Feb 3, 2014

Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ Restaurant, Publika KL

Read my updated review of Gyu-Kaku 1 Utama Here.

When it comes to a BBQ feast, the first place that'd probably come to mind are Korean restaurants. Fine - perhaps it's my affection towards Korean cuisine.

Nevertheless, it's not easy to find a Japanese BBQ restaurant, or yakiniku in Japanese; let alone a pork-free establishment.

I was glad I stumbled upon this place - for all the wrong reasons however, will rant more about that shortly.


Gyu-Kaku's food items are halal-certified, serving a myraid of Japanese cuisine and an array of BBQed meats. With over 650 branches worldwide, Gyu-Kaku's Publika branch opened two months back. There is also another branch in 1 Utama.

Essentially a really small establishment located outside the mall, the restaurant can house about 50 customers per seating. A pretty snug and confined space I must say, though I was undeniably smitten by the concept - wooden structures and floor boards, sliding doors, pleasantly-warm lighting - neatly decorated with a hint of chic.

Exposed ventilation pipes are so-yesterday. Here at Gyu-Kaku, the ventilation system is hidden beneath the table. Thus, the restaurant is smokeless - yes, but be prepared for a blast of heat when the charcoal grill starts burning. Beware! It could get really hot! Fire up those BBQ meats please!

Albeit the convenience of being smoked-free, you would still stank of BBQ aroma upon leaving the restaurant - the smell have to go somewhere.

We were greeted by smiley faces upon entering Gyu-Kaku. The place was operating at full capacity at that time, hence, we were put on the waiting list. It didn't take long for our name to be called however.

As we waited nearby, I noticed a server who was cleaning up, visibly wiping and flinging the leftovers onto the floor - like a hawker centre. I wasn't impressed at all.

Japanese Sauces.

The sauce on the left - that is my favourite. It was fragrant, thicker in consistency and had a tinge of sweetness and garlic bits inside. It did remind of the chee cheong fun sauce that we're so very used to.

Green Tea. Rm2.90.

One of the most diluted glass of green tea I've ever had - like water. 

Kirin Beer. Rm23.90.

Chicken Thigh with Teriyaki Sauce. Rm12.90.

At 12.90 per serving, I wasn't expecting a huge portion. You can pick from either breast or thigh meats and your choice of basting. There are 6-7 types of sauces to choose from. I opted for thigh meats with teriyaki sauce - you can never go wrong with teriyaki!

After 5 minutes of being on the grill, I picked up a slightly charred piece of chicken and popped it into my mouth. It was mouth watering. Juicy, tender and oh-so-flavoursome.

Wagyu Brisket. Rm26.90.

The Wagyu brisket takes 2 double flips of 10 seconds each to cook.

My first few slices were slightly overcooked - my fault. Yet, it was still moist and very well seasoned. I timed my next grill better and the meats turned out delectable - slightly red in the middle and brown at the side - medium and juicy, just the way I like it.

Ishiyaki Mentaiko. Rm20.90.

I have never had ishiyaki presented like this, let alone have mentaiko with it!

Gyu-Kaku's version of ishiyaki (bowl) mentaiko (roe) came with rice, topped with a slice of salmon, a spread of mentaiko and a dollop of butter.

Once mixed together, you will be devouring on a fuse of flavours and textures - sweet, savoury and a tinge of spiciness at the same time! I can't deny that it looked memorable, but fell a little short in terms of taste. 

Overall Rating: 6/10. The food I sampled that evening was quite delicious, especially the BBQ meats - you have to try those. The green tea though, is in dire need of a new tea packet. Notwithstanding, on the table-wiping scene - no catastrotrophe for us, but it does speak miles on it's care for hygiene. Towards the end of my meal, when I popped open my pack of sanitised napkin, it had patches of dirt on it. I should've requested for a new one, but was quite fed up already by then.

Withal, did the restaurant live up to its standards or not you'd ask? Despite the less than stellar experience, the food is essentially decent. I would probably return at some stage, but not soon.

Gyu Kaku is located at:
D3-G3-3 Publika Solaris Dutamas, No.1 Jalan Dutamas 50480 KL
11am-10pm (Sunday to Thursday), 11am-11pm (Friday to Saturday)

Located outside the mall, few doors away from Coffee Stain by Joseph.


  1. I like to do Japanese BBQ at the comfort of my own home with a small griller. Pity I'm not in Japan anymore. And no pork? But pork is the best of all.

  2. that however looks pretty good to me!



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