Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Growing up sucks

When I was younger, this was one of my family's favourite izakayas. They've now moved up the street and look like a sad Hongkie style Japanese restaurant instead of the rustic/lived in izakaya it once was. The food is still pretty decent, but the service was a bit blunt and their last order is at 11pm - not very izakaya-ish in my books...

Chopped tuna and cucumber roll (6 pieces, but I was too hungry...)
The spring onion was perhaps a little overpowering, but then again, it's sometimes normal at izakayas, where the drinking is just as important - the logic being you need flavourful food to go with the robust beverages.

Clams in Sake broth
Classic comfort Japanese dish. A decent rendition here, but some pieces has just a bit too much sake.

Grapefruit cocktail with huge ice cubes filled with grapefruit pulp 
Refreshing, and perhaps I need to start going to AA meetings, but where was the alcohol??

Fried tofu/cheese thingy
I'd never had this before, but a friend saw my photos on Facebook and commented that she makes it all the time and that the fried tofu's called abura-age. You learn something new everyday.

Inaniwa udon with tempura (latter not pictured)
Inaniwa udon is a thin, slippery udon. Unlike the pudgy, doughy opaque white ropes you get at the supermarket in a slightly wet plastic vacuum pack, Inaniwa udon usually comes dry. When cooked, it's like a stronger, finer, glossier and slightly translucent version of thin pho (think linguine width). This wasn't bad at all - definitely had 'bite' and the soup, though just clear shoyu and bonito, was simple and satisfying. The tempura was okay, nothing to write home about.

Not an entirely unsuccessful meal, this - the food is standard izakaya fare - comforting and great for sharing with friends. I've had better, yet solely from a food perspective it's an experience I wouldn't mind repeating. But atmosphere is so, so important to izakayas, and it's a shame that the new fluoro lighting, formica and plywood kills it, as does the fact that their last order is at 11pm and the passive-aggressive staff is forcing you to settle the bill by 11.05... Which leaves me a bit torn. Frankly I liked it more as it was when I was a kid, even if it meant I couldn't drink sake. Or maybe I'm just getting old and nostalgia's getting to me...

1/F, 32-34 Haiphong Rd (enter from the dead end of Ashley Road)
Tsim Sha Tsui
Hong Kong
+852 2376 1888 / 2376 2318

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1 comment:

  1. Sad indeed. I wouldn't even call it an izakaya anymore.
    It's owned by Koreans now. Enough said.