever to cook it at the portable burners. Another plus point is you can see the top management of YTL keeping an eye of things by patrolling the premises.
The restaurant also runs a VIP members program which entitles you to privileges such as special menu items. To qualify for the VIP membership, you need to purchase coupons for fifteen seatings in advance from the restaurant. The fifteen seatings allows you to visit the place at three different times. Once you have the coupon book, you can use this to order the special items on the menu. To give you an idea of it in monetary terms: You pay RM1,020 for fifteen seatings that is 5 @ RM68, 5 @ RM78 and 5 @RM88 (the various prices is due to the various times you are allowed to eat there). If you purchase the coupons after their 31 March, 2006 promotion, the price goes up to RM1,170.
If you love Japanese food especially fresh seafood, head over to this place as it won't dissapoint. Be prepared though to camp out at the place for almost two to three hours to get your money's worth.
T3, Relish Floor
Tel No: 03 - 2142 1268
Prices are RM78++ (Lunch - W/day is 11.30 am to 1.40pm, W/end is 11.00 am to 2.00pm), RM68++ (Late Lunch - W/day is 1.40 pm to 4.20pm, W/end is 2 pm to 4.20pm), RM88++ (Dinner - W/day and W/end is 5 pm to 9.30pm) and RM78++ (Supper - W/day and W/end is 9.30pm to 1am). Kids are charged RM10++ or more depending on their individual height.
*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from the restaurant for writing this review.
Tagged with: Jogoya + Starhill + Japanese Food
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