For as long as she can remember, Judith Sakata has had just one dream: to one day be the proud owner of a restaurant. She went to night school to learn pastry-making when her kids were asleep, and worked at a bakery and later at a restaurant when the kids were at school. She earned her credentials at a top-notch fusion restaurant in Tokyo before moving back to Malaysia where she quickly became the Executive Pastry Chef for YTL Hotels and Properties, a group that included the Marriott and Ritz Carlton brands in Kuala Lumpur. Several years later, she took on a more modest role in helping Just Heavenly, a Malaysian chain of cake boutiques and cafés, set up and manage a central kitchen. One day, while she was perusing the inflight menu on an Air Asia flight, she thought, “I’m sure this can be improved”. As soon as she got home, she wrote an email to the Air Asia CEO (I’m not kidding!), explaining her motivation and her ideas to improve the inflight food. She had the job within several weeks and went on to revamp the menu! That’s how passionate my sister is when it comes to food!
NOSH that fuels the soul
Driven by her passion, every step she made was a building block to fulfilling her dream, which came true in October 2012 when she and her business partner, Ann Lee, opened NOSH. For those wondering what it means, NOSH is slang for ‘food’ or ‘eat’ – it can be used both as a noun or a verb. NOSH represents Judith’s lifelong passion for food, specifically, food that fuels the soul.
I was in Kuala Lumpur to cheer my sister on during the grand opening of NOSH. When I stepped into the restaurant for the first time, I was struck by the simple interior – a bright space with a long white wall and uncluttered tables. Perhaps a bit too plain but at NOSH, as I was about to discover, the food – a mix of Western and Asian influences – takes centrestage.
NOSH has two menus: a brunch menu and the main menu. The brunch menu (only available on weekends and public holidays), arguably the most extensive of its kind in Kuala Lumpur, features hearty favourites such as pancakes, French toast and eggs in a multitude of intriguing combinations; whilst the main menu comprises an eclectic selection of Asian and Western-style dishes.
My favourites at NOSH
NOSH’s elaborate brunch menu has something for everyone on those lazy weekend mornings; from the NOSH Full Monty (bacon, sausages, eggs and hash browns) to toasties, pancakes and desserts.
I didn’t get to try everything on the main menu, though I wish I could because everything looked so good! I was thrilled to find out that the NOSH kitchen makes most of its own pastas. Two pastas caught my attention in an instant: the home-made beef tortellini (filled with succulent beef cheeks and mascarpone) and the pappardelle in a basil pesto sauce. Both were, in one word: divine!
Another dish I absolutely loved was the Roasted Ayam Percik (roasted chicken with spices). Instead of rice, this traditional Malaysian dish was served on a bed of couscous, in my book, a small stroke of genius. The spicy flavours blended superbly with the fluffy couscous!
I wish I’d gone for the Braised Beef Cheeks (slow cooked and braised in a coffee-infused sauce) as this dish is quickly gaining ‘celebrity’ status in Kuala Lumpur! Oh well, that’s one more reason to return soon!
Another reason to return soon are the NOSH desserts. Both Judith and Ann have extensive experience in pastry and desserts so it comes as no surprise that the desserts at NOSH are top of the bill. They make their own ice-creams and sorbets and only use the finest ingredients, such as the highly-acclaimed Valrhona chocolate. The dessert that left me scrambling for more is the Valrhona Heaven – a combination of molten chocolate cake, tart au chocolat and chocolate ice-cream. If you love chocolate, you’ll love this dessert!
Judith and Ann are the perfect pairing as both have a great eye for detail and a keen focus on quality. Above all, their passion for food shines through in everything they do. Through the years, I’ve watched my sister toil to achieve her dream. It’s unbelievably cool to see the fruits of her work reflected in NOSH and to read the rave reviews it’s been receiving.
Here are some of the reviews:
I’m so proud of my sister for this brilliant achievement and I’m thrilled to bits about the great things the public is saying about NOSH. Hat’s off to you Jud! You’ve done it!
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