Posted by Sarah Nossy on 12th May 2019.

Izakaya is a Japanese bar and restaurant located on the 5th floor of the iconic twin towers inside JW Marriott Marquis, Business Bay and is just one of the 11 restaurants inside the hotel.

The quirky decor starts as soon as you get to the restaurant with kawaii puns posted over the walls and a sake cart. The fun doesn’t end there; you pass a giant cherry blossom tree, which arches over the bar, multi-colored Japanese umbrellas that hang from ceiling and a ‘wasabi girl’ complete with a green wig and looks like she is straight out of Harajuku.

We start the night with some matcha green tea that is served as soon as we are seated. Atul is as our main waiter for the evening and is mostly very knowledgeable when it comes to the food menu but even more so when it came to the Sake trolley. He even let us sample some sake from the ‘sake bomb’ trolley (sake dropped into a beer if anyone is interested).

The restaurant dining area is mostly divided into tables for two with the option of sitting at the robotaki grill, sushi counter or teppanyaki grill (with advanced booking of course). We start off by ordering some cocktails, both that we select feature sake, however they also serve up Japanese whisky as well as draught or bottled Japanese beer (Kirin and Asahi respectively).

We order a mix of starters including some sushi from the Izakaya signature selection; the Alaskan which is similar to a Californian roll (less cucumber, add salmon) and the Izakaya explosion made with tempura prawns, avocado, cucumber a spicy kick of a sriracha sauce as well as some crunchy garlic chips. As the rolls are made fresh the sushi rice wasn’t as sticky therefore made it a little difficult to eat, but when there’s a will, there’s a way!

Confused by the Ebi Hotate Maki we order it anyways. The plating is like a masterpiece of art however it isn’t our favourite dish. I know from prior Japanese teppanyaki experiences that you can eat the prawn tails if cooked correctly although for me in this a la carte offering I’m not too fond of the idea.  Instead  I give my attention to the Hamachi Usuzukiri, thinly sliced pieces of yellowtail drizzled with ponzu as well as the tako (octopus) sashimi which we confirm with Atul is not raw octopus, instead it’s thin slices of boiled octopus served between lemon slices.

The main event is the miso black cod, presented in a leaf and is as delicate to touch as it is to taste, melting completely with every bite. We pair it with Nasu Dengaku (eggplant sweet miso) along with a side of grilled asparagus. To round off the evening we try the yuzu cheesecake made with Japanese lime. The biscuit base is fudge like; caramel and chewy against a creamy citrus cheesecake and is a match made in heaven.

Izakaya offers diners a set menu on Monday evenings, Sushi & Bubbly on Tuesday evenings not to mention a Kinyoubi night on Fridays where you can select a certain number of dishes from a select menu for a set price.

I adore the overall ambiance and as I reminisce about my Japan vacation a year ago at least I know I can return to Izakaya for my Japanese fix. Arigat?gozaimashita!

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