XENRI: cultivating a PASSION FOR KAISEKI

In Asian Kitchens, Business Sense, Vol. 26



Xenri is a unique Japanese restaurant serving kaiseki, located in the Old Klang Road of Kuala Lumpur. Despite being located at a hidden corner of the city side, the restaurant has not failed in attracting customers and guests for many years.

BALANCING THE CUSTOMER BASE
Having families and the good old food hunters as regulars, the team behind Xenri opened up that one of the challenges of running a 16 year old restaurant is balancing between the needs of loyal customers and meeting up to the expectations of new customers. While that is the dilemma for many restaurants, the journey has made the team in particular grow stronger in the F&B industry.


Despite the fact that many customers have been visiting Xenri regularly, the restaurant strives to do its best in maintaining consistency in food and service while working on new things to attract new customers to the restaurant. “We focus on our food quality. We choose to not compromise the food quality even when the cost gets high,” said the team behind Xenri.


WHEN CREATIVITY MEETS SKILLS
Xenri is mainly known for kaiseki and sushi omakase menu. On Sundays though, the restaurant extends to buffet servings. With good seasonal ingredients and other air-flown Japanese ingredients as well as good chefs, it is no surprise that Xenri has regular sushi omakase eaters and customers who are particularly interested in saiseki.


The team denoted kaiseki to be a representation of a chef’s character and style; creativity and knowledge of each ingredient. Not only that, it also matters how well the chef knows about Japanese food, seasonal items, and the Japanese cooking methods. That being said, it is clear that there will never be a duplication of one kaiseki meal for another. “It’s about the chef, and the soul of the restaurant that can make you stand out from the rest,” the team said.

The team also credits its success to the creative and skilful chefs that Xenri has, some of which have won culinary awards in both Hong Kong and Malaysia.


A TASTE FOR TECHNIQUE & TECHNOLOGY
The restaurant also credits its success to applying the right cooking techniques. Instead of using the traditional way of cooking the same old wagyu - shabu or teppanyaki, Xenri’s chefs recently introduced the French fine dining cooking method, Sous Vide, to offer better menu offerings to customers.


“Sous Vide is not just a technique, it evolves into the technology side, and it requires much sense and experience from chefs in controlling the temperature and timing,” the team behind Xenri said. “We tried on different temperatures and timings to get the perfect texture and evenly cooked beef/wagyu and fish items. It’s definitely unique compared to the same offerings that other restaurants offer out there.”

THE FUTURE
Although the Japanese food fan base in Malaysia appears huge, the majority of customers are only searching for basic Japanese food, which is conveyor belt sushi.

Yet, in the recent decade, more customers are seeking and craving for more than just sushi. “The market is definitely growing and instead of the usual chain salmon sushi, the customers are looking for something finer,” the team said. It looks like more foodies are looking for a different Japanese culinary experience such as kaiseki, omakase, and menu offerings using seasonal items.

At the same time, more sake pairing events are kicking off in Malaysia and yakitori bar culture is starting to blossom too. The future of the Japanese food culture in Malaysia seems brighter, and it definitely is for Xenri too!

For more information on Xenri, you may contact:
XENRI, BUTBO GROUP SDN BHD
Address : Lot 6, Level 4, Jalan 1/137C, Batu 5, Jalan Kelang Lama, 58000 Kuala Lumpur.
Contact : +603 7785 8828
Website : http://www.xenri.com.my/
http://www.butbogroup.com/

Eileen ChanXENRI: cultivating a PASSION FOR KAISEKI