Torii, Contemporary Japanese and Whiskey Bar, TTDI
Words by Brooke Keel
Photos by The Yum List (Monica Tindall)
Video by Anthony Jegu
A grown up and chilled out modern izakaya with a distinctly Malaysian flair, Torii is the place to be if you want to munch on delicious and perfectly portioned variations of yakitori fare while chatting the night away with friends and a drink (or two, etc…). The Yum List enjoyed a fantastic evening of tasting signature dishes, trying fresh and delightful cocktails, and pouring over choice whisky selections. The environment is decidedly adult, and although children are not prohibited, there are no baby chairs - the atmosphere is distinctly conducive to adult clientele looking to enjoy a casual and hip evening out.
|Preparing our Dinner|
We began with a selection of cocktails: The Torii (their signature cocktail), Garden Sake, Passionate Hakushi, and Kinomi Goes Wild. The first two were perfectly light and fresh; The Torii a fusion of Yamakazi 12, yuzu juice and gomme with soda, and the Garden Sake, a combo of sake, gin, sweet and sour mix and cucumber - perfect for the end to a warm, humid day. The second two were sweeter and more luscious; the Passionate Hakushi a mixture of Hakushu 12, honey (yum), passion fruit mix, with lemon, and the Kinomi Goes Wild, a fragrant blend of Hakushu 12, wild berries, sweet and sour, green tea and a slice of lemon.
Then came the food: small plates of delectable wonders from the kitchen just beyond. From our table, we saw the chef working the grill up to a nice steam as we began tasting the array of offerings from the kitchen. The Mango Prism Salad was an interesting amalgamation of lightly salty seaweed, mesclun mix, fresh mango and a simple soy dressing - a favorite to start. Next came the Avocado de la Mer - an amazing dish of baked seafood, avocado, mushrooms, piquant miso and cheese. This dish was loved by all and certainly makes the top of the list.
|Mango Prism Salad|
|Avocado de la Mer|
The follow up was mouthwatering Bonded Unagi and Foie Gras, a bite sized and delectable combo of grilled eel, egg, and pan seared foie gras. The Shrimp and Sea Urchin Tempura was the perfect combination of succulent shrimp in tempura topped with briny sea urchin and plum sea salt. The Wagyu Sliders were well loved by the table, home made and enveloped in light flavors of spinach and caramelized onions, then blanketed on either side by a house made scone (wonderful!). The final tasting from the ‘Delicacies’ portion of the menu was the Trifecta Mushi, a flavorsome twist on the conventional Japanese dish, made of ikura, foie gras, and shrimp in a creamy hot duck egg custard.
|Shrimp and Sea Urchin Tempura|
|Bonded Unagi and Foie Gras|
If you have a craving for grains, as many do, try the Torii Fried Rice from the ‘Wheat and Grains’ menu as we did. A traditionally comforting stir fried rice dish, this version was colorful, herb and garlic filled, and topped with extra foie gras. Certain to simultaneously hit the spot and provide a tasty kick.
|Torii Fried Rice|
Next came the skewers. Number one on our list was the Wings, perfectly cooked yakitori chicken, grilled Malaysian ‘garing’ style with a crispy skin rather than the typical succulent style. Homemade Beef Meatballs with sweet BBQ sauce were lightly salty on the outside and full flavoured on the inside. The Smoked Duck was embellished simply and deliciously with sea salt and welsh onion, while the Wagyu sirloin was uncomplicated with complimentary sea salt and black pepper. Grilled Crispy Skin and Crispy Soft Bones, a favorite duo among local Malaysians, also made use of this straightforward flavor enhancing combination of unfussy salt and pepper.
|Smoked Duck, Wagyu Sirloin, Wings, Lamb Chop|
|Crispy Soft Bones|
|Grilled Crispy Skin|
Not to be forgotten were grilled seafood and vegetable skewers. The lovely Okrah in soy sauce was lightly charred, the salted and buttered Sweet Potato skewers were bites of heaven, and the Squid Tentacles were delightful tastes of the sea accompanied by a tangy salsa.
|Okra, Gingo Nuts, Squid|
|Private Room - an adept location to partake in a few snifters of whiskey|
Finally we came to the final indulgences of the evening: Let’s begin with the whisky…
The Nikka Tatsekuru (17 yr) began with a fruity nose, followed by spiced vanilla and orange and ending with a medium length bittersweet cocoa, woody and still slightly fruity. The Longrow CV came next, a smoky start with peat and herb, followed by spices and citrus, smoke and toffee, then ending with oaked spice. Third was Ichiro’s malt Chichibu Port Pipe, a limited edition, pink tinged Japanese single malt whisky. This started with a nose of sweet berries, honey and wood, continued by a strong and still fruity, more citrusy middle. Upon the long finish, woods and honey emerge. We should mention that Torii is the only place in Malaysia in which you can find this treat. Our fourth whisky was the Diurach’s Own Isle of Jura (16 yr), which began with thick and sweet nutty caramel, followed by a drier, spicy, salty oak. It fades out earthy, dry and tinged with salt. We were pleasantly surprised to be treated to one last whisky, the Hudson Manhattan Rye Whisky, with a bready nose that becomes sweeter and more coconutty, with vanilla. Then comes honey, citrus and spice notes, finishing with toasted nuts and vanilla. This was most probably our favorite of the evening, but it was amongst tough competition.
|Torii houses a fantastic selection of whiskey personally chosen with many boutique labels not found elsewhere|
|Unagidon - something to fill the tummy when you want a yummy quick one bowl meal|
In addition to the alcoholic treats, we also had the luxury of trying a number of flavors of ice creams exclusively made for Torii by Forty Licks - you won’t find these anywhere else. Served in little tins along with wooden spoons, the flavours on the menu were: Whisky and Raisin, Dark Chocolate Sorbet, White Chocolate Lavender, Green Tea, and Yuzu Umeshu. All were incredibly delicious, we but couldn’t stop raving about the White Chocolate Lavender - subtly perfumed and creamy sweet.
|Forty Licks Ice Cream - Exclusive flavours for Torii|
From Sunday August 10th onwards, Torii will be open 7 days a week for dinner. The kitchen closes at 11:00 (11:30 on weekends), but stick around to enjoy your drink until 3am. Highly recommended for all around grown up deliciousness.
Reasons to visit: excellent selection of whiskeys; delicious contemporary Japanese menu; don't miss -Avocado de la Mer; Wagyu Sliders; Wings; Sweet Potato; White Chocolate and Lavendar Ice Cream.
Yakitori and Whisky Bar
18 Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 1
+6 03 6733 9309
+6 011 3301 9923