Friday, 2 August 2013

Matsu, Japanese Restaurant, Lone Pine Hotel, Batu Ferinnghi, Penang, Malaysia

Matsu, Japanese Restaurant, Lone Pine Hotel,
Matsu, Japanese Restaurant

Matsu Japanese Restaurant, Lone Pine Hotel


Upstairs from batubar at Lone Pine Hotel you find Mastu, the only Japanese restaurant on Batu Ferringhi. You wouldn’t know it though as they don’t take advantage of the fact that they have a hold on the market. Crusading, as if fighting the fiercest of competition, they provide only top quality dishes with stylish presentation and excellent service.

Traditional Japanese food is served at Matsu, but in a contemporary setting. You’ll find no private rooms or low floor seating, but a modern ambience with glass walls allowing both ocean and garden vistas. A patio offers outdoor tables and is quite pleasant in the evenings cooled by air drifting in off the sea.

The mood music too is contempo. Lively Japanese pop tunes and other international artists tingle the sound system. Chopping sounds from the kitchen almost provide supporting percussion to the boppy beats.

Chef Alex Ong is the man leading the kitchen. Dedication to hard work, perfection and creativity are clearly evident in his menu. Dishes are fresh and presentation holds true to the Japanese belief that you “eat first with your eyes,” with Chef Alex adding his own touch of style to every plate.

Here’s our exploration of the menu:

Shashimi Moriawase for two persons (RM160) included five different kinds of imported raw fish chosen daily by the chef for their freshness. Presented in a large iced white bowl, the plate was a glorious garden of the best of the sea. Neatly arranged cucumber wafers mimicked fan shells providing a backdrop to the brightly coloured fish and crustaceans. Black rocks added drama to the presentation.

Prawns (ama ebi), surf clam (hokkigai), white tuna (shiro maguro, also known as butter fish), yellow fin tuna (kihata maguro), salmon (sake) and yellow tail (hamachi) are what were fresh on our visit. Sliced to just the right thickness, each melted in the mouth with its own delicate flavour and distinct texture.

Matsu, Japanese Restaurant, Lone Pine,
Shashimi Moriawase
All were delicious, but the fight for the last pink, draping-as-if-a-silk ribbon, piece of pink salmon was a battle of the least polite. I won – hee, hee! Hubby wasn’t too disappointed though as that meant he had rights over the last of the prawns which in his words were, “the butteriest critters in the sea.”

Ika Naruto Age (RM28) were deep fried calamari seaweed rolls with a lemon mayonnaise. The primary ingredient, Pacific flying squid, are giant sized and held in esteem for their sweet flavour. Fried kelp tangles garnished the dish with a salty seaweedy sapidity. Squeeze a few drops of lemon on top and dab in the home made mayonnaise for the ultimate taste sensation.

Matsu, Japanese Restaurant, Lone Pine,
Ika Naruto Age (RM28) 
The Beef Enoki Roll (RM39) was a long slice of beef wound with stringy enoki mushrooms and cooked Teppanyaki style in a red wine sauce. Again presentation was striking. Layers of cut rolls exposed hairy mushrooms from the bottom, and long stalks poking out the top. Spring onions left a green trace in the roll and shavings of fried garlic on the side spiked up the flavour. These mouthfuls of texture warranted a number of bites.

Matsu, Japanese Restaurant, Lone Pine,
Beef Enoki Roll (RM39)

Pepper Tuna Tataki (RM39) was seared exceptionally lightly turning just the edges a pale fawn colour and the heart remained a rosy pink. A fan of tuna slices fanned upwards towards a green garnish supported by shredded white radish. Pink peppercorns and fine circles of spring onions showered the top. Seasoned with a spicy Japanese citrus sauce, this delicate dish received lots of satisfied, mmms of satisfaction.

Matsu, Japanese Restaurant, Lone Pine,
Pepper Tuna Tataki (RM39)
Salmon Skin Salad with Soft Shell Crab (RM28) presented as a bowl of leafy salad holding cucumber rounds, tomato wedges and white onion rings. Brittle fish skin spiked from above and the fried pieces of crab were a solid foundation in the middle. A Japanese wafu vinaigrette dressed the dish and was eagerly soaked up to finish the last drops with lingering lettuce leaves.

Matsu, Japanese Restaurant, Lone Pine,
Salmon Skin Salad with Soft Shell Crab (RM28) 
Said to be the favourite roll of sumo wrestlers, the Sumo-San Maki (RM38) even resembled the plump girth of one of these giants. With crab and avocado in the centre, a lazy wad of pink salmon draped above and, finally crowned with juicy roe and white sesame seeds, we can see why these are popular.

Matsu, Japanese Restaurant, Lone Pine,
Sumo-San Maki (RM38) 
This alliterated roll, the Mega Mango Maki Madness (RM38) caused the tongue to pleasantly twist in more ways than mere pronunciation. This reversed roll held assorted raw fish and was hatted with canary yellow slices of tropical fruit. A bite of chili at the end zestfully surprised.

Matsu, Japanese Restaurant, Lone Pine,
Mega Mango Maki Madness (RM38)
Desserts are not to be missed at Matsu. They’re all proudly made in the Japanese kitchen from scratch. The Matcha Tiramisu with Orange Twist (RM18) is a tri-coloured square - the base, a thin lining of soft matcha sponge, the middle, a strip of white and, the top a pale kaki. Crushed nuts, a ruby red strawberry and a chocolate truffle garnish the top.

Matsu, Japanese Restaurant, Lone Pine,
Matcha Tiramisu with Orange Twist (RM18) 
Black sesame, Kurogoma Ice Cream (RM12) was a creamy chilled silver-grey ball. An understated sesame taste was infused throughout the thick velvety orb. Roasted sesame seeds, crushed peanuts and a spear of white chocolate adorned the top. Both desserts were heavenly and proved yet another battle for our spoons to get the last scoop.

Matsu, Japanese Restaurant, Lone Pine,
Black sesame, Kurogoma Ice Cream (RM12) 

Reason to visit: Dare I say everything mentioned above? Truly, it was THAT good.

Matsu
97 Batu Ferringhi
11100 Penang
Malaysia
+6 04 886 8555
lonepinehotel.com
Open daily 6:30pm – 11:30pm


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5 comments:

  1. All look good, dunno which to choose...

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  2. I've heard of this place before, i think its one of the most expensive Japanese restaurants in Penang but of course, the quality should be good either, looking forward to visit this place :)

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  3. what a lovely space, so blessed with natural sunlight. would be great for lunch :D

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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