Shunka (旬香) @ Burmah Road, Georgetown, Penang.
Shunka should not be new to Penangites; the Japanese restaurant is known to churn out some fine and delicate Japanese-inspired dishes. The restaurant has a very impressive menu, for its all-inclusion selection of Sashimi, Ramen, Udon, Tamagoyaki, various Grilled items, Sake or even their signature Matcha desserts. Albeit it has a few branches but the newly opened branch at Burmah Road is set to welcome its grand opening on this coming weekend (3rd, 4th and 5th of October, 2014; for more information on the grand opening promotion, kindly follow their page). The setting of the restaurant is well-considered; with some wooden dining tables and chairs, red bamboo place-mats, bamboo decorations and Japanese-styled wallpaper to set the tone. Private rooms are also available to accommodate larger groups. A pretty good place if you wish to savor a wide variety of Japanese dishes and their range of Matcha desserts.
Many Thanks to Shunka for extending the invitation.
It excites us a lot when Ika Bata Yaki/ Grilled Squid (烧烤奶油墨鱼/ Rm 21.90) was served to our table. The huge Squid was carefully grilled to perfection; slightly resilient but not hard to the bite. The Squid was delicately salted and just as good on its own but even better to dip in the dollop of Mayonnaise, for the smoother and creamier texture. A perfect order to go with Sake, Japanese Rice Wine.
A dish that stood out to me was Omuyaki Soba/ Stir Fried Japanese Buckwheat Noodles (特色蛋卷面/ Rm 15.90) blanketed with a beautifully cooked Omelette, completed with squiggles of Japanese Mayonnaise and sweet Tonkatsu sauce. The real draw of this dish was the well-executed Yakisoba. It possessed the quintessential "Wok Hei" (a result from stir frying the noodles), perfectly complemented by the home-made sweet and savory Yakisoba sauce. Another point worth noting, the Soba retained its texture, not mushy nor overly hard to the bite; just perfect. The Omelette, on the other hand, added another layer of eggy aroma and fluffy texture to the noodles. Their Omuyaki Soba could be better than what I had in Osaka; absolutely brilliant.
Albeit their piping hot Kimchi Nabe/ Kimchi Steamboat (泡菜火锅/ Rm 15.90) was comforting on a rainy day but I did not find it spectacular. The hot pot has quite a lot of ingredients- Enoki Mushrooms, Shitake Mushrooms, Tofu, Cabbage, Onions and Shrimps. The broth has a hint of seafood sweetness and refreshing acidic tilt (from Kimchi) with a gentle spicy heat gradually kicks in. The ladies would probably enjoy this more.
Spicy Pork Bulbogi (香辣猪肉石头饭/ Rm 17.90) was probably the dish that I least enjoyed; it may appear to be a plus for others but definitely not for me (I am not a pork-lover). The dish comes with a generous amount of Pork slices, served along with Rice and jeweled with a raw Egg Yolk. It was somewhat greasy and lacked of a "X-factor" for it to appeal to me. It was also served along with a bowl of Miso Soup.
Egg and Cheese lovers will likely go "gaga" over this dish, one of their best sellers and signature dishes- Cheese Tamagoyaki/ Japanese Cheese Omelette (芝士玉子烧/ Rm 9.90), where a sliver of Cheese was placed in the middle of the Omelette and carefully rolled to shape. It has multi-layer flavors in this dish- eggy, soft, fluffy with a savory-cheesy taste while the extra touch of Mayonnaise introduced a soothing sweetness to the Omelette. A must-order dish especially if you are a fan of Tamagoyaki.
Asparagus Bacon Skewer (Rm 8.90 for two sticks)
Buta Bara/ Pork Skewer (Rm 7.90 for two sticks)
Tebasaki/ Grilled Chicken Wings (Rm 8.90 for two sticks)
There are aplenty choices to look for especially you are in the mood of drinking a glass or two. Shunka has quite a few choices when it comes to Sake/ Japanese Rice Wine. Kushiyaki/ Grilled Skewers are quintessential orders to pair with the Japanese alcohol. Amongst the skewers we had, Tori Mentaiyaki/ Chicken Skewer served with marinated Pollock Roe (Rm 7.90- not on the menu, upon request only) left me a very deep impression. The Chicken was juicily tender and generously spread with Mentaiyaki, as a result of that, it carried a hint of sweetness and unique flavors from the Mentaiko. Equally worth-mentioning is Tebasaki. The Grilled Chicken Wings were grilled to perfection, I had the Tebasaki no Shioyaki, Grilled Chicken Wings with Salt. They were lovely to go on its own but even better to go with a sip of Sake. There are, however, many items still remain unexplored.
The only Sushi item on the menu- Sushi Katsu/ Crispy Sushi (香脆寿司卷/ Rm 11.90); Japanese Cucumbers, Unagi were nicely rolled and a small amount of Panko/ Japanese Breadcrumbs were stuck and deep fried till crisp. The texture was somewhat unique- crispy and crunchy on the outside, firm and crunchy (from Cucumber) on the inside, wonderfully touched up by the Japanese Mayonnaise. Not too shabby.
Those with a bigger appetite could go for their Wisteria Bento (紫藤便当/ Rm 32.90) which comes with Salmon Sashimi, Karaage/ Japanese Fried Chicken, Deep Fried Fish Fingers, Teriyaki Chicken and a bowl of Miso Soup. The Salmon Sashimi was fresh and nicely sliced to the right thickness. The Teriyaki Chicken could be better though. It was not as juicy and tender as I would have hoped; also, I thought an extra-generous spread of Teriyaki sauce on the Chicken would do more justice.
Sweet-ending was exceptionally unexpected. We were shocked yet delighted to see Matcha Pancake (抹茶甜点煎饼/ Rm 18.90), it was served together with their home-made Anko/ sweet Japanese Red Bean Paste, Mochi and a scoop of Matcha Ice Cream. A tiny jar of Brown Sugar was provided to us too. The Pancake alone was dense and it was not as fluffy as expected but to enjoy together with the Anko and Matcha Ice Cream was lovely. The sweet Anko balanced out the vegetal flavor from Matcha and provided a comforting sweetness to the Pancake. Never mind on the Mochi, it had not done much in its aid.
Another dessert that stolen the spot light- Magic Matcha (魔法抹茶/ Rm 15.90); it has also received the unanimous votes as the "highlight" of the day. Thickly flavored Green Tea Latte topped with a scoop of Matcha Ice Cream and frozen Matcha cubes, finished with some Brown Sugar syrup. It possessed a very strong, noble Matcha-vegetal aroma that lingers in your mouth while the Latte provides a smooth and creamy texture to the drink. The idea of including Matcha Ice Cubes is to constantly preserving the flavors instead of the drink being overly diluted towards the end. Recommended.
Service Charge: Yes 10%
Government Tax: No
Address: No. 124-E, Burmah Road, 10050, Georgetown, Penang.
Business Hours: 11: 30 am to 11: 30 pm (Last Call at 10: 30 pm). Opens Daily.
Contact Number: 604- 228 3889
Website: http://www.shunka.com.my/ *Full menu and details of the outlets are available on their website*