The client dinner: Izakaya

Hidden within the JW Marriot Marquis' towering walls lies a Japanese restaurant with an extra helping of personality
By Thomas Shambler
Mon 19 Dec 2016 09:12 AM

Not many high-end restaurants can pull off dressing one of its staff in bright green – complete with lime wig – calling her 'Wasabi Girl', and have her host tables for an evening. However, Izakaya has the culinary skills to back up the theatrics (even if they may not be to everyone's tastes).

In Japan, an Izakaya is a drinking hole that also serves food. The concept has been lifted in the same way here at the Marriot Marquis. There is a small Tokyo-style bar at the entrance of the restaurant, as well as a cocktail menu that makes use of both traditional western and eastern flavours. There's even a Japanese trained 'sake' master loitering near the drinks area, happy to provide mini tasting sessions to any table curious enough to ask.

The walls of the venue are plastered with slogans, such as 'sushilize for the sake of it' and 'Mi-So hungry!', and the light-up menu is equally eclectic. Fortunately, once you get past the marketing the food really shines.

Start with mixed seaweed salad and spicy edamame, then move on to plates of authentic sushi and sashimi (fortunately, there's nothing over-the-top about the food – which is a good thing).  The Hoba Yaki Black Cod was just as it should be, glazed with a dense, sweet miso sauce, and the beef Tobanyaki was also standout.

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Last Updated: Sat 28 Jan 2017 01:53 PM GST

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