Rocku Yakiniku, KL

Do you remember Seoul Kitchen? In my early teenage years this cook-it-yourself Korean BBQ concept was hugely popular, way before K-pop was even a thing. It was really cheap, largely populated by students and families. Seoul Kitchen eventually built itself into a chain and then a few years ago, declined and disappeared. Yet at the same time, the whole cook-it-yourself concept became ever increasingly popular. Now, I can’t imagine not having at least one of these concept meals every few months. Korean BBQ grills are popular, but my favourite so far has to be Hai Di Lao which is Shanghainese ma la hotpot.

Usually I love these meals in groups so you could take advantage of all the variety, but when Shawn and I stumbled upon Rock U in Pavilion, KL, we immediately felt like having this Japanese grill. The weekend meal was so cheap! All you can eat meat and seafood platters at RM39.90 (USD9.90) for lunch and RM49.90 for dinner. Comparably the outlet in Singapore costs SGD32.90 (USD23.90) on weekends, something we'd never pay for nor visit when we're back home. You get to pick unlimited platters of different meats and seafood (win!) but on a timer of 2 hours and 10 minutes to finish your meal before the table was reclaimed. I’m not sure if this is how long the coal burns and they chase you out thereafter or whether it was to prevent people from sitting there all day eating a few meals for one price. Either way, 2 hours was a really long time to be cooking and eating. 

They had the usual row of raw and cooked foods accompanying the grill, and you could pick from an assortment of fresh vegetables, sausages, Japanese salads, edamame, sushi, chawanmushi and fried udon and rice. Their sauces turned out to be limited: ponzo, soy, chilli, spicy miso (not bad) and the ultimate ponzu chilli which was pretty epic but very spicy. It goes without saying that in these BBQ concepts the sauces are make or break accompaniments for the meal and the line up at Rock U was pretty disappointing.

We got slices of beef, lamb, and pork belly, which were quite fresh and tasty. Not all meats were marinated so some turned out pretty bland. But the overall mix of meat, vegetables and sauces built up lovely flavours.

The most expensive part of our meal had to be the sake we ordered. When Shawn asked, do you want a large bottle and I said yes, what we didn’t expect was a bottle the size of my thigh. We ended drinking half of it - what’s a Japanese grill without some sake - and enjoying the acoustic live band that sang respectably rocking songs throughout our meal.

Rocku Yakiniku

Level 7, Pavilion, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur