*Special thanks to Kayla for her hospitality and Washoku Lovers for this kind invite
An Izakaya is similar to a Japanese pub; a place were you go after work to wind down and relax, all the while getting a hearty meal and a good drink. Izakayas were some of the most amazing places we went to in our last visit to Japan. Going into one was like going into a rabbit hole of amazing food, vibes and drinks.
Izakaya Yebisu reminds me of walking down an eat street in Japan with small beaming lights on either side. As you enter, the collection of Sakes lining the wall are more than impressive even to the amateur sake drinker such as myself.
It was a chilling and windy day in the city and it was a perfect night to be warmed with a couple of drinks and a hearty meal. An izakaya just fit that description just right.
Armed with an Asahi and a Grape Shochu, we peroused the menu and couldn’t look past a big pot of Japanese hot pot – Sukiyaki.
When the huge pot arrived at our table, it began to slowly cook the generous array of soup fillings including wagyu beef, mixed mushrooms, tofu and noodles.
The light soy based soup was absorbed by each of the ingredients as the soup heat up to a soft boil. We turned off our pot after a certain time to find all the ingredients cooked delicately in the broth and absorbing of that rich warm flavour.
We found ourselves going back bowl after bowl of the clear soup each time with different quantities of fillings. A clean but comforting meal for such a chilly day.
To go alongside with our sukiyaki we also got a serving of ebi (prawn) tempura. With a healthy serving of Japanese mayonnaise and a lashing of lemon, the ebi tempura went down a treat. Crisp exterior with a light batter and filled with big juicy prawns. Nothing spectacular but always a favourite nevertheless.
Since we were in an izakaya, the yakitori selection was a must. There is a huge selection and even a mixed plate but we couldn’t go past some favourites.
Out of this platter I would recommend the chicken sausage, which comes with an onsen egg to dip into the runny yolk. The combo is unlike the usual sausage texture but otherwise has a lot of infused flavours within it. I also really enjoyed the chicken thigh and the salmon belly which were both moreish and rich in flavour. Overall, you can’t really go wrong with the yakitori menu as there’s a huge list of favourites to choose from.
It came around to dessert and we couldn’t pick which one we wanted more so we ended up getting both.
The cream puff is a delicate choux pastry filled with a combination of cream and vanilla ice cream. A simple and light finish to the meal with a palate cleansing combination.
The green tea mochi filled with ice cream had a distinct green tea flavour throughout the ice cream. The mochi was soft and light which added a slightly chewy texture with the ice cream.
Izakaya Yebisu encompassed the izakaya culture in Japan in the best ways possible. Good food, good drinks and great atmosphere. It’s nice to see this still being upheld in the Sydney scene and so accessible to everyone in the CBD. Special thanks to Washoku Lovers for showcasing the hidden pockets of Japan.