The Booze Blog - Alcohol, Bars, Malaysia and Beyond.

6 May 2015

Launch: Aka Chochin Izakaya @ Pavillion Kuala Lumpur

Aka Cochin wishes you Irasshaimase!

An Izakaya is a Japanese version of what we know as a pub or bar which has a decent accompanying food or snack menu. 

Izakaya literally translates as "to stay (in a) sake shop". It's historically derived from when the Japanese bought and drank their sake inside the sake shop. Today, this has become the Japanese version of a pub where people hang out after work to drink and unwind with food to snack in-between. 

Aka Chochin means "red lantern" - which is usually found outside an Izakaya.

Put these 2 words together and you have the name of the (relatively) new Japanese outlet in Pavillion, KL. Located at where Circus used to be, it's not too hard to find if you're familiar with Pavillion. 

Aka Chochin is one heck of a good looking place.

Aka Chochin is owned by the Out2Dine Group, the same guys who own Limoncello, Svago, Weissbrau, just to namedrop a few other bigger outlets. 

However, while traditional Izakayas are usually open after working hours with (usually) a limited food menu, this particular one is opened from lunch onwards (something about a condition imposed by the mall) - with a full kitchen to boot. 

We sampled some of the new food menu - it was ALL glorious! (image credit: Aka Chochin)

So Aka Chochin was kind enough to extend me an invite to their big bash a couple of weeks ago to welcome their executive head chef on board - Chef Miguel Huelamo. Yes, he's a Mediterranean chef, running the kitchen of a Japanese Izakaya. 

While you can expect the usual Japanese menu, it's fused with the new chef's international flavours. If you're not a traditionalist and have nothing against fusion-Japanese food, the menu, if the launch food we sampled was anything to go by, is going to be GOOD.

Expect cold & hot snacks, yakitori, teppan, robata, sashimi, nigiri, maki, rice, noodles, soups and even dessert to be featured in their fully illustrated 17-paged menu. 

Oh - it might be in your best interest to know that there's no pork served here. 

But I've gone on enough about the food. While food is and can be an important accompaniment to your drink, this is a booze blog after all, not a food review blog. So I've been totally digressing. :)

More sitting space and a somewhat "hidden" bar with intimate, cozy booths. 

Okay, so let's get on to the liquid side of the story.

While outside is a casual setting of what looks like a Japanese restaurant, there's a section behind the sliding "wall" where the bar and a really cosy sitting area actually resides in. 

Firstly, let me start by saying this - Aka Chochin features a separate beverage menu of about 12 pages thick.

Beer if a vegetable, so drink more beer (no I kid, please don't take this seriously).
Yes, there will be happy hour prices for the beers on tap which are - Carlsberg, Asahi, Hoegaarden and even Leffe.

And - here's something quite special to me that's also available in the shop - iceberg beer. What in the world is that? Tah dah:

The solution to combat our crazy Malaysian heat - iceberg beer.
It's pretty much a slurpee version of a beer, which was originally introduced into Japan since 2012 by Kirin. 

The beer is served with a thick iced foam head, which apparently keeps your beer cold and gassy for longer. I've actually tried this before a few months ago, and the claims are actually TRUE. 

Bonus: the iceberg beer is super refreshing for this stupid Malaysian heat, man. 

Look at all the pretty sakes and sochus lined up in a row. Yum hic yum. 
The beverage menu also features 2 pages of sake options and another full page of soju. But it's all sold by the bottle though.  300ml, 720ml, and even 900ml - depending on the type you're going for.   

There are some basic cocktails, wines, whiskies (I spied Nikka, Kakubin, Yamazaki,) and a small selection of other spirits too. You know, the usual bar-ry stuff.

And if you're not planning to do any imbibing (then why in the world are you hanging out at a Japanese-type bar in the first place? Oh. Just to eat and have your business meetings perhaps... you wuss) - there are of course, non-alcoholic beverages too. There's a selection of juice, tea, coffee and soft drinks. 

The bar is SO pretty, I could hang out here all day all night, just to stare at that anime mural on the wall.
Good food, decent range of drinks, pretty looking place - 3 ticks should be enough reasons to give it a go especially if you're located around the Pavilion area and trying to beat the after work rush hour jam. ;)

For more: https://www.facebook.com/AkaChochinIzakaya

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