Ore, Damansara Perdana
Oden and okonomiyaki, grilled fish and gyoza: For devotees of Japanese soul food that stems from the streets, Ore is an under-the-radar destination to discover, set up like an alleyway stand with one man cooking up a smoky storm – true to this stall’s name, a masculine singular pronoun.
The oden is a soul-warmer, with achingly tender, fleshy daikon, konnyaku, chikuwa, satsuma age and other fish cakes, steamy in a delicate broth, more naturally nuanced than the commercialised oden of convenience stores, as nourishing and nursing as a home-simmered stew (RM18 for oden with all six available ingredients, with the fish cakes impressively own-made by Ore).
If you scorn stodgy, greasy okonomiyaki that lumbers overbearingly on the taste buds and weighs heavily on the waistline, Ore’s is a refreshingly airier change, stuffed wholesomely with a larger proportion of plump prawns and crunchy cabbage for more-killer, less-filler pleasure, aflutter with katsuobushi – we wiped this plate clean with ease (RM18).
The selection of grilled fish is ever-evolving – saba will likely be offered, but request the salmon, marinated for two nights in saikyo miso; it’s flaky-moist, smooth and sultry-sweet, decadently fatty, capped with a crisp skin for the final satisfying flourish (RM30). A should-order for salmon fans.
With neither pork nor beef on the menu, chicken is the cornerstone of the gyoza (RM10) and hambagu (RM18), relatively less robust-tasting than typical but still nicely textured, very capably executed for a Malaysian chef who has his hands full cooking for three or four tables simultaneously.
Meat-free but mouthwatering: Creamy Japanese curry rice comes with crisp pumpkin and potato korokke, plus pickles and a chilled, carrot-laced potato salad, for a one-plate meal (more or less) to please (RM18).
Japanese beer can be ordered at The Koffist, a co-working cafe by day that doubles as Ore’s dining hall at night.