Three of the best izakaya eateries

Japanese food is at its informal best at these izakaya restaurants dotted around the globe. Here are a few we put to the test

Adrift, Marina Bay Sands, Best dining in Singapore, Izakaya restaraunts, Izakaya in Singapore

Adrift, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Adrift is a Californian-style izakaya concept restaurant, inspired by Michelin-starred chef David Myers’ travels throughout Asia. Located within the Marina Bay Sands, the contemporary menu merges Asian ingredients and flavours with Californian cooking techniques. Here, the emphasis is on small and share plates, and food grilled over coals on a traditional robata grill. Start with a soft and creamy lobster roll with a plate of spiced cucumber kimchi followed by the Japanese flying squid, served whole and drizzled with a white soy dressing. The barbecued barra is also beautifully cooked and complemented with a green onion and pil-pil sauce. The Wagyu tobanyaki arrives sizzling in a hot clay pot sprinkled with smoked bonito flakes and Asian herbs and paired with a delicate apple ginger slaw. The dragon egg is the perfect fairytale ending: it arrives under a pouring of liquid nitrogen, its gold-speckled dark chocolate shell cracking open to reveal chocolate mousse, yuzu curd and soy caramel ice cream.

Kurobuta, Best Japanese in London, Izakaya

Kurobuta, London
Kurobuta was one of the first of its kind when it opened in London. Australian Chef Owner Scott Hallsworth, previously of Nobu London and Mirai Dubai, explains the concept. “We are modelled on a true izakaya with plenty of drinking, exciting small plates and a rock and roll vibe.” The menu boasts of exciting bites broken into fun categories like Junk Food Japan, Robata BBQ and Significant Others, but with Scott’s distinct signature of East meets West. Every dish is a mix of traditional and modern touches such as Tuna Sashimi Pizza (with truffle ponzu and wasabi tobiko), BBQ Pork Belly (in steamed buns with spicy peanut soy) or Salmon Gravadlax and Avocado Maki with dill mayo. Hallsworth says: “Don’t take it too seriously. We aren’t the kind of place where you chew in silence with a curious look on your face.”

 Adam Lane, Australia, Dining review, Fine dining, Foodie, Gold Coast, izakaya, Japanese whisky, QT Gold Coast, Restaurant review, traditional Japanese izakaya menu, Yamagen, Yamagen Japanese Restaurant

Yamagen Japanese Restaraunt, Gold Coast
QT Gold Coast is home to the new and improved Yamagen. The team is led by executive chef Adam Lane who has created a traditional Japanese izakaya menu. Eat at the counter and watch Japanese sushi masters as they carefully toil over fresh sushi and sashimi. Over at the bar, Yamagen stocks an extensive range of Japanese whisky – one of the biggest collections in the State. Their cool cocktails with a Japanese bite are also a must-try. A highlight of the authentic omakase dining, which means ‘chosen by the chef’, are the sashimi tacos featuring salmon and spicy tuna, yuzu avocado, warm sushi rice, sesame, watermelon radish and house spicy mayo. The meats cooked on the smoking kushiyaki grills include pork belly with master stock and spicy miso caramel and yakitori chicken with spring onions and shichimi pepper. The aburi (partially grilled sushi) tasting plate, which includes a salmon, teriyaki and kewpie dish, is simply divine. Leave room for the miso caramel chocolate fondant with goma ice cream. Yamagen is modern Japanese dining at its glittering Gold Coast best.

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