Jan 6, 2015

Gyu-Kaku @ Isetan 1 Utama - Halal Japanese BBQ Restaurant

Publika, Tropicana City Mall

It has been awhile since I've last been so psyched up about visiting a Japanese restaurant. Furthermore this time, there's wagyu involved - for all that its worth.


There are simply not many Japanese BBQ Restaurants in town. How often do you stumble upon a Japanese Restaurant where you can grill-your-own meat?

Gyu-Kaku is a relatively new addition to the Malaysian market. Started back in 2012 and made popular for its premium yakiniku (barbecued meats) and an assortment of interesting Japanese Eats. More importantly though, you'd get to dine in the comfort of a smoked-free environment - no ventilation pipes needed here.

Gyu-Kaku is Halal.

Publika, Tropicana City Mall
Publika, Tropicana City Mall
Publika, Tropicana City Mall

This is not my first time visiting the restaurant. I was at the Publika Outlet sometime earlier last year. So this time, I decided with somewhere closer to the comfort of home, inside Eat Paradise, Istean 1Utama. There is also a third outlet at Tropicana City Mall.

Of my frequent visits to the mall, I noticed that the restaurants at Eat Paradise are clearly not as widely publicized as it should be. There are a handful of medium-sized Japanese and Korean restaurant tucked quietly at one corner, inside Isetan. Some renowned; some standalone; and some of which I heard decks up some of the best dishes in town. On the bright side, this also meant that I can keep these gems all to myself!

The feast that I will be sampling today are part of the Warai Set. Priced according to pax, starting from Rm248 (2 pax), Rm348 (3 pax) and Rm448 (4 pax). All meats serve in this premium set are wagyu meats. Fret not if you're not in the mood to splurge, there are 3 other, more affordable sets, as well as a range of a la carte offerings in their menu. 

Merely reminiscing about those juicily charred barbecued meats is making me salivate all over again.

Complimentary Sauces.

Pickled Cucumbers. Rm6.90.

This Korean styled cucumber appetizer had a nice sour taste to it, that gave my then sleepy taste-buds a jump start to today's meal.

Namuru. Rm14.90.

Assortment of seasoned white radish, spinach, bean sprout and black fungus. Think Korean banchan but less exciting.

Sausage Trio.

A trio of chicken, beef and cheese sausages, in which I figured the set can do without.

Horenso Salad. Rm8.90.

You'd get to pick your own salad but this came highly recommended. The Japanese spinach was crisp and fresh, and the crispy garlic and mushroom slices drizzled with goma sesame dressing complimented each other very well.

Ishiyaki Bibimbap. Rm18.90.

In a hot stone bowl - minced chicken, seasoned vegetables, rice, seaweed, and gojuchang chili sauce at the side. Mix well and don't forget to dunk in all the sauce!

Tofu Chige Soup. Rm15.90.

This spicy kimuchi soup with chicken was no doubt fiery, but it was addictive on every spoonful. I ended up with slightly burned lips - well worth it. I'm not too sure about the portable box though, it sure did felt heavy and bulky.

Gyu-Kaku Wagyu Platter.

Wagyu Rump Cap. Rm45.

At Gyukaku, all wagyu meats are marinated with Himalayan rock salt. This perfectly grilled slice of wagyu rump cap was tender, flavorful and chewy on some parts. Time count: Grill only for 30 seconds on each side.

Wagyu Karubi. Rm45.

This is one of my favorite type of beef cuts - amazing flavors and toothsome textures. Give me another platter of this and I can guarantee you that I'll gobble it all up.

Wagyu Tenderloin. Rm99.

Last but not least, the wagyu tenderloin - one of the most expensive and tender cuts. We had this done medium rare, also 30 seconds on both sides, left with a nice pinkish hue in the middle. I had a melt in the mouth sensation upon popping one into my mouth. Do not expect it to taste as flavorful as that of the Korean BBQ versions, the Japanese ones are not as rich in terms of marination. You'd get to savor the natural flavors of premium beef.

Gyu-Kaku Seafood Platter.

The prawns were delectable - bouncy and fresh. But I thought the Norwegian salmon (grilled for 5 minutes with tin foil attached) lacked seasoning. Tip: Leave the squid to grill for at least 15 minutes for a charred and chewy finish.

Gyu-Kaku Ice Cream. Rm9.90.

The black sesame ice cream was fantastic. There's sesame in it! The green tea version on the other hand, came a little too creamy for my liking and didn't exactly have that smooth texture to it.

Overall Rating: 8/10. I had a pretty great meal here today - some fantastic; some pleasant. The wagyu meat platter especially, those were very well prepared and seasoned. It's not everyday you'd get to grill your own wagyu, Japanese style. I would definitely return for a hot dose of Tofu Chige Soup and Black Sesame ice cream too. The other dish that I would like to recommend but not showcased in this post today - Ishiyaki Mentaiko (Rm20.90). I had that in my previous visit and couldn't get it out of my mind ever since. Despite all of that, I can't say that this Warai set was markedly value for money. Next time, I shall order my preferred dishes individually. We left the restaurant feeling satisfied and fulfilled - minus the undesirable barbecue aroma of course.

Gyukaku is located at:
Address: Level 2, Isetan One Utama Shopping Centre, 1, 47800 Lebuh Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya.
Phone: 603-77330018
Opening Hours: 10am-10pm Daily


  1. Love their both their meat and seafood yakiniku...also the Horenso salada and Ishiyaki Mentaiko =)

    Btw you should try Ichiro...the sushi bar opposite this place =)

    1. Yeah I was really tempted the other time I was there - small place, tucked at a corner, but packed with people. There must be some secret in their food. Will drop by one day =)

  2. "The California king and also Mee's" I need to claim I bought sidetracked in search of your Restaurants tonight. It had been tucked away proper earlier BJ's Stockroom (bonus Jew Lure things! ). I'd to help call up my cousin, Yong Joo (who preferable to obtain directions how the buddy we passionately call up "The Roaming Joo"? ), and also they laughed and said to take a look earlier BJ's (it's hard from time to time constantly possessing our Jew in sniffing available good buys! ), and the entry was available:

  3. Hey, Im coming to KL for a short vacation. Could you also list down a few of some of your fave restaurants there is in KL?

    Thanks! (:

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