It was my long standing desire to try Sushi. Served only in fine dining restaurants or small kiosks in malls who ‘claim’ it to be a sushi, I feel it is still an expensive affair for a just-graduate-first-job-employee, in India. Always on a tight budget, I wanted to make sure that the restaurant I went to is both, an authentic Japanese cuisine specialist and not too dearly priced. After almost a yearlong search, Izakaya answered my call.

Izakaya in Japanese means a small place to drink ‘Sake’, which also serve food. “I” (to stay) and “sakaya” (sake shop).

As we entered Izakaya, in my usual frank way I told the manager that we are experimental guinea pigs who have no clue about Japanese culinary. And that it was his responsibility to make sure we order properly and have a good time.

He sent across Mr. Hao Kip who helped us through the entire menu. He honestly suggested what we must try and what we must leave for later. I kept throwing questions at him and he patiently explained about the style of cooking, types of noodles & rice and even what Wasabi is with much detail.

If that’s not enough, when Sushi arrived, Mr. Kip showed us the perfect way to eat and to my surprise fed me with his own hands! Would you believe it? This was, for me, the Mount Everest of hospitality when your host actually feeds you! I am definitely coming back.

Our orders were –

  • Spicy tuna roll (sushi) – For first timers, please do not come with any imagination about how the dish would taste because you can’t. If you do, then like me you too might find it a bit awkward initially. I was warned about it. Eventually with every bite I started Loving it. It looks less but it is quite filling. Do eat the flavored ginger given along, it helps mask the raw taste of fish. It is helpful if you know how to eat with chop-sticks.
  • Yaki-soba (seafood) – Spaghetti like noodles cooked with egg & fish. You have the option of choosing from chicken or pork instead of fish. Also you can choose Udon (thicker noodles) instead of Soba (thin noodles).
  • Ebi-spicy itame (prawn) – A delicious prawn curry. The gravy was so tasty I ate the rest of it like soup.
  • Goma cake and Anko – The dessert. Sesame flavored cake with sweet bean sauce & vanilla ice-cream. I love sweets, especially after a good meal and the cake was the perfect thing to lift me. Ice-cream was thick and creamy, it proved that vanilla is not just another flavor. It is as specialized as chocolate. Sweet bean sauce was tasty.

Overall experience – Awesome! (You have to try it). Cost should be the only concern. At approximately Rs.2000+ for two, I would call it expensive but you must understand it’s not butter-chicken. You are spending money for a dish still considered exotic, it is important you get the real taste and not a cheap imitation.

Shortcomings – They do not serve complimentary drink/small snack/salad etc. when we await our order. It is a small gesture but speaks volumes. And the quantity sweet bean sauce was too less.