As far as Japanese restaurants go, Kampachi of Hotel Equatorial located at Bukit Jambul was and still remains as one of the top ones in Penang. Kampachi’s reputation is so strong that when you think of having great Japanese food, the restaurant comes into mind. However, the indulgence comes with a price, as Kampachi is also one of the most expensive Japanese restaurants in town.
Because of that, I never stepped foot into Kampachi even though I had lots of opportunity to visit them. For each state that I went to either study or work, there is a Kampachi restaurant. For example in Melaka where I had my pre-U, in Penang where I grew up and in KL and Bangi (Selangor) where I completed my degree and worked for 4 years.
It’s kinda ironic considering I am more than willing to pay and go for some unknown Japanese buffets lol. So one day I just decided it was time to aim for quality instead of quantity and finally had my first meal at Kampachi. Oh well, better late than never.
One noticeable difference with Kampachi as soon as we started ordering was that the waitresses were professional, helpful and able to give recommendations. Even when you ask about the ingredients, they were able to answer accurately and confidently. Some would just run back to the kitchen to ask the chefs for answers lol.
By the way I didn’t go alone yeah, my brother came along and I decided to treat him because it was New Year. Besides, he always fetched me home whenever I took a flight. So you can say it was both a celebration and ‘thank him’ meal. Tori No Tatsuta-Age (Deep-fried Marinated Chicken) @ RM22 was his order, made even before I could open the menu lol. Good choice though, the fried chicken used the thigh part resulting in a very succulent taste and can be dipped into ponzu sauce.
Then for my compulsory sashimi fix, Shake (salmon) Sashimi @ RM42. It was the most expensive item we had that night, but deemed worth it for the thick slices given. Freshness was top notch too. All it required was a quick dip into the shoyu for the extra flavoring.
Spider Roll / Soft Shell Crab Roll @ RM28. Now this was awesome. Kampachi is certainly not stingy with the portion of soft shell crab and fish roe. The cuts may look little but the soft shell crab was actually very compacted in the rolled sushi. Each bite was greeted with crunch and burst of flavor.. simply divine.
Lastly, Kanitama Dashi Maki (Japanese Crab Omelette) @ RM16, which was actually an appetizer. I decided to show it last because although it was not bad, it was the least impressive dish. Like any Japanese Omelette, it was sweet tasting – no surprise here. But I felt they could have used less imitation crab meat and more real crab meat instead to prepare the omelette. When asked, the waitress explained that the imitation crab meat was used because they had a nicer color and stronger flavor. To be honest for Kampachi’s standard, I expected no less than fresh ingredients.
The bill came to a total of RM124.20 inclusive of 5% Government tax and 10% service tax, not cheap but I thought the salmon sashimi and Spider Roll was money well spent. Equatorial Hotel charged RM5 for the car park (per entry rate) that will be absorbed by Kampachi (deducted from food bill) if you show them the parking ticket.
After this satisfied experience, I find their weekend buffet lunch (RM62++) and dinner (RM86++) very attractive and worth going if the food quality is as good as the ones served in ala carte. Suffice to say I will definitely be back to try their buffet one day!
Hotel Equatorial Penang
1 Jalan Bukit Jambul
Bayan Lepas, Penang
Tel: 04 643 8111
GPS Coordinates: N5 20.235 E100 17.060
Operating hours (Daily):
Lunch 12.00 pm – 2.30 pm
Dinner 6.30 pm – 10.00 pm (Bar is open at 5.30 pm)