Written by @Lan & Edited by @joehairie (Photos by curiostraveller.com team members)
Located on the lobby level at Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, Nagisa is an award winning Japanese Restaurant serving the best Japanese Cuisine in the entire state of Sabah. Nagisa is recognized as the Best Restaurant in Hotel Category during Kota Kinabalu Food Fest in 2012. In 2014 and 2015, the Editors and Readers of Malaysia Tatler have acclaimed Nagisa as one of Malaysia’s Best Restaurants for its exceptional cuisine and service. We went here recently and tried Sakana Oroshi set and we love that dish (Here is the LINK to the review). We came again, this time around to see if the Yasashii Bento set is really worth trying.
Nagisa @ Hyatt Regency Kinabalu
Nagisa is styled after a Japanese winter cottage, and delivers authentic Japanese cuisine on its extensive á la carte menu. Nagisa is the only Japanese restaurant in an international five-star hotel chain in the city, making this restaurant the ideal venue to entertain important guests and visitors.
The dark wood panels and narrow passages open to a large restaurant with separate spacious dining areas, including a sushi counter, two teppanyaki tables, a tatami room and two additional private dining rooms. The main dining area at Hyatt Regency Kinabalu overlooks the idyllic coral islands dotted along the South China Sea, while tastefully decorated with Japanese artifacts that reflects in the style of the restaurant and its cuisine.
Yasashii Bento @ Nagisa
Yasashii Set is available during lunch and dinner and is priced at RM100.00 nett per serving. The set consists of:
Goma Misu Gyuniku (Miso-Marinated Beef)
Sakana Katsu (Breaded Parrot Fish)
Kimpira Gobo (Braised Burdock Root)
Sake Ikura Sashimi (Salmon)
Ebi Tobiko Maki (Prawn and Fish Roe)
The set is serve with Salad, Garlic Rice, Miso Soup and Matcha Ice-Cream
From my reading, Yasashii means “kind” or “gentle”. Some refer it as tender, affectionate or graceful. Bento is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento holds rice, fish or meat, with pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container. Perhaps the meaning of Yasashii Bento in the context of this new dish set by Nagashi, refers to a box of Japanese Food that is given out of generosity and kindness. A staff at Nagisa said that the term ‘ Yasashii Bento’ means ‘happy box’.
No matter which exact definition is correct, both of it actually well described the new set. It’s of big portion. Normally, Bento is served in small sizes (or medium) but this one is a bit gigantic, full of good condiments that for some people, he or she might need to share it. The Bento here is pretty much presented generously and with full of attention given to the little details, the taste, the presentation and the colors. We have prepared a short video showing this Yasashii Bento, here it is:
The elements of Yasashii Bento-Our Experience
We’ve shown to you how the set looks like and now allow us to describe each main element or shall we say, condiments available in this set.
Sakana Katsu (Breaded Parrot Fish)
It’s our most favorite element. Crunchy on the outside but tender inside with some moist and juicy parts in it. The fish meat is of Parrot Fish. If you need to learn more about Parrot Fish, click HERE. Parrot Fish require trimming, scaling and gutting; larger fish can be filleted and pin-boned for cooking. The skin, once scaled, doesn’t need to be removed. The parrot fish is a reef dweller found in warm waters around the world and it suits exotic and oriental flavours well – chilli, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and spices are all excellent with this fish. It can be grilled, pan-fried or barbecued. When we tasted it, it’s more to a tasty light flaky fish, with no bones. For this particular set, perhaps it’s deboned before being cooked. When I had my first bite, it’s all about the crunchiness and tender fish meat. Later on, the taste became more obvious. What kind of taste? We rather put it as delicious instead of using longer description.
There are two big slices of Breaded Parrot Fish.We do recommend that you eat it bit by bit as two large pieces is best eaten with the other elements. The outer layer is coated with moderate bread crumbs so that the it’s thin and easy to consume, not that typical heavy-coated items with less meat inside found in other eateries. Dip it in the soy-sauce or Wasabi and you will find it’s an interesting dish. We somehow did break it to small pieces and ate it bit by bit with the garlic rice. Eat it as you wish, we did it according to our own way, good food needs no protocol when consuming.
Goma Misu Gyuniki (Miso-Marinated Beef)
This particular element is in the largest compartment in the Bento which means the quantity is massive. The beef is well-marinated with Miso before being cooked. Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji and sometimes rice, barley, or other ingredients. The beef was tender and almost had that ‘melt in mouth’ thing once we had the first bite. It’s juicy and for us it’s best eaten with the Garlic Rice. We must credit the Chef in charge as the portion was way generous and will certainly satisfy beef lovers! The beef meat is topped with Goma, in English it means Sesame Seeds and definitely added great taste to that already awesome dish.
Ebi Tobiko Maki (Prawn and Fish Roe) & Sake Ikura Sashimi (Salmon)
The prawn is of the head part. Fried until it’s crunchy enough and there’s some meat inside it. We are not sure if this is best suited for those who hates prawn’s head but we both love it! It’s crunchy and tasty. Next to the Prawn Head there were some Sushi, pickled ginger that had pungent taste (which I love!). There are some Fish Roe in the set. Generally Roe or hard roe is the fully ripe internal egg masses in the ovaries, or the released external egg masses of fish and certain marine animals, such as shrimp, scallop and sea urchins. We love the Roe! It tasted raw, yes, that’s the whole idea of this dish. The word Ikura is shared with the Russian word “Ikra” meaning salmon roe. To those who are not familiar with Japanese Cuisine (as we were before), it is a Japanese dish of bite-sized pieces of raw fish eaten with soy sauce and wasabi paste. This set uses the Salmon. It’s in raw state, best eaten by dipping it in the soy sauce.
Kimpira/Kinpira Gobo (Braised Burdock Root)
Kinpira is a Japanese cooking style that can be summarized as a technique of saute and simmer. It is commonly used to cook root vegetables such as carrot, burdock and lotus root, seaweeds such as arame and hijiki and other foods including tofu and wheat gluten (namafu), and even Chicken or beef. Gobo root is usually incorporated in east Asian dishes. We tried this element as well as we’re curios and curious. It tasted earthy and artichoke-y with a chewy texture. Shaped thinly, it has laxative and antioxidant properties and is a source of iron, magnesium, potassium and prebiotics like inulin, which helps reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Do we like it? Honestly, no. We totally were in love with the other elements but not this one.
We were first served with Japanese Tea and Daikon by the attentive staff at Nagisa, Cliff R Sudi. He explained to us in details about the dish that we’re about to consume. The Tea was delicious and we had countless servings. The Daikon was nice as well. Daikon is a white root vegetable often seen in Japanese and Chinese cuisine that resembles a carrot. However, unlike a carrot’s sweetness, daikon is spicy and tart, similar to a radish. Its pungent and sharp flavor can be enjoyed raw, pickled, or cooked. The one that we had was pickled Daikon.
It’s light and fluffy. Garlicky, of course! It’s obvious in the name. We both love garlicky taste so we had no problems eating it, though we’re not sure how those garlic-haters will react to this type of rice. It’s important to mention that the garlicky taste ain’t strong enough. In fact, it tasted like aromatic fried rice though it’s actually not fried rice. The portion was good enough for both of us, well we each had one bowl.
The Salad was fresh and crunchy with perfect dressing that we both had to admit that we like it so much! The Miso Soup was delicious and we are still craving to have more, up to this moment. Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup consisting of a stock called dashi into which softened miso paste is mixed. Many ingredients are added depending on regional and seasonal recipes, and personal preference.
Love this Matcha Ice-Cream or Green Tea Ice-Cream. Green tea ice cream or Matcha aisu kurīmu or Matcha aisu is a Japanese ice cream flavor.. This flavor is extremely popular in Japan and other parts of East Asia. There’s no need to go that far, it’s here in Nagisa at Hyatt Regency Kinabalu. Order a set of Yasashii Bento, you will get one scoop of this delicious and refreshing Matcha Ice Cream.
We regard the dish as the best that we had so far at Nagisa. It’s delicious with the exception of that Kimpira/Kinpira Gobo (Braised Burdock Root) that we both didn’t finish eating. The other main elements and all sides, emptied, each set, by us. Would we recommend this dish to you? Absolutely yes. It’s available on a limited period of time and while it’s in the menu, go to Nagisa at Hyatt Regency Kinabalu and try it yourself. You will not regret it. The portion is worth more than the tag price. A must-try item before it’s being taken out from the menu. The Chief Editor of curiostraveller.com love this dish and so do I. Hoping to have more, fingers crossed!
Need to try Yasashii Bento? Wait no longer and head for the new set dish at:
Lunch: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm
Dinner: 6:30 pm – 10:00 pm