Friday, April 20, 2012

RESTAURANT: Izakaya Fujiyama

I wanted to start the review by saying "I really like Izakaya Fujiyama" but it sounds like such a clichéd thing to say. So, instead: I FUCKING HATE IZAKAYA FUJIYAMA.

Just kidding, I like it. Really.

I think I realised it around halfway through the meal. After starting with a beer we'd launched ourselves into the 85-strong sake list (all in 100ml serves so you can try different ones), so we were a few deep already. The sashimi had been good, as had the agadashi tofu (nice layering of flavours), as had the kingfish nuta with fried tortilla. Then the oxtail dropped. Exactly how a fatty, lesser cut should be cooked. It fell off the bone into the rich sauce beneath, that was saved from being too rich by some apple.

More sake. Crispy pork belly has to be the dish to get here. As you pick it up with your chopsticks it threatens to disintegrate back onto the plate. A squeeze of lime to liven it up and a hot green chilli relish to add even more flavour. A lot of places "do" pork belly. But rarely is it this good.

Sadly, while the flavour in the teriyaki beef ribs is exceptional, the meat is a little tough. Coming after the pork belly only compounds the matter. Still good, but not great.

It was at that point I was satisfied. Maybe digest over a couple more sakes then call it a night? No, apparently not. Something had gotten inside one of my dining companions and he was ravenous for anything he could get his hands on. I've never shied away from eating.

Miso cured tofu isn't bad. Would be a good starter. So too the house made fish balls.

Now we're done.

No? Okay. Sorry. More sake. And one of the best known dishes: grilled kingfish head. Perfectly grilled fish head with the meat still succulent. Pick it apart, dip it in some soy or ponzu and go nuts. A brilliant dish with sake, with the smokey, grilled, salty flavours driving you to drink.

Finally he's really to move to dessert.

I'm not, though. While the dining companions order off the dessert menu, I don't really feel it speaking to me (after a lot of sake the menu will talk to you) so I stay savoury and grab the fried chicken. I nab a taste of the dessert later and it confirms to me that I've made the right call. While the desserts aren't bad, this place works best when you're drinking sake and eating something grilled, fried or braised.

If you want to finish on a sweet note then finish on the Ni Wano Uguiso tokubetsu junmai sake, a slightly sweet, porridge-like sake. It's as different and odd as it is tasty.

With so much sake and crazy animal parts flowing, it's hardly surprising that this place gets a little loud, a little fun and a lot delicious. The sake and beer lists are a strong point, as are the grilled, fried and braised menu items. Everything else is good, but doesn't reach the same level of rowdy satisfaction.

I will be back. There is much sake and much animals to eat.

RATING: Will return to [?]

Izakaya Fujiyama on Urbanspoon

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