[编辑 Editor 吕大人 英译 Translator 刘大人 摄影 Photographer 刘大人]
Located on the top of Mt. Otokoyama in Yawata city, Kyoto, Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine is one of the three significant Hachimangu Shrines of Japan (Usa-Iwashimizu-Hakozaki) dedicated in 860 to Hachiman, the god of archery and war. Also known as Yawata no kami for the protection of the nation, the name literally means “God of Eight Banners”, a reference to the eight heavenly banners that signalled the birth of the divine Emperor Ōjin – the 15th emperor of Japan. As the patron deity of the Minamoto clan and of warriors in general, Hachiman is seldom worshipped alone, and Hachiman shrines are most frequently dedicated to three deities, namely Hachiman as Ōjin, his mother the Empress Jingō and the goddess Himegami.
深受八幡神影响的不仅仅是大和民族，即连远在当地深造的 Ashton 亦是其一，这家位于新山茂奥斯汀的日式定食ていしょく – 八幡神 Yawata-No-Kami，正是当年他於日本深造学厨时随友人往八幡市里的石清水八幡宫走了一遭后，被那儿郁郁葱葱、平和的绿林气息震慑，醍醐灌顶，「当时的直觉告诉我，以后开餐厅就以此命名。」
Not only is Hachiman much revered throughout Japan, but his influence has also touched a young Malaysian who was pursuing his culinary interest in Japan. A chanced visit to Iwashimizu Hachimangu while on vacation so imbued him with a special aura of calmness and supremacy that he made a promise to himself to name his future restaurant after the Shinto god of war – 八幡神 Yawata-No-Kami!
於2015年归国的他，其实赴日前曾辗转在数家餐饮集团积累了丰富的实战经验，尔后留学期间亦曾於日本六本目、上野、新宿等餐馆游学观摩，年纪轻轻即已考获东京数一数二的寿司学府 Tokyo Sushi Academy (東京すしアカデミー) 与日本语能力测试 JLPT N2 的认证。
Having graduated with successive Diplomas, Degrees and Masters in Japanese Culinary and Sushi & Sashimi at the famous Tokyo Sushi Academy (東京すしアカデミー) and passing his JLPT N2 in a little under 2 years, Ashton’s stint in Tokyo also saw him having tutelage with top Japanese chefs in Roppongi, Ueno and Shinjuku restaurant before returning home to fulfil a lifelong dream of setting up his own eatery!
2019年5月12日，凝聚心血四年后的 Ashton 果然信守当日於林间对自己许下的诺言，仔细瞧看木墙上的品牌标徽，以形似仙鹤、象征幸福吉祥与自由的天堂鸟，搭以拥有啟蒙与力量的意味，笔墨一气呵成、无拘无束的一圆相「一円相，yichienso, いちえんそう，乃是汉传佛教十三宗之一禅宗的一个符号」。即便微小若标徽，Ashton 也带着敬畏之心细细编织着梦想，想必八幡神 Yawata-No-Kami 的和风定食滋味不可小觑，「难怪许多日籍饕客一试成主顾，因为这儿的味道对他们而言，犹如味蕾返乡啊！」
Four years on, Ashton made good of his promise, with the opening of 八幡神 Yawata-No-Kami on 12 May 2019. Drawing inspiration from Zen aesthetics, the Yichienso「一円相」represents the state of mind at that particular moment when it’s free, with a hand-drawn circle produced by a single, continuous brushstroke on the outer logo to encompass enlightenment, strength, elegance, universe and void. Within the ring, the Strelitzia plant or Bird of Paradise signifies peace and harmony in line with Japan’s Shinto religion, a union that typifies Ashton‘s aspiration to flex his culinary talents and handle the delicate craft in Japanese cuisine. In a short span of 2 months, 八幡神 Yawata-No-Kami was much frequented by Japanese food lovers and native expatriates, a testament to the authenticity of its food and service style.
在八幡神 Yawata-No-Kami 的标徽下似乎也能瞧出些 Ashton 对于打造餐饮事业版图的端倪 – 喫茶店、カフェ、居酒屋、和食屋、洋食屋，万变不离其宗，对于和食那不离不弃的偏爱，受惠的绝对是一众饕客，「Ashton! 快把拿手绝活都使出来吧！」
A closer look at 八幡神 Yawata-No-Kami‘s logo also reveals the ambitious plan to bring together his own multi-sensorial gastronomy concepts comprising, kissaten (Japanese-style tearoom), kafe (Japanese-style cafe), izakaya (Japanese pub), washokuya (Japanese restaurant) and youshokuya (western restaurant) serving authentic flavours under one roof. With much anticipation, we began to peruse the menu, and are not surprised by the variety of offerings. From sashimi to sushi, bento to teishoku, we are starting to wonder what would really be the star of the show or every dish here is a signature in its own right.
餐谱上的套餐命名颇有心思，总是戏言自己得了中二病的 Ashton，为八幡神 Yawata-No-Kami 里的许多料理名称加入了动漫与神道元素，「完全可以感受 Ashton 将所有他最喜爱的事物都融合在这店里了！」与大人一起用餐的芳子就直言，虽然这儿并非由日籍料理师傅所主理，所呈献的滋味却受到许多移居本地的日籍人士的喜爱与鉴定，八幡神的功力可见一斑！
While 八幡神 Yawata-No-Kami does not look like it’s straight out of a fantasy movie or graphic novels series, we could see how Ashton creatively combines his passion for both Japanese culinary and comic culture into the naming of his signature dishes. Being a self-confessed “otaku” (おたく/オタク), a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests, particularly in anime and manga, even Yoshiko, a native from Tokyo among others, could relate to the attention to details that both this chef-owner and the restaurant could offer!
冥. 邪自灭斗便当 Kurai Judgement Pork Bento & 南蛮炸猪扒便当 Japanese Tartar Pork Bento
在这种世道里，还能有店家愿意释出善意祭出如此份量如此价格的肉食便当，大人怎能不大力支持？两道猪扒便当异曲同工，芳子边尝着冥. 邪自灭斗便当 (Kurai Judgement Pork Bento, RM29.90, 上图) 边告诉咱们这在日本可是家常料理，「八幡神这儿处理得相当出色，让人意犹未尽呢！」
听了芳子一席话，大人对于眼前所点的南蛮炸猪扒便当 (Japanese Tartar Pork Bento, RM15.90) 自是信心十足啊！外脆里嫩的炸猪扒蘸点了塔塔酱后，一秒让人食欲大增，「以后的午餐就是你了！」
There you go. When our very first dish to be served is none other than a pork cutlet set called Kurai Judgement Pork Bento, you know this signature dish is really power. An excellent tell-tale sign of good tonkatsu has its crisp exterior aromatically fried, while its interior remains exquisitely tender and juicy. And true enough, the accompanying pork belly was juicy with crisp layers of fat and collagen. Both are a must, considering they are one of the most popular staple dishes in Japan and they received our thumbs up.
Chicken Nanban is a fairly familiar concept to us, but the Japanese Tartar Pork Bento topped with sweet and sour tartar sauce tasted just as great! Both portions are generous for one at such an astoundingly low price, we could envision ourselves being regulars among the growing daily lunch crowd.
烤五花肉 (大蒜) Grilled Beef Teishoku
选用来自澳洲的牛前腰脊肉部位，这道撒上黑白芝麻的薄切烤五花肉 (大蒜) (Grilled Beef Teishoku, RM18.90) 颇有嚼劲，饱吸厚醇酱汁，绝对是一等一的白饭杀手！「再来一杯沁凉无比的啤酒交融调味，原来怎么吃也不会有赤字的感觉如此疗愈啊！」
Using the short loin portion of premium Australia’s beef, our Grilled Beef Teishoku was very umami with the ideal distribution of fats to lean tissue within each slice. Sadly, there wasn’t much sauce to coat the rest of the rice if you finish the beef first, so be sure to spread the meat throughout with each mouthful. On the other hand, we think this would go down well with some icy cold beer, especially in this sultry hot weather.
塩焼き • 鯖 盐烤鲭鱼 Salt Mackerel Teishouku
大人我擦擦双眼确认没看错价钱吧？这盐烤鲭鱼 (塩焼き • 鯖，Salt Mackerel Teishouku, RM13.90，亦可选择照烧鲭鱼) 定价太佛心，足足比邻近餐馆实惠了许多，难怪午餐时分能一举掳获许多上班族与学子们的青睐！皮衣酥脆而肉质藏汁不干柴，「再淋上几滴柠檬雨，微焦咸香的鲭鱼搭着白饭与味噌汤，小资族的小确幸午餐，少不了这一味！」
The Salt Mackerel Teishouku is one of our new favourites, which comes with rice, pickles, salad and miso soup. Noticeably larger in portion size and smelt less fishy, the mackerel is grilled to a light crisp and managed to retain a nice amount of juiciness. The amount of salt used was also spot-on, and a drizzle of lemonade further highlight the fish’s natural flavour. Extremely value for money, considering the portion and location!
Catastrophic Planetary Devastation Unagi Sushi Rice Bowl
尝过一次必然回头的地爆天星鰻魚壽司蓋飯 (Catastrophic Planetary Devastation Unagi Sushi Rice Bowl, RM34.90) 不仅名堂响亮，份量亦相当澎湃啊！「平日有在逛超市的看官们，想必也知道鳗鱼价格不菲吧？瞧瞧八幡神的版本！根本就是超有诚意，不仅份量大得几乎快把白饭给掩盖了，而且滋味绝妙，非尝不可啊！」
O-M-G! How could we not agree with the “catastrophic” nature of this dish, with plump unagi of epic proportion practically covered the entire bowl and the well-seasoned rice beneath? Aptly named Catastrophic Planetary Devastation Unagi Sushi Rice Bowl, the generous portion could easily make us over a dozen unagi sushis to fill our tummies to our hearts’ content. This right here is probably the best unagi set we’ve had in town, especially with its pocket-friendly price given it’s a relatively premium dish if we were to buy the fish and cook it for ourselves.
芒果望族酥炸软壳蟹裏巻 Mango Royalty Soft Shell Crab Uramaki
高碳水就高碳水吧！大人我今天豁出去了！姿态撩人的芒果望族酥炸软壳蟹裏巻 (Mango Royalty Soft Shell Crab Uramaki, RM27.90) 那红色钳子在召唤我啊！「一口就是一次幸福的交汇，软嫩香甜的芒果与酥脆爽口的软壳蟹，层次有力，到八幡神这儿不点这一道，你绝对会走宝！」
Think of uramaki as an “inside out rolls”. the Mango Royalty Soft Shell Crab Uramaki was a sight to behold with a novel taste that’s highly palatable. Dressed with succulent slivers of mango, the refreshing combination worked well, with the fruity flavour complementing the soft shell crab. We also like the fact that they are easy to pick up with our chopsticks with their square shape somehow!
Heavenly Subjugation of the Omnipresent God Sashimi Set
重头戏来了！压轴出场当然自有其道理！神羅天征刺身綜合平盤 (Heavenly Subjugation of the Omnipresent God Sashimi Set, RM139.90) 聚集了9种刺身，仿佛一场高颜值的海上嘉年华派对！「仅需佐以山葵与酱油，即可轻松演绎何谓食指大动！」
It’s not easy to find affordable sashimi, as fish is already expensive, and the effort to keep raw fish fresh enough for sashimi further hike up prices. With the Heavenly Subjugation of the Omnipresent God Sashimi Set (9 types, 3 pieces) among others, we able to satisfy our cravings for these raw fish indulgence to our hearts’ (and stomachs’) content!
Sumimasen, (bring on the) wasabi and soy sauce onegaishimasu!
Ashton 就明言本地饕客最爱的必属烧烤类料理；芳子则盛赞这儿的料理滋味相当正宗，备受日籍食客推荐；大人必须得说，八幡神的料理价格佛心已是不可否认之事实，介于 RM12.90-RM19.90 的选择比比皆是。看官们！每一道和风料理在这儿都有它的使命，走入八幡神，让憩息已久的五脏六腑统统都被激活吧！
Staying true to the traditional sashimi and sushi-making technique that he’d learned in Japan, Ashton also offers some interesting flavours with his teishoku, bento and other Japanese food with an “otaku” twist. While 八幡神 Yawata-No-Kami may not boast its own native owner or chefs, but expect nothing less from Ashton and his team of talented local chefs in serving authentic Japanese cuisine with his own flair in flavours and finesse in the presentation, much to the approval of Yoshiko and his growing legion of Japanese native expats and residents!
📍 G-02, Block A, Akademik Suite, Jalan Austin Heights Utama, Taman Mount Austin, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor
📞 +6018-227 6861
🕙 12:00pm to 4:00pm, 6.00pm to 10.00pm (Tuesday to Sunday), Closed on Mondays
💻 八幡神 Yawata-no-Kami