For a restaurant that’s barely 6 months old, Imai-ya has been making waves with its classic Japanese cuisine in a casual dining environment. Based on what we had, I think the chef is good at what he does and the food’s great, albeit at slightly upmarket price.
The first thing we saw when we entered the restaurant was a table full of Japanese, happily eating away in a cheerful mood – that alone was a good sign of things to come.
To start, we had a wonderful Hamaguri soup (clear clam soup) @ RM8. Overall it tasted similar to a milder miso soup but served with clams instead. The clams were properly purged, plump and tasted fresh just as expected.
The Pork Gyoza @ RM15 came highly recommended from the staff and it is easy to see why. Each gyoza was crispy brown on the bottom with a nice and chewy top while the meat filling was juicy and flavorful. Best of all, they did not taste greasy too.
We thoroughly enjoyed the freshness of each fish in the Aki Sashimi Moriawase, all given in thick juicy slices that are almost double as thick as those served in other similar establishments.
The salmon used at Imai-ya is imported from Norway while the rest are sourced from a local supplier who got the fishes air-flown direct from Japan. The stock arrives here fresh daily and any left over is discarded for quality reasons.
Next up, Hotate Mentai @ RM27.90 which is basically grilled scallop topped with cod roe mayonnaise. Unless you are not a fan of mayonnaise or creamy tasting food, I don’t see why anyone would not like this.
The chef’s home-made sauce provides most of the sweet and savoury flavour, but it does not overpower the natural sweetness of the scallops. This is seriously good stuff.
At RM13.90, the Salmon Nishiku‘s price tag is justified. This beautiful looking dish consists of three mini rice balls topped with colourful fish roe then wrapped in raw salmon. It might appear a chore to enjoy but surprisingly, they hold together nicely and don’t break easily, so you could have a few good bites out of each of them.
For sushi, we had the Special Unagi Maki @ RM37.20. Although it looked different from what was shown on the menu, I have to say the presentation was lovely and I actually prefer it to be served this way.
Unagi, avocado and fish roe aside, there’s also a fleshy ebi tempura as the filling in the center. With every bite you can taste the layers of flavour and texture in each ingredient, from soft to creamy and crispy along with some crunch.
As of now there’s only one dessert available at Imai-ya and fortunately it’s a good one too. The ice cream mochi is made in-house and each chewy morsel was filled with sweet azuki bean paste. Perfect for a hot day!
If you are looking for a more economical meal, multiple all-day set meals (including miso soup, chawanmushi, salad, fruits & green tea) are available ranging from RM27 to RM47 and all of them look equally good.
For those coming in pairs, there’s more reason to get the set meal because Imai-ya is offering 50% off on the second set meal ordered. So if you take two set meals @ RM27 each, the average cost per pax will be only about RM20. Not bad at all for a Japanese meal!
Imai-ya casual Japanese restaurant is located just above Ho Ho Steamboat restaurant. The spacious restaurant has two floors to accomodate many people, and the decor is simple but cheerful.
To save even more, head on to Offpeak to make your reservations and enjoy discounts for your meal for any other restaurants listed in the website. No computer? No problem! The Offpeak mobile app is also available for both Android and iOS devices.
B-26-UG & B-26-1
Jalan C180/1, Dataran C180
43200 Batu 11, Cheras
Business hours: Mon – Fri (12pm – 3pm, 5pm – 10.30pm), Weekend (12pm – 10.30pm)