Wagyu, in all its shapes and forms, is always a treat for the senses—but every gastronome knows that meat is only one part of the matter. Other elements play a role in its enjoyment, from its accompaniments on the table to the dining environment.
Although a medium rare wagyu steak would be my ideal last supper, thinly sliced wagyu— warm-pink and still hot from a charcoal grill—would be a strong second. The best place for the latter if you live closer to a Petaling Jaya postcode than a Kuala Lumpur one would be Asumo.
Smack dab in the middle of SS15’s dining enclave in Subang Jaya, Asumo is a credit to F&B entrepreneur Kota Furuya of Kyomo (previously known as Shin Nihon and still specialising in yakiniku), Kingyu, and Itsumo fame. Although the trio of restaurants are popular in Sri Hartamas, Furuya saw the opportunity to capture the ready market for wagyu yakiniku in Subang Jaya, where a flurry of Japanese restaurants are flourishing,
Asumo stands out by offering halal-certified Wagyu sourced from Miyazaki and Tokushima prefectures in Japan. Furuya orders whole cattle, rather than selected cuts, directly from Japan for the price advantage he can transfer to customers, while a master butcher ensures proper handling for the best culinary experience. At Asumo, this translates to a carnivorous paradise with a wide selection of cuts. Cocooned in one of the 20-plus individual or semi-private rooms, diners can feast unabashedly. Premium platters allow the epicurean to try up to 10 cuts of Wagyu, including chuck eye roll, silverside and rib eye, though the selection depends on availability. If you doubt your skill at the grill, engage the expertise of the friendly waitstaff who will do the job for you. Once the marbled cuts in your preferred doneness make their way to your plate, relish them with spicy leek sauce, green onion soy sauce, seasoned wasabi, or a touch of white rock salt.
Lightly charred, succulent, and almost hedonistically indulgent, Wagyu is undoubtedly the star of the show here, but it would be a pity not to check out other items on the menu. The deeply-scored “diamond thick cut” tongue (RM22) has a firm and juicy bite. In contrast, the marinated meatballs (RM13 – RM15) are soft, almost overly so—opt for one served with egg yolk and homemade yakitori sauce to tempt the gods of cardiovascular health. In the mood for a light bite? Try the sea urchin on thin, seared sirloin (RM35 per spoon), with its flirtation of flavours and textures sealed with briny bursts of caviar.
If carbs are your Achilles heel, forget playing coy and simply give in to staples such as the garlic fried rice (RM21) and stir-fried or soupy ramen (RM27). The spicy beef broth (RM22) is hearty on its own but goes especially well with rice, while the kale salad (RM25) counters any guilt about gluttony with a festive heaping of springy kale and cherry tomatoes drizzled with a secret dressing.
Sushi, tempura, skewers of seafood, and sweet treats such as pudding (RM13) and matcha tiramisu (RM16) complete the meal, while beverages include highballs, beer, sake, shochu, and wine. In sum, if you’re in the mood for yakiniku in a smart-casual environment, a night out at Asumo might be just what the doctor ordered. Pro tip: opt to get dropped off. Not only does this save you the notorious hassle of looking for a parking spot, but it also frees you up to imbibe with a clear conscience.