Thursday 20 March 2014

Senya Izakaya, J P Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur

I've spent the last 15 months or so ignoring Senya Izakaya, purely because of the ladies standing outside yelling 'Irasshaimase' and trying to persuade me to come in. There's nothing wrong with trying to attract customers, but in putting me under pressure to make a quick decision, I'm invariably forced to make a quick decision to keep walking. This time however, my trip had been planned 10 minutes prior, giving me enough time to prepare myself and deal with the overly enthusiastic women outside.

Despite having lived in Japan a few years back, I've never completely taken to Japanese cuisine outside of sushi, yakiniku and ramen. I do however enjoy the odd drink with pub grub in a Japanese izakaya (pub), and being an Izakaya, Senya offers an eclectic mix of Japanese dishes to be enjoyed while having a cool pint, or warm sake on the balcony upstairs.

A novel and effective feature of Senya is the i-pad menu, which means that human contact can be kept to a minimum if you're feeling anti-social.
I went in a group of three, and we ordered some beers, which were RM22 a pint. Two of us also ordered the same food - the Hokkaido Pork Don, also RM22 (approx $7).

Although the picture above is slightly misleading, this was actually a very large bowl of rice topped with charcoal-grilled pork, covered in a sweet Japanese barbecue sauce.

The pork had a real melt-in-your-mouth quality to it and the sweet sesame sauce was addictive, also giving the rice a really nice flavour.

Overall - 3.5 / 5

The other dish that we ordered was a Japanese izakaya classic - the hamburger steak RM20 (approx $6).

Although a downright bizarre combination of food (what's that spaghetti doing there??), this was another enjoyable example of Japanese pub grub. The burger was a home-made, thick and juicy patty, which came with lashings of gravy and cheese on top.

Overall - The definition of enjoyable slop - 3 / 5

We also ordered some gyoza.

These looked promising but didn't really have much inside, which is always a shame....

Overall - 2 / 5

Senya is in the middle of one of KL's most well-known nightlife streets and makes a cheap and pleasant pre-drinking venue. I might not be walking past so often in the future.

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