Maruhi Sakaba is an open secret. If you know of this little hole in the wall Japanese izakaya in the neighbourhood enclave of Taman Desa, then you are probably one of the few who does!
I’ve been coming here for a few years, primarily because it’s one of the more affordable and better places that serve a quick and delicious meal of pork yakitori. They are grilled to order, and the menu has expanded since I was last there.
Their speciality is yakitori, which you order from a menu, depending on the part you want – belly, shoulder, neck, liver etc. And you have a choice of chicken as well. I always choose pork – why have chicken when I can have pork? 😛
My favourites are the belly and shoulder. Grilled pork neck tends to be rather fatty. Also, the melt in your mouth chicken liver is a must have too! The dipping sauce of spicy chilli and ginger-spring onion makes for a good accompaniment to the sticks of yakitori.
These days, Maruhi Sakaba offers some rice bowls as well as some grilled seafood and sashimi – pork liver sashimi anyone?! I didn’t dare try to be honest. There is also some grilled vegetables which I usually don’t order as I don’t find them good value.
The Minced Pork and Egg rice (RM10) is like an oyakodon, and is actually quite good even if it doesn’t look very photogenic. It wasn’t too wet, and there was a good helping of meat and egg and serves to fill up the bits of your tummy that need filling. I like the Hiyashi Tomato as well for its cold, crisp flavour accompanied by the sweet-salty sauce. Delicious and perfect on hot days!
The Grilled Whole Squid (RM25) is as the name implies, a whole large squid, grilled and served with a sauce. It is crunchy and not overcooked and quite well done.
Not to be missed is an order of Maruhi Sour (RM48/kettle or RM16/mug), the in-house cocktail that comes served in a battered old kettle.
Preserved sour plums are served on the side and add a piquant flavour to this alcoholic drink. Very refreshing and perfect at the end of a long work day.
This is a perfect no-frills place to unwind at the end of the day, and to have a fairly light dinner if you don’t want anything too heavy. Eat as little or as much as you like, and wash it all down with some beer, soju or Maruhi Sour. Hang out with your friends a while. It’s a perfect neighbourhood place with good food, good drinks and isn’t wallet busting.
AMBIANCE: It is quite hot as there is no air-conditioning and it is an open place. But come early and you can get some seats near the fan or near the entrance that makes it more bearable. It can get very busy most days especially towards the end of the week and weekends.
SERVICE: The wait staff are always friendly and quick to take your order. I’ve always had excellent service here, and they bring your yakitori to your table the minute it is ready, even if it means just using 1 place per stick! They are also quick to clear and never chase you off your table even when they’re busy and full.
TASTE: Very good. All the yakitori are well grilled to perfection so the meats are soft and juicy and just cooked. I’ve tried their rice bowls and they are good too, and a generous portion for the price. No complaints!
PRICE: Depending on how much you order, it may be a little pricey, but not so to hurt your wallet. If you don’t order drinks then it is fairly affordable. With drinks, the prices do rack up but what is an izakaya without a drink or two?!
It’s quite hard to locate the shop. I missed it the first few times I went there. It’s in the same row as Public Bank in Taman Desa, behind Faber Towers and has a nondescript little signboard that you see above. Blink and miss it!
6A, Faber Plaza,
Jalan Desa Jaya,
Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur
OPENING HOURS: 6-11pm daily Closed on Monday
Maruhi Sakaba @ Taman Desa Kuala Lumpur
Maruhi Sakaba is an open secret, being a no-frills Japanese Izakaya where you can indulge in sticks of yakitori, some simple Japanese fare and Japanese beer and their signature cocktail, Maruhi Sour. Go early and stay till late if you like. The wait staff are friendly, the service is quick and the food is good and affordable. You will not enjoy the hot atmosphere but for the price I won’t complain. Just go early and grab a seat near the fan!
TRY THESE: EVERYTHING! Maruhi Sour cocktail