A trip to Kampachi is like a trip to heaven. A heaven right smack in the middle of Japan that is. It has a reputation for being an excellent Japanese restaurant, a long standing and deserving one I might add. Kampachi has got it right all around. Good service, cosy atmosphere and absolutely delicious treats. Located in Equatorial Hotel, it also has a location to die for as it is smack in the centre of the city amidst office buildings and other hotels.
o The Vibe
Kampachi maintains a laid back atmosphere without the sterile environment that many Japanese restaurants possess these days. It is pretty open at the main dining area so donít expect much privacy unless you opt for a private room or table at the less crowded area of the restaurant. The interior doesnít stray far from regular Japanese restaurants but it does have a very impressive wine cooler that is clearly visible upon entering.
o The Food
It is the food at Kampachi that is the real treat. With fresh ingredients flown in from Japan, all items are authentic Japanese in every sense of the word. The chef has been with the restaurant for the past 20 years so quality is preserved. Kampachi boasts a wide menu that consists of around 200 items. The notable items are the creations from a visiting chef, Chef Koei Ebisawa, direct from Japan. Special dishes are featured every week to tantalize and tease your taste buds. Kampachi also prides itself in the presentation of each dish. ďFeast with the eyes first and then mouthĒ is what they are attempting to infuse.
The special Fugu set was the order of the day and it was absolutely delightful. The dishes that were the talk of the room were the Sushi, Fugu Karaage and the Zosui. With the set menu, you will get 4 types of sushi. The one that deserves the most praise is the sea eel. It is fresh and has a soft texture and the best part about it is that it doesnít have the fishy smell that most eels seem to possess. The Fugu Karaage just made our day. This golden fried puffer fish comes fresh from the Yamaguchi Sea and is served with Japanese Tokushima lime. It is marinated in pepper, salt and flour which are all pretty basic ingredients but somehow, it tastes like thereís more to it than just that. The chef manages to create a crispy exterior while maintaining the moist and tender texture within. Once again, thereís none of that fishy taste and pungent smell that we normally get from fish. The Fugu Chiri Nabe is an interesting dish. it is slow cooked clear kombu broth in Donabe which is accompanied with YYamaguchi puffer fish, Ibaraki fresh mizuna leaves, shiitake mushrooms, leeks, white cabbage and homemade bean curd. It is a seasonal dish that is only available from November to March so do make sure you remember to mark it down on your calendar. This broth is literally cooked in front of you and it doesnít take more than 10 minutes to complete. Consuming it will take even less time as the end result is a delicious host of items neatly spread out on your plate. Not only is it tasty, it is healthy too as it is fresh and doesnít contain any added preservatives. The broth is then used to cook the Zosui which is Japanese porridge. The scent from the broth is enough to make you tingle and the original taste from the Fugu Chiri Nabe is still present so it isnít just plain porridge. It is a great way to close the meal.
But just as you thought it couldnít get any better, dessert is served. You have a choice of many different flavours of ice cream (we recommend the sesame flavour) or the Abegawa which is glutinous rice ball with peanut an sugar. The Abegawa was phenomenal as it melts in your mouth. Overall it was a memorable meal that lives up to its reputation.
o The Service
Bonus points are given for excellent service. The staff is very attentive and seems to know the menu like the back of their hand. If necessary, all items can be described in detail, just so you know what youíre consuming cause with Japanese food, it can get a bit tricky.
SD Food Advisorís take on Kampachi Japanese Restaurant
If you want to experience authentic Japanese cuisine, Kampachi would be your best bet. Even the ingredients are freshly flown in from Japan. The price might be a bit steep but you get valuable treats that will leave you wanting more. You canít put a price on quality and excellence.