Hokano - Must Try!!

I have to say...although I've been working in Damansara Uptown for more than a year now, when it comes to eating places there aren't that many choices, especially for cheap and tasty food. Most tasty foods don't come cheap in that area, and sadly cheap foods are not all that tasty. *Sigh* 

Yet, there are still a few 'gems' that we can find every now and then - all thanks to some savvy colleagues who are more familiar with the area than me! Case in point, Hokano restaurant...tucked away quietly just a few shops away from the Maybank in Damansara Uptown, Hokano serves REALLY good Japanese food at quite affordable prices (considering how expensive Japanese food can be!). Let's move on to some photos. Heh!

Forgot to take photos of the restaurant itself, but the set up is quite simple and unassuming....so much so that one might think the food is not up to par coz it doesn't look chic or posh like most Japanese restaurants. DO NOT let that fool you!

I came here with some colleagues for a farewell lunch with another colleague. We've read good reviews about the place in some blogs, so we'd decided to try it out =) Started off with some Ocha (green tea). Quite thick but not overwhelming...me likes! I think I'm becoming a sucker for most things green tea...hahaha!

Then our food arrived! Hokano has some really cool lunch sets so I ordered this: The Sashimi lunch set. How AWESOME is this??? There's ample cuts of sashimi, rice, chawanmushi, miso soup, salad, a small appetizer and cuts of fruit! And all these for only - wait for it - RM23.50! 

Close up on my sashimi...I've not been a big fan of sashimi before, but recently I've come to acquire a liking for it. These delicious cuts really are scrumptious. The white fish is a little on the thick side, but so fresh that all is forgiven when you bite into it when dipped with a bit of soy sauce and wasabi. It all just melts into your mouth like butter....MMMMMM! My favorite is still the long slice of salmon belly in the front here...smooth and silky, I wish there were more instead of just one slice!

Some other highlights of my meal. I'm assuming this is the appetizer for the day, but this small plate of stir-fried brinjals really packs a punch. Goes down REALLY well with the rice (which, by the way I finished the whole thing...I know, carbs are evil but these carbs are so good I can't stop. LOL!) and the texture was JUST right; not too soggy or too hard *grins*

Ah yes, another favorite of mine! This is also a recent acquired liking...chawanmushi! I've never given thought to it before....it was like normal steamed egg with some pieces of meat inside, but now I've come to appreciate the slight hint of smokiness; the creaminess of the egg that can only be acquired with lots of skill (it's SO easy to oversteam egg 'custards' like this). Plus, the marinated pieces of meat hidden inside are just nicely done and made a nice 'surprise' when you reach the bottom of the cup.

Some other photos of my colleagues' orders...this is the Salmon Teriyaki set (RM21.90). Also comes with the same sides.

I really like this glossiness of the well done salmon belly. Look at the sheer size of it! Think I might just try this set the next time I'm there...heh!

The Saba Surioyaki set (RM17.50). Same sides too =)

Was told this is a type of mackerel, but look at that crispy skin! Yummers!

Of course, one can always choose from the a la carte menu there but the lunch sets are really quite worth the buck if you like the selections that they offer =) Hokano also offers other kinds of Japanese fare like sushi, noodles, and rice dishes...it's definitely a must try!

The Drive

I have an...affinity with ghost 'stuff', if you can call it that. While I'm not a big fan of these things, somehow or other I get quite a few opportunities to catch horror movies and the like. Some I'd come to enjoy and appreciate, while some made me cringe and laugh.

Yesterday, however was quite an eye-opener...quite literally too! LOL! I had the chance to catch a friend of mine performing in a play called "The Drive" at The Actor's Studio in Lot 10 (which by the way, was a very cool place to have a performance studio! Loved the rooftop there!) I have to shamefully admit that I didn't really give much thought to the description of the play before I attended the performance. All I knew was my friend is going to be one of the main cast and I'm there to support her :) What I came away with at the end of the performance was a mind-blown, awe-struck experience and the impression that theater in Malaysia can be quite cool with the right people...so much so that I HAD to blog about this ASAP!

The main 'frame' of the story is about these 3 guys on a drive out to hunt for ghosts as fodder for their growing blog readership. On the way, what better way to fuel their imagination than to tell each other ghost stories? And so, we're taken into these stories and boy, they are kind of scary! Yes, even coming from me...the one who had to watch quite a few horror movies (not by choice) and had gotten quite immune to these things. I don't want to spoil the plot so much for those who are planning to catch it so please go and watch it to experience it all.

You'd probably think I am biased because I went there to catch my friend performing....that's true in a way. I was there to just see how good she did in the play, but after it all ended, I admired a lot of the other cast as well....so much talent in the cast! From the goofiness of the three guys, the intensity of the scenes brought on by the characters, the comedic timing breaking the tension at times, to the creepiness in the stories that I can only just say kudos for a job well done!

What really impressed me also was the synchronization of the sound effects and lighting with the timing of the actors...although it is a scripted play, I do think that to synchronize everything down to a T takes quite a bit of effort and LOADS of practice. The  lighting, sound effects and even the songs used during the transitions really made it so believable that for some time, I was immersed into the whole experience. Probably that's what made it quite scary for me...even though the actors are playing characters, but because they're in the flesh and so upclose (I had front row seats) that creepiness just intensifies that much.

At the end of it all, it really was loads of fun to catch awesome plays like these....do catch it if you can! The run of the shows are only until THIS SUNDAY, so go catch it quick! Ticketing information can be found at The Actors' Studio's website here (click) or you can even check out the Facebook page that they created for the play! (click) Here's a preview video of the play in case you're wondering...*grins*