Himawari Japanese Restaurant: Secret spot in Japan Club KL serving homely Japanese food & all-you-can-read manga

Having grown up on Japanese manga, sushi and Studio Ghibli movies, it’s no secret that my lifelong dream has always been to visit Japan. So when I stumbled upon the Himawari Japanese Restaurant located inside the Japan Club of Kuala Lumpur (JCKL), it felt like I was transported straight to the Land of the Rising Sun. 

If you look up Himawari Japanese Restaurant on Google, it will show you another restaurant with the same name located in Taman Desa but take note—it’s a totally different place. While the signboard at the entrance of the JCKL building says that it’s for members only, you can still dine in at the restaurant. Just be prepared to hand over your driving licence in exchange for a visitor’s pass. 

Himawari Japanese Restaurant - exterior

From the parking lot, you have to walk to the building at the end. Take the lift to the first floor and right after JM My Second Home Consultancy, you’ll discover a classic wood-centric restaurant with a lantern on display at its entrance. You’ll know you’re in the right place because most of the diners are Japanese

Excitedly, I stepped in.

What I tried at Himawari Japanese Restaurant

I started off with a classic Japanese hot appetiser, Chawanmushi (RM4) which was served in a dainty little teacup. 

Himawari Japanese Restaurant - food

If you love steamed eggs with a custard-like consistency, then Himawari’s chawanmushi hits the spot. The hearty little dish contained all the usual suspects:, mushroom slices, crabstick and a tiny prawn. But the star was truly the egg custard itself— umami, velvety and smooth. Mouthfuls of the silky chawanmushi slid down my throat easily and before I even knew it, the entire teacup was wiped clean. Delicious.

Restaurant - bento lunch set

Himawari offers a variety of à la carte menu options, but the most sought after is their lunch set. I opted for the Sashimi Set Lunch (RM19.80) which came with 2 slices of salmon, 3 slices of yellowtail, 5 tiny slices of squid, a bowl of rice, a tiny chunk of sausage covered in sauce, a customary bowl of miso soup, and 2 slices of papaya. 

Restaurant - food

I was particularly pleased with the freshness of the sashimi. The yellowtail had a buttery and tender texture and when dipped in the soy sauce gave it a light, sweet-salty taste. I was more than happy to pop the smooth, meaty salmon sashimi into my greedy mouth. The squid sashimi meanwhile had a very subtle and light flavour. My only gripe would be to wish for the squid sashimi to be larger. But at RM19.80, who am I to complain? It definitely is tough to get such prices at other Japanese restaurants in KL. 

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Encouraged by my first two courses, I decided to round off my meal with an icy dessert. To my delight, Himawari served Kakigori, otherwise known as Japanese shaved ice. There’s a variety of flavours to choose from: Milk Kakigo-ri (milk shaved ice), Uji Kintoki (green tea with red bean shaved ice) or Milk Kintoki (milk with red bean shaved ice). 

Himawari Japanese Restaurant - food

I happily opted for the Uji Kakigo-ri (RM7) which I came to learn was Japanese shaved ice with green tea. If you were to ask any of my friends or colleagues, they’d tell you that half of my body probably consists of green tea. When the dessert arrived, I couldn’t wait and immediately dug my spoon into the green icy mountain and took a bite. 

Like many of my previous experiences with Japanese shaved ice, I expected a soft, light and fluffy iced dessert which would melt in my mouth like freshly fallen snow. Instead, what greeted my taste buds was brittle crushed ice that, to be frank, reminded me more of Malaysia’s ais kacang. The green tea flavour was weak and did not help the coarse texture of the ice. Ah, what a disappointment,

Final thoughts

Himawari Japanese Restaurant - library

This restaurant is definitely like nothing I’ve been in before. With a Japanese-style curtain hanging from the ceiling, wooden tables and an entire library dedicated to Japanese manga and fueled with Japanese chatter, I felt like I was dining in a cosy restaurant in Tokyo. 

If you’re wondering about the library, the cashier explained that one would just need to be a member of JCKL and they may come in to read the books for free. 

Despite the kakigori ending my meal on a sour note, I’ve never felt more at home at a restaurant. I’d definitely bring along my Japanese-obsessed friends for another visit. And perhaps in the next round, I’ll opt for the matcha ice cream instead. 

Expected damage: RM20 – RM40 per pax

Senya serves mouthwatering Japanese pork don & fatty salmon belly sashimi

Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Himawari Japanese Restaurant

2, Jalan 1/86, off, Jalan Taman Seputeh, Taman Seputeh, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 58000

Price
Our Rating 4/5

Himawari Japanese Restaurant

2, Jalan 1/86, off, Jalan Taman Seputeh, Taman Seputeh, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 58000

Telephone: +603 2274 2791
Operating Hours: 11.30am - 2.30pm & 6pm - 9.30pm (Mon to Fri), 11.30am - 10pm (Sat & Sun)
Telephone: +603 2274 2791

Operating Hours: 11.30am - 2.30pm & 6pm - 9.30pm (Mon to Fri), 11.30am - 10pm (Sat & Sun)
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