The Place Shukuu Izakaya is like one of those hole-in-the-wall Japanese Izakaya which I wish I have stumbled upon earlier. Located along Stanley Street right smack in CBD, the 60-seater restaurant has almost most of the traits characteristic of the Izakayas I come across in Japan – noisy, packed, squeezy to some extent as we barely have personal space at our table once all the dishes arrived. The smokiness from cigarettes of men in black suits was noticeably missing, one part I’m not complaining even if this means one point less its authenticity.
The Food Most of the ingredients used in Shukuu Izakaya are sourced from Japan, and as with every Izakaya, there are in-house Sake Sommeliers who sourced for the selection of Sakes offered to match the menu. The sakes offered are differentiated by their region of origin (prefecture), the grade of grain and their respective sake making techniques.
We started off with the Yasai Miso (S$8), which is somewhat like salad and served with spicy red miso dip. This was quite refreshing even without the dip. The Gyu Ponzu was an absolute delight for me, lightly seared fillet beef drenched with ponzu where I could taste the full flavour of the tender beef.
I couldn’t stop reaching for the Kani Gratin, essentially baked crab gratin with mentaiko. The mentaiko element somewhat masked much of the crab taste, but I was not complaining much since I love mentaiko-anything.
To appreciate the freshness of the ingredients here, try the Aburi Shimesaba, where the vinegared mackerel was torched and thinly sliced like sashimi.
A visit to an izakaya is not complete without ordering some Kushiyaki, or Charcoal-grilled skewers, to share. We tried a mix of chicken meatball, chicken gizzard, chicken wing, Iberico Pork Collar, bacon tomato and Omi Wagyu Yaki. My favourites are the Iberico Pork Collar and Omi Wagyu Yaki, which carried a heavier flavour for me as opposed to the chicken ones. The charcoal-grilled omi wagyu with Japanese salt was extremely succulent and satisfying.
One of my favourite dishes of the night was the Tori Kara-Age (S$10), fried to perfect crispness. Unlike other renditions, there was a tinge of cheesiness beneath the layers of meat, which was seriously da bomb. The chicken had a very moist texture, adding to the juiciness of every crunch.
After all the meats, it was comforting to end off the meal with the Hot Inaniwa Udon, which is one of Akita prefecture’s specialty. This is basically thin udon cooked in konbu tsuyu soup base, which was flavourful yet light at the same time.
In terms of drinks, there is a wide selection of Japanese Sakes and beers. Feel free to ask the staff for advice on what is best to pair with the dishes you are planning to order. We tried two different sakes during our visit, both of which were very light and easy on the tongue – Azumanofumoto Ginjyo Natsuzake (Summer Sake special), from Yamagata prefecture, and the Kikusui no Karakuchi Honjozo, from Niigata prefecture.
Rants Don’t make after dinner plans after visiting Shukuu Izakaya, you will likely smell from the grills.
Will I Return Again? Perfect hideout right smack in town. Am already planning for my revisit here, to wind down from the busy work week. Jio us next time when you head down here!
Make your reservation instantly at Shukuu Izakaya here.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 3/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
Monday to Friday: 11.30am to 2pm, 5.30pm to 11pm
Saturday: 6.30pm to10.30pm
Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays
Ranted by The Ranter