“Two of my great hates in life, fine dining and central London.” – The Crown
This might be the greatest of lines of one my favorite TV shows lately. Fine dining is, as I have realized during my last visit to Shima hot springs last month (which I have mentioned here), not quite my cup of tea. Personally, I love places where I can lift my leg on a chair, take off my shoes and just feel at home. And for fellow non-fans of fine dining I must briefly introduce the concept of “izakaya”.
A very well summed up explanation can be found on Wikipedia, or any website which explains the meaning of Japanese words, but it doesn’t quite does it right regarding the atmosphere and the kind of service you receive in this kind of places. Many people find izakayas repelling because of the exclusively Japanese menu which is quite often unreadable due to the almost always present desire to make the menu look like calligraphy masterpiece, and not “just” a menu. Which is why I’m here to offer my visual take on the modern izakayas, particularly one hidden behind the Shibuya station in what is now referred to as “central” Tokyo.
Interesting about this one was the fact that it is called Yamagata (which is a prefecture on north from Tokyo) but serves Okinawa food. Of course we couldn’t afford to miss on that.
“Goya chanpuru” is the name of the dish we were served as we asked for a chef’s recommendation. It contained a very bitter tasting plant called goya melon and beaten eggs. Not my cup of tea. Maybe yours. Cheers to that! With a tall glass of high-ball (which wasn’t that exquisite).
On the other hand, the atmosphere is just izakaya-like, which is what I’m usually going for when looking for a place to have a couple of drinks on a tight budget. And this is what people who have become used to Japanese drinking usually go for, because there’s no such place that will make you feel quite like at home.
※One tip for fellow izakaya lovers: definitely go for a place that looks rusty and has the “dirty” feel to it. There are usually the most delicious of dishes hidden behind that unruly interior.
*disclaimer: izakayas do not sponsor reviews
Till next time.