Although it makes for a catchy headline, the
new Kobe Yakiniku and Japanese Restaurant really is next door to the Pattaya
Language and Computer school, and in fact, the “headmistress” Lamai is
also the guiding force behind the new restaurant. When I asked why a
Japanese restaurant, she just simply introduced me to her brother, a Thai
chef who spent 15 years in Japan and had his own Japanese restaurant in
Bangkok (until he saw the light and migrated south to join his sister).
The restaurant, which has only been open a few weeks, is
set back from the main thoroughfare of Pattaya Klang, in a ‘slip road’
section between the major landmarks Carrefour and Foodland, and on the same
side. It is in a single shophouse, and after you come in through the
(sliding) door, you will find there are only five tables, set in alcoves. At
the back is the Japanese kitchen with four dedicated chef’s under
Lamai’s brother’s watchful eye. These include a sushi chef, a hot pot
chef and the Yakiniku (Japanese BBQ) chef.
The restaurant is spotless, and the chopsticks are
plastic wrapped. Comfy seats invite you to stay, while along one wall are
some larger photographs of different dishes to assist the Japanese novice.
The menu itself has a separate section for lunches with
various ‘sets’ ranging in price between B. 100 and B. 350. They are also
shown in photographs, so the non-Japanese diners will have an idea of what
they are about to get. Great idea.
The main menu is also photographic and is in various
sections - the BBQ, kimchi, rice, soup, sashimi, maki sushi, sushi, nigiri
sushi and one polyglot grouping just called specialities followed by grilled
fish items and the drinks menu which covers local beers and imported sake as
well as the currently very popular green teas. With so many different
dishes, it is not possible to give all the prices in this review, but as a
guide, the most expensive dishes were only B. 350, with many choices less
than B. 100.
Very early in the piece at this restaurant, I decided I
could not possibly decide between all the different dishes, so we just let
Lamai’s brother do it all for us. That was a good decision. As far as
which sauce went with which dish, that was another decision that can be
comfortably left to the serving girls in their traditional style kimonos!
Both “Bus” (the short one) or “Tik” (the tall one), have much
experience in Japanese cuisine, and are very charming young ladies.
The food we tried that evening was exceptionally well
cooked and very well presented, with many being on very Japanese black
plates, just adding visually to the Japanese flavour. The dishes familiar to
us, such as sushi and sashimi, were excellent, and of course there was the
wasabi, which is Miss Terry’s favourite, the pungent nature just
highlighting the taste of the food.
Do try the Ishiyaki spicy fried rice. This comes in a hot
pot, complete with an egg on the top and is then all mixed in together at
the table, while it continues to cook. Another rather special dish was the
kimchi with BBQ pork and lettuce. Again I was quite happy to let the staff
show me how to wrap the pork and spicy accompaniment with the lettuce
leaves. Once you know, it becomes easy! We also tried the tempura prawns,
which came in an excellent batter and their own sharp sauce.
We finished our Japanese interlude with some cold sake,
which came in its own small bottle. I refused the offers of hot sake,
remembering the king-sized hangover that I suffered last time I tried this
For the experienced Japanese diner this restaurant is
another good alternative, and for the non-Japanese diner it represents a
good fun place to dine on something different. Highly recommended.
Kobe Yakinuku and Japanese Restaurant, 194/9 Pattaya Central (Klang)
Road, Pattaya, telephone 038 421 819, fax 038 360 175, open seven days 11
a.m. until 11 p.m. Parking outside, off-street.