September 16th, 2021
Shin Nihon at Desa Sri Hartamas: Restaurant review
This review is brought to you in part by Shin Nihon.
Beef-eaters, unite: If you’re a fan of red meat, Shin Nihon could become one of your favourite new destinations; with multiple outposts in Tokyo, this charcoal-grilled beef purveyor unveils its first Malaysian branch this month, bringing its hot-blooded, full-fleshed take on the yakiniku experience to Desa Sri Hartamas.
Stepping into Shin Nihon, you’ll see its Australian-bred beef on proud display, both physically and on a menu that showcases bovine temptations on virtually every page. The open kitchen is packed with cooks preparing your meat, seasoning it slightly with salt and pepper before it’s carried out to your table, where the team can barbecue your beef for you (medium rare, by default), unless you prefer to do it yourself.
Before we begin the BBQ, let’s unpack Shin Nihon’s comprehensive selection: We love the Premium Yukke (RM40), the Eastern take on steak tartare, a petite bowl of raw wagyu beef mixed with spices and vegetables, lovably luscious and well-developed in flavour. If you prefer a high-temperature comfort-food offering, the Gyu Suji Shio Nikomi (RM 26) is a meaty braise with radish; both the beef and broth are boiled for several hours, resulting in irreproachably tender protein that’s balanced by a soup with zest. Rice and noodle devotees can opt for the Gyu no Tataki Don (RM28; steamed rice draped with plenty of quick-seared slices of beef, made extra-glorious with an egg yolk) and the Gyu Kotsu Ramen (RM24; with a base of beef bone broth that’s a rich, sweet change from the typical pork and chicken variations). For fibre, the Kale Salad (RM26) showcases a vegetable that’s not conventionally spotted at Japanese restaurants, crunchy and tastily dressed.
The barbecue begins! Commence with the Atsugiri Tan Shio (RM35), thickly cut tongue that’s sliced into smaller pieces for cooking. This was a satisfying surprise, with a solid bite and succulent chew, dipped into a little lemon juice before eating. Tongue action at its most fulfilling; order this, definitely.
Today’s Premium 4 Cuts is the ideal introduction to Shin Nihon; it’s worth splurging on 200 grams of wagyu for RM140, sampling clearly identified choice cuts of meat selected by the kitchen – for our visit, sirloin, tenderloin, chuck eye roll and brisket. Each mouthful proves luxuriously smooth and addictively juicy; it’s also fun to examine the differences between each cut, which you can dab with a soy-based tare sauce or pink salt for extra punch. You can also opt for more budget-friendly regular beef (which starts at RM60) instead of wagyu, or on the other end of the spectrum for larger groups of customers, order a one-kilogram serving that comes in a striking boat-shaped serving presentation.
The yakiniku experience also extends to the interesting Premium Yaki Shabu (RM50), relatively thinly sliced shabu shabu-style wagyu meat, dipped into dashi broth with vegetables, for flavours that are simultaneously nuanced and umami-filled …
… and offal options like Shimacho (RM20); these intestines pack plenty of intriguing texture and flavour – chewy, slightly crispy, fatty and very savoury, in an unmistakably beefy way. They taste so sinful, you might be stricken by guilt from gobbling them up, but they’re irresistible.
Shin Nihon has sushi too, substituting seafood with beef, of course. The Premium Gyu Nigiri (RM9) most resembles traditional sushi with tenderly cooked slices of wagyu beef and an uplifting dash of wasabi on top. If you crave spectacle, check out the Roasted Ribeye Sushi (RM25), torched topside in front of you, blanketing both the rice and ultimately, your taste buds for an indelible indulgence to cap your dinner here.
For drinks, the beef can be impeccably paired with the house red wine (RM19 per glass). If you’re feeling lucky, you can play Suntory Whisky Soda Highball game of chance, in which you roll a pair of dice for your drink. If you end up with an even number combined, you can purchase a regular glass for RM10; if you get an odd-number total, you’ll enjoy a mega 700-ml glass at RM35. If you roll the same number on both, you’ll get a regular glass on the house.
Thanks to Shin Nihon for giving us a glimpse of beef paradise.
Note: Shin Nihon’s sister restaurant is located a few doors away – the yakitori specialist Toridoki.
Location & Details
Address:No. 26, Jalan 24/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur.
Hours: Daily, 530pm–1am
Find: View directory for Shin Nihon here.