One of the only nice yet budget-friendly restaurants in 1 Mont Kiara, with addictive chicken karaage
Well, I’ll be jiggered! Authentic and affordable Japanese food in the distinctly unauthentic and unaffordable Mont Kiara neighbourhood? I had assumed Daruma Syokudo was just another huge chain restaurant that had wormed its way into the area. Turns out, they only have one KL location – at 1 Mont Kiara mall – with the only other location being in Melaka.
Daruma Syokudo’s menu is a book packed with so much food that they forgot to put in drinks (the drinks menu are two laminated sheets that will be on the table). Deep-fried favourites like karaage and katsu seem to be the focus here. If you choose to make these a set for RM7 more, it will add a lettuce salad, bowl of rice and miso soup, with free refills on the rice and soup.
There are five different flavours of ramen broth, with the ability to customise the toppings, spiciness and amount of noodles that will surely suit everyone. This isn’t really the place if you want the raw stuff, but they do have a good donburi option along with salads with salmon sashimi.
There isn’t much to drink, just sake, beer, soda and tea. Japanese lagers are decently priced at RM15 a bottle. There are free refills on the green tea, but it comes in a small cup that you have to constantly ask to be refilled, which is mildly aggravating on a busy night.
On every table was the standard spicy salt, but there was also this jar of rice seasoning. It was a mishmash of different things: pepper, something green and flaky (seaweed?) and things that looked like mini rice puffs. I couldn’t exactly figure out all the flavours but it was a good addition to the rice.
I got their Spicy Mayo Karaage set (RM20) that was on a special appendix menu, which may mean it is seasonal or limited. The rice is slightly sticky and so pleasant to chew that I got a cheeky refill of it. The spicy mayo is made in-house and enough is provided for you to dip generously. For a RM20 dinner set (in Mont Kiara, no less), I was expecting tiny bite-sized chicken poppers, but what came instead were five impressively fat pieces of karaage. The chicken was cooked in that “medium rare” sort of karaage way which resulted in amazingly juicy nuggets. Each piece was good for about three bites, so this turned out to be a meal that was very well balanced between the different elements – not too much rice, nice amount of salad, just enough chicken.
Mark got their Daruma Don (RM29.80), a massive bowl stuffed with six different kinds of fish. Toppings are in their own separate ramekin so you can add however much you like. The different ways to eat this warranted its own instruction sheet written in horrendously translated English: you can eat it dry like a poke bowl, or pour in the broth from the teapot to make it soupy. Mark chose to add the broth and the toppings. Since the rice is sticky, this helped to make it easier to shovel it into his mouth faster. The cubes of sashimi tasted really fresh, but there was this unidentified fish product (seen at the very top of the bowl). We both had a taste and couldn’t figure out which fish it was supposed to be. It had a minced texture and wasn’t that appetizing, so it was left behind in the bowl.
Update: We’ve been back here since this initial post, and I think I can say that the chicken karaage is one of the best things to order. On our revisit, we got the chicken nanban which was just as tasty. We also got the pork tonkatsu, but it was tough to chew through and the katsu sauce was sour and weird.
This restaurant has only been open for a year and a half, but this place has quickly gained popularity. It boasted a consistently full house during our visit. The food is very good but also great value, evidenced by all the single men that came in to eat alone on a Friday night. How very Japan!
Though the restaurant’s name sounds like a Tekken character and is impossible for me to remember, I will remember the food at Daruma Syokudo and I’m already itching to go back.
Price for 2 Pax: RM61.40
Daruma Don: RM29.80
Spicy Mayo Karaage Set: RM20.00
Green Tea x 2: RM6.00
10% Service Charge: RM5.58
1 Mont Kiara, Unit L1-20 (level 1, between H&M and Sushi Zanmai), Jalan Kiara, Mont Kiara, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Daily, 10am – 10pm
Alcohol Served: Yes