Rakuzen (樂膳) @ Gurney Paragon Mall, Penang.
Having visited both Sushi Zanmai and Pasta Zanmai previously, I thought it would be great for me to check Rakuzen out too, since the three companies belong to SuperDining group. Situated in between Sushi Zanmai and Pasta Zanmai at level 6 of Gurney Paragon Mall, Rakuzen is the most prestigious and upscale Japanese restaurant as compared to the early two. With their comprehensive menu, one needs to take a considerably amount of time to make a decision on what to order; however, it might be a disappointment for Ramen lovers, to my dismal, Rakuzen does not offer any Ramen dishes (yes, you can find Soba and Udon here but not Ramen). Service was not impeccable but considered attentive and prices are on the high side while most of the dishes I had were decent only. I am not too sure if I am willing to pay so much for a decent Japanese meal, I will probably return for an occasional visit.
After browsing at the menu, we've decided to go for their Hama Sashimi Moriawase (Rm 45) which comes with Akami (Tuna), Kanpachi (Yellow Tail), Salmon, Tako (Octopus) and Hotate (Scallop, substituted with Ika), 5 types of Sashimi in total and 2 pieces each; garnished with Shishoo Leaf, shredded Daikon and fresh Wasabi. This masterpiece is an art on its own, the thickly sliced fresh Sashimi was so delectable and with the right texture, the Sashimi was silky smooth. However, the price of this dish can be quite grueling on the wallet. I'd prefer the one I had at Sushi Zanmai, for the almost-similar quality and way cheaper price.
Intrigued by its presentation, I've decided to go for their Sakura Ebi no Hiyashi Somen/ Cold Thin Wheat Noodles with Sakura Shrimp (Rm 18) which comes with some silky smooth Wheat Noodles, Dried Shitake Mushrooms, Dried Sakura Shrimps, Japanese Yamaimo (Japanese Mountain Yam); garnished with Ikura (Salmon Roe) and doused with their Japanese Soy Sauce dressing. To my surprise, the Wheat Noodles were somewhat al-dente in texture but with the addition of Yamaimo, it can be quite gooey and unpleasing for some. The Dried Sakura Shrimps gave a distinctive flavor and seafood-sweetness to the dish, making it more palatable. While the dish was not super duper good, it was a pleasingly comfort and refreshing dish that you can eat on a regular basis.
As for the Bento sets, we had Yakizakana Zen/ Grilled Sanma Set (Rm 28). Diners are to choose between Sanma or Saba Fish, as well as the cooking method: Shioyaki (Japanese Salt-Grilled) or Teriyaki (Japanese Sweet Soy Sauce) which we opted for Shioyaki Sanma Fish. It comes with a bowl of piping hot Japanese White Rice, a whole Salt-Grilled Sanma Fish, Chawanmushi, Miso Soup and some Japanese Pickles as well as Fresh Fruits. While the Chawanmushi has an impressionable quality, others were okay-average.
We were shocked to see the gigantic portion of Rokkaku Bento (Rm 60) which comes in two-tiers. It has Yakimono (Japanese Grilled Dishes), Tempura (Japanese Battered and Deep Fried dishes), Sunomono (Japanese Vinegared dishes), Nimono (Japanese Simmered Dishes), Chawanmushi, Chirashi Sushi, Konomono (Japanese Pickled Vegetables) and a bowl of hearty Miso Soup. A thick slice of Cod was served either, which makes this Bento worth the value; unlike the Sashimi Moriawase, the Salmon Sashimi slices were thinly sliced here and lacked of the bite. On the other hand, the Yakimono consisted of Yakitori (Japanese Grilled Chicken) which was being grilled and torched to a crisp, while maintaining its juiciness within the meat. A perfect Bento set for those who are seeking for variety, however, sharing is recommended for this set.
Taste: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Price: 6/10 (1-3 expensive, 4-7 average, 8-10 cheap)
Ambiance: 8/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service: 7.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Parking: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service Charge: Yes 10%
Government Tax: Yes 6%
Address: 163D-6-37, 37A, Pesiaran Gurney, 10250, Penang.
Business Hour: 11am-3pm; 6pm to 10pm. Daily.
Contact Number: 604- 218 9900