Everyone knows all about Japanese food, without a doubt the preferred cuisine of many, be it slurping down noodles at a casual ramen joint or going all out at the city’s finest omakase restaurant. Even Kuala Lumpur is saturated with everything, from conveyer-belt sushi chains to speciality dining rooms.
One newcomer to the Japanese playing field is the interestingly named Last Project. Hidden on the first floor of a shoplot along Bangsar’s Lorong Kurau, it was set up by serial restaurateur Edwin Yau, who has worked on several hip initiatives in KL, including Kaiju Company at APW and Aburii in Taman Tun Dr Ismail.
Offering drinks and light bites, the Last Project’s menu revolves around trendy hand rolls, a US phenomenon that kick-started in its West and East Coasts, where establishments such as KazuNori, Nami Nori and Bondi Sushi all began shaking up the scene with their fusion takes on temaki. The one at Last Project is served open-style, not unlike Danish smørrebrød, but comprises a sheet of seaweed filled with sushi rice and toppings and presented curved like a taco shell, held neatly and presented prettily in a curved, wooden plate. Seven choices are offered, including the New California (RM16), richly filled with avocado, fried ebi, cucumber, tobiko, tanuki (crunchy fried bits of tempura flour) and wasabi mayo; Spicy Tuna with Sardine (RM24) — chopped tuna and Spanish sardines with spicy apricot sauce; and Wagyu Off Cut (RM28), which uses grilled wagyu slices in teriyaki sauce, scallops and honey lemon mayonnaise.
Drinks are a big part of the Last Project experience, so the in-house cocktails are a great way to get the vibe on. Since the menu is Japanese-inspired, a high ball is de rigueur. There is classic lemon (RM28), although if the day has been particularly long and hard, the watermelon high ball (RM30) is a better bet — infinitely more refreshing and with a big hit of fruity sweetness that is salve to the work-weary soul.
There’s saké, umeshu and beer, too, of course, but for a non-chemical romance with a bottle of wine, you might be thrilled to know that small, independent label Su.Na.Wi from Italy’s Lombardy region (Unwined KL is Su.Na.Wi’s Malaysian partner but that’s another story for another issue) is stocked here. Try the Terapia, a refermented sparkling rosé, and Lampo, a red table wine, but it is Ancora, Su.Na.Wi’s distinctive orange wine but made from local white grapes, you want.
Those who insist on having hot cooked food may order from the small but adequate yakitori menu. If you still aren’t satisfied, fill up with an order of Weird Noodles (RM28). Don’t let its name put you off, as the combination of carbs with teriyaki, Szechuan oil and spicy century egg sauce is strangely delicious. Sadly, the desserts were not yet available when we visited, although a return trip is definitely warranted, even if only to try the equally strange but (based on Last Project’s track record so far) surely delicious wagyu ice cream (RM14).
Last Project, 11B First Floor, Lorong Kurau, Off Jalan Kurau, Bangsar. 017 527 7285. Closed on Mondays, 5.30pm to 11pm.
This article first appeared on Oct 3, 2022 in The Edge Malaysia.