12 December 2010

Hokkaido Ichiba

The gates to Hokkaido. What did you think it was?
We had just finished watching the latest Harry Potter movie and it has to be said that Emma Watson can cast
Expelliarmus on me anytime. Anyway, the movie finished around mid-afternoon so it made the family and I famished as we had an early breakfast. As you you all know, you have to feed the muscle lest the muscle goes on a rampage and starts wrecking havoc on unsuspecting children.

Can you feel the Hokkaido-ness of this place?
RM and I have had meals here a few times already so we knew what to expect. It was already crowded by the time so we had to wait our turn while contemplating the food we were going to devour. While the wait took close to 20 minutes the ordering took 4. Fast? You bet your peace sign-lovin' Chinese girl we were fast. Being the musclehead bordering on the completely predictable, I ordered the failsafe and my perennial favourite, Katsu Don. The Muscle Foodie considers himself somewhat an expert on this dish as this would be his first choice in many a Japanese establishment.

I have high expectations.

Yes, that thing is terribly bright.
The decor of the place is undeniably Japanese. As can be seen from the not-so-pretty pictures, you get a sense you're in Japan albeit surrounded by Louis Vuitton-loving Chinese ladyfolk with a penchant for the hideous big brown bag of theirs. Music can be heard but the chatter of loud aunties and high-pitched Justin Bieber-like boys drown it so you're not missing much. If you get one of the cubicles, you'll be able to plonk your ass with 3 others pretty comfortably. Unless all of you are like miniature hippos.

One of my absolute Japanese meals looking pretty but its taste was anything but sterile. Kind of like local politics.
The food started arriving one by one and my order was first, naturally. It was a letdown. The overall taste can be summed up in one word: friggin' bland (punked you!). The chicken was bland and had more skin than flesh. The Muscle Foodie needs his flesh and he was not happy. RM's Unagi Don also suffered the same fate. And to be honest, I think we got obese eels because all I could taste was its fatty as heck skin.

My sisters ordered the beef and chicken teppanyaki. Now, I like my beef medium-rare so when my sister launched at the waitress to have her very well-done I nearly dropped my shorts. All the cardio can do that to a person. Lo and behold, it came very well-done, the flesh no longer juicy but tyre-like. Thanks, sis, the rubber was quite a mouthful. The seasoning used was also on the insipid side and had no distinct flavour. The chicken teppanyaki fared slightly better but it also suffered from fleshless syndrome.

Tough as nails the beef was.

The funny thing is that the previous times that RM and I went there we've come out happy customers. We've tried the Japanese curry rice with beef and a noodle dish with seafood in it. Those two were fantastic meals, the beef and curry were exceptional whilst the noodles were cooked expertly.

Mediocre at best.

Besides the aforementioned dishes, we've had dessert and they were all right, just too sweet for my liking. We don't know why this time we had such below par food. So it's a bit of a surprise that I would pay another visit there. The combination of good service and the aforementioned fantastic meals have done just enough.

Ah, pretty plates that weighed 50lbs. Serious.

For truly great Hokkaido food, I think I'd rather wait for Isetan's Hokkaido food fair.


  • Prices are what you'd expect from such an establishment, just about right.
  • Green tea is free-flowing which is a definite big plus. 
  • Staff are prompt. Another big plus. 


  • RM and I have had mixed fortunes coming here. Sometimes the food has been wonderful, sometimes woeful. This time was very woeful.
  • Queues can be very long. 
  • Big eaters may disappointed with the portions. 
Note: Apparently, Hokkaido Ichiba is actually the ice-cream joint right next to it whereas the lunch we had was in Kita no Zen. 

Hokkaido Ichiba
T-201, 3rd Floor,
The Gardens,
Mid Valley City,
Lingkaran Syed Putra,
59200 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 012-612 1060 / 03-2283 3060

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