Chef Tan (left) and Takumi owner K B Tan.
AT first look, the menu at Kobe Gyu Takumi here in Genting Highlands appears fairly conventional, delivering everything that most Malaysian diners would expect from a Japanese restaurant. All the erstwhile favourites are present, from fresh salads to California rolls, prime sashimi and ubiquitous bento sets. Look further though, little clues to the real treasure appear by way of yukke (finely minced, seasoned premium beef) and tokusen aburi (briefly seared roast beef sushi).
A more in-depth study of the menu unveils a stunning selection of not only fresh seafood (large, succulent scallops, fresh giant prawn and grilled amberjack) but also an eye-widening array of premium pork and beef.
It is when one realises this is the master stroke of Resorts World Genting. A run-of-the-mill Japanese restaurant would have undermined the conglomerate’s promise of delivering exceptional dining experiences in Malaysia’s premier mountain getaway.
As such, granting tenancy to Kobe Gyu Takumi ensured both a conventional Japanese dining experience as well as an exceptional gastronomic treat for those who seek out quality.
Owned by Datuk K B Tan of the Grand Imperial Group of restaurants (where Malaysian badminton champion Datuk Lee Chong Wei is a shareholder), Kobe Gyu Takumi seeks to introduce diners to the finer points of prime meat appreciation.
Helmed by head Chef Tan Kok Tiong, the restaurant uses 100% Japanese imported products and sauces. This tight lid on consistency and authenticity stems from Chef Tan’s 14 years in Japan with the Toraji Group, one of Japan’s largest chain of yakiniku (grilled meat or barbecue) restaurants, with over 80 outlets.
Having joined Toraji when it was only a four-outlet chain, Chef Tan was privy to its expansion and quality strategies, and was able to bring home such knowledge to Malaysia.
His network of food contacts in Japan has also resulted in Kobe Gyu Takumi being able to serve prime Kobe and Matsusaka beef which is air-flown into Malaysia weekly. Chef Tan’s connection with the suppliers is such that he is able to view the cattle available for slaughter and select his animal when viewing it online.
The portions come chilled and vacuum-packed to ensure quality. Each order of beef also comes with its own certification, stating the number of the animal from which the meat has come, in keeping with Kobe and Matsusaka beef regulations.
Kobe Beef is distinguished as a tender, flavourful meat that is well marbled with fat. It is produced from pedigreed Tajima cattle which were born and slaughtered in Hyogo Prefecture. Only the highest grades of meat with exceptionally high levels of fat marbling earn the Kobe Beef label, which is a trademark on par with the appellation system for wine.
The Japanese beef grading system has five quality grades, consisting of Yield Grade and Quality Grade. Hence, the A in A5 corresponds to the yield grade, while the number 5 shows the quality grade. Yield grade evaluates the proportion of meat obtained from a certain part of the cattle, with Grade A being above standard, Grade B standard and Grade C, below standard. The marbling score for Japanese premium beef is classified into five grades. The larger the number, the higher the grade, with 5 being the largest amount of marbling and thus the highest score.
Kobe Gyu Takumi offers a mouth-watering selection of cuts, ranging from ultra premium belly (A4 kuroge Wagyu) to premium Wagyu rib-eye and short ribs.
Chef Tan is also able to procure Yonezawa, Omi, Mishima and Kuchinoshima beef on request.
Best eaten with the least amount of seasoning in order to savour the rich mouth-feel of the fat, all the premium meats offered at Kobe Gyu Takumi only need a short spell on the barbecue plate before they are ready to be savoured. Tan makes a selection of kimchi-inspired pickles using radish, kyuri and cabbage to complement the meats.
For those with religious or dietary restraints against beef, Kobe Gyu Takumi also offers premium imported pork ranging from Iberico to Sakura (antibiotic-free).
Available in rib-eye, neck and short rib cuts, both pork variants burst with flavour and earthiness, and are perfectly enjoyed with one of the restaurant’s signature salad, with dressing created by Chef Tan, who also hand slices all the meats used at Kobe Gyu Takumi.
“We are a unique restaurant because while we specialise in premium meat, we also cater to the regular visitor crowd. We are working towards a menu change every six months, but we are still experimenting and looking for the best equilibrium which will enable us to cater to tourists, the mass market as well as our VVIP guests,” said K B.
Kobe Gyu Takumi is located at the Maxims Hotel Grand Lobby and operates for lunch and dinner, from 11.00am to 2.00am. Reservations can be made at +603 6101 3399.