Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Yakiniku - Daidomon @ Great Eastern Mall KL

I always had this facination about Yakiniku (Japanese term for Grilled Meat). My first impression of the Yakiniku probably came from Japan hour where they show diners grilling top grade wagyu beef over charcoal stove. The juicy meat looked so tempting with the nice char marks on them that I have decided that I must try it one of these days too.

I first know that Daidomon opened its first outlet at Keypoint, Beach Rd opp The Concourse. I think it is one of the first restaurant specialising in Yakiniku to open in Singapore. Nevertheless, I have never got to try it till my recent trip to KL where I learnt they had a branch at Great Eastern Mall near Jalan Ampang. It was quite an experience.

To prevent disappointment, I actually called to made a reservation. I was pretty surprise that the person who took my call was very polite and helpful. I later learnt that he was actually the manager of the restaurant.

KL's Daidomon restaurant was located off the usual tourist track which we are not very familar with, thus I asked him for directions. Upon learning that we were tourists, he cautioned us that there will be a jam around the area from 6 pm onwards, thus advised us to set out early. Great Eastern Mall is the office building of Great Eastern Insurance Company. It is near the Russian Embassy and Gleneagles Medical Centre.

Indeed, upon reaching there, you get a different feeling about the area. It was quite an developed area with some condos and private propertises. I reckoned that Great Eastern Mall is situated in the business district, thus after office hours, the mall was pretty quiet and appeared desserted. As it was stated that the restaurant was located at level 3, we took the escalator up the mall trying to locate the restaurant.

It was quite an easy task as it turned out the restaurant was pretty near the escalator.

Daidomon had a very pretty grand entrance.They allocated a spacious waiting area at the entrance which I guessed was for customers waiting in the queue. There was a stylish sofa and plasma TV to ensure that you have a comfortable wait.


Upon entering the main dinning hall, we had a shock. The restaurant was very big, but there is no diners around. We happened to be their first customers. My friends jokingly asked whether I had booked the whole restaurant for ourselves. I think it was a Monday night, thus it wasn't as packed as it should be. Luckily, few more people came in after some time. We were feeling a bit uncomfortable eating in a such "vacant" restaurant.


Because we made a reservation earlier, our table was already set up with sauces waiting for us. A plus point for their services.

They have changed their buffet menu. Earlier, I have read that they allowed buffet customer to ordered everything on their menu, now it is limited to the above selection. The KL outlet does not serve pork, thus being a non-beef eater, I only have chicken, seafood and vegetables to chose from, but that does not put me down. I still think that the price of the buffet converted to Sing dollars is considered quite worthwhile.

The first thing that we noticed on the table was that they prepared two sauces for each of us. The one on the left was a savoury vingery sauce supposedly countered off the oiliness of the meat. The other one was normal Japanese soy sauce. However, I find that the meat can be too salty if soaked with too much of the vingery sauce.

We had initially thought that the buffet only include BBQ meat and nothing else, thus we ordered quite a number of food items for the first round. It was only after we ordered that we were informed the buffet includes prepared food.
As seen above, this was their cold appetizer section with potato salad, cold marinated clam, marinated seaweed, baby octopus, leafy salad bar etc cold food selections.


On another side of the table was rolled maki sushi rolls, half-cooked salmon sushi, cold udon station etc Japanese delights. That all? Nope, there is even more. There is even a cooked food section that I forgot to take photo, that offered prawns and vegetables tempura, Chicken Teriyaki, Chawamushi and fried rice ! It was quite a spread already if I had not know that they offered more selection earlier. All of the above are self-service, but the BBQ meats are to be ordered from service crew.

Take a look at their grill. I read somewhere that it is their patent design. The vaccum vents are located around the side at the grill. Any grease smoke will be immediately sucked away to prevent them from choking the diners. Another unique feature of the KL's Daidomon is that they uses bamboo charcoal instead of gas which gives the grilled meat additional flavour.

First came their chicken meat and gizzard which was drenched in a little of marinating soy-based sauce.

Next as their vegetables which consisted of corn, green pepper, onions, pumkin and leaks. Among them, grilled leaks and onions tested the best.

Up next was the seafood. I quite like how the fish were thickly sliced and they were quite fresh. Yes, they were also drenched in the marinated sauce as well.

There were prawns, salmon, cod fish, mackerel and sting rays.

My friend ordered thinly sliced beef tongues. They had a chewy texture and were quite fresh.

The beef slices had nice marbling which signifies that they will be nice and tender after grilling.

A bit disappoint with their sausages. They were quite salty and were hot-dog like. Nothing special, thus we did not order again.

Actually, each plate of meat was the serving portion for 3 people. I have read in some reviews that people thought they were pretty stingy about portion. To be fair, I also thought so initially that they like rationed the meat and as a restaurant serving buffet, you should not be afraid of letting people eat. Then after the first round, I actually felt quite full which make think that we do not really need to eat that much to fill ourselves up.

Perhaps the culture for Asian when comes to eating buffet is to get the most out of the cost which we paid. To cover cost, many of those buffet restaurants serves sub-standard meats which may not be fresh. I would rather chose a buffet that served better meats than stuffed myself with sub-standard meats. However, having to say that, I would feel very uncomfortable too if the buffet restaurant purposely served meats in a rationing manner. KL Daidomon have not get on my nerves yet on this area.

Here is a tip for first timer, as the grill heat up, the temperature was too hot to grill meats and would have burnt them immediately. Once you see the charcoals turn red, ask the waiter to turn off the gas, so that you can cook solely on charcoal's heat. I would suggest that you start off grilling vegetable first which can take stronger heat, then followed by your meats when the heat has mellowed down further. A telling sign that the heat is good for grilling meat will be when the charcoal had 70% of its body turned white.


Another close up of the grill meat.

Turning sides, see how they chared nicely on the grill. Actually, I find the meat is tasty enough to eat it on its own and is a tad too salty for me if dipped into the sauce. Like eating any BBQ food, I really appreciate the variety of vegetables and salad the restaurant provided. I find the veggies can help to cleanse your palatte or to counter off the saltiness of the meat. I enjoyed the grilled meat more when accompanied with vegetables or the salad.


The leaks were pretty delicious after grilled. The pungent taste disappeared if grilled properly and one can only taste the sweetness of it.

I ordered a second serving of the salmon and mackerel. They were freshest and very suitable for grilling since they were quite firm meat.

Grilled garlic was my friend's favourite. We had three serving of it. They were so savoury fragnant after grilling. Guess all KL's vampires steered clear of us that day.

Another unique feature of Daidomon is that they offered more than 100 choices of sake and rice wine for customers to chose from. In fact, sake and wine bottles were used as part of the decor in the restaurant.

Some other sake brands which they have.

Verdict: After taxes, each of us paid RM$67 dollars for the buffet dinner which converts to about $28.50 Sing dollars. It was quite worthwhile in my opinion. I must also command the good service provided by their staff. They were pretty attentive and were eager to serve customers. In fact, we saw one of the waiter grilling meats for the customer sitting at the table next to us. (and I thought the fun of eating there was to grill the meats ourselves...) The meats they provided was quite fresh (maybe except the string ray) and according to my friend, the beef is very good.

We were a bit disappointed with the cooked food section especially the garlic rice which tasted like very badly cooked fried rice. It should be better. I also find the special formulated sauce a tad too salty which will make the meat with the marinate sauce saltier. Perhaps the restaurant would come up with a sweeter version sauce to serve along with BBQ meats.

For those who have been wanting to try out Yakiniku, do try Daidomon if you happened to be in KL.

For more details of Daidomon, check out the website at http://www.daidomon.com.sg/

2 comments:

richard said...

well i was there yesterday with my girlfriend to try it out as they were having 50% discount. we were quite disappointed as the tempura prawns were no where to be found, and not found too was 3 nice juicy prawns dish which were only available for ala-carte but the picture was included in the buffet advertisement. when i ask about the tempura prawns the lady in the reception counter was quite rude, she said it was there and finished. as we were one of the first customer to reach there she said that we didn't see it. verdict for me is not going there again

richard said...

well i was there yesterday with my girlfriend to try it out as they were having 50% discount. we were quite disappointed as the tempura prawns were no where to be found, and not found too was 3 nice juicy prawns dish which were only available for ala-carte but the picture was included in the buffet advertisement. when i ask about the tempura prawns the lady in the reception counter was quite rude, she said it was there and finished. as we were one of the first customer to reach there she said that we didn't see it. verdict for me is not going there again