Izakaya where food is more than a comfort
A Japanese izakaya, a sort of bar-restaurant hybrid, is always a great choice to enjoy drinks over lively conversation with close friends while snacking on small dishes of tasty food.
Izakaya is extremely popular as an after-work destination for Japanese office workers. Several of these restaurants have been opened in the Gubei area, Changning District, where many of the Japanese community reside.
Yet, this type of dining culture has quickly extended around other parts of the city. Some keep a traditional look while others have chosen a novel, modern approach.
Mikawa Izakaya on Nanchang Road near iapm mall, is newly opened and packed every night from 6pm.
The Japanese izakaya experience has been taken to another level by many establishments, who have created a central open kitchen where fresh seafood, vegetables and skews are all beautifully displayed in front of diners. It creates a visual appeal while at the same time helping diners to choose off the menu.
The food at izakaya is inspired by almost all styles of Japanese cuisine: from sushi and sashimi to grilled meat on a stick, which people from all cultures can relate to and enjoy.
I started off my evening by ordering small appetizers: wagyu beef and sea urchin tartar, boiled beef tongue and steamed clam in sake. The freshness of the sea urchin was in no doubt but the sauce over the tartar was salty and heavy in taste, covering the original flavors of the raw materials.
True to the Japanese yakitori spirit, the centerpiece is still the charcoal grill used by the chefs to cook meat, fish and vegetables — handily skewered to perfection. The bar counter takes up most of the space in the restaurant, allowing guests a close-up view of the chefs’ preparation.
Grilled chicken parts are still the most popular orders for a casual night, from chicken meatballs, mentaiko chicken wings, chicken neck, chicken shoulder to chicken skin.
Beyond the menu, there are several varieties of fresh seafood you can pick and order. If you want a more fulfilling experience ask the staff about the availability of the day’s dishes.
Drink wise, all the typical Japanese liquors are on offer from highballs to premium sake.
The service is good in general but a bit overly attentive.
Opening hours: 11am-2pm, 5pm-4am
Address: Unit 406, 509 Nanchang Rd
Average price: 300 yuan (US$43.43)