Yakizen Izakaya - authentic Japanese Izakaya food
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Yakizen Izakaya Japanese Restaurant is managed and owned by some very nice people that Wifey knows from her job. We were chatting about food one day and they mentioned they owned this cool Japanese place down Boat Quay. Say no more, we’re going to visit.
So, we agreed to pop on down and grab some of their food and write a little blog for them.
And I am glad we did. It really was good food. It’s up there with our family favourites for Izakaya, like IZA and Mikawa at Siglap, so great job there Yakizen Izakaya Japanese Restaurant. I had a big food critic with me, AKA Jude Jude. He loves his Izakaya and Yakatori, even calling Mikawa, Chicken Bum because of his favourite Bonjiri.
They’re at a wonderful location on Lor Telok, just off Circular Road and 5 minutes walk from Boat Quay. We’d been shopping at Plaza Singapura on Orchard Road, grabbed a cab to Boat Quay for a couple of beers on the river, then walked round to Yakizen Izakaya Japanese Restaurant.
It really reminds me of my times in Japan. You see these Izakaya everywhere, packed with business-men grabbing a few beers before boarding the train home.
Time for some ISLIFEARECIPE-dia. What is Izakaya?
A Japanese Izakaya is a casual bar where one can enjoy alcoholic beverages and light fare, grilled skewers usually. Comparable to the English or Irish pub, the Spanish tapas bar, or the American saloon or tavern, izakaya are laid-back drinking establishments frequented by locals after work.
By 1987, the term “izakaya” had made its way into English vernacular. Izakaya comes from the combination of the words iru (meaning “to stay”) and sakaya (meaning “sake shop”), suggesting that this style of drinking establishment derived from establishments that welcomed customers to stay and drink.
As red paper lanterns are commonly displayed in front of izakaya, as they are at By 1987, the term “izakaya” had made its way into American vernacular.  Izakaya comes from the combination of the words iru (meaning “to stay”) and sakaya (meaning “sake shop”), suggesting that this style of drinking establishment derived from establishments that welcomed customers to stay and drink.
As red paper lanterns are commonly displayed in front of Izakaya, as they indeed are at Yakizen Izakaya, the term akachchin (‘red lantern’) is sometimes used to refer to these drinking establishments. There are usually hundreds of these around train stations grabbing that captive audience about to depart home after a busy day.
Let's hear from Yakizen Izakaya Japanese Restaurant
Yakizen Izakaya Japanese Restaurant Menu (2022)
Let's see the food we've consumed at Yakizen Izakaya - authentic Japanese Izakaya food
Fresh Oysters 3x pieces with Ponzu Sauce. Clearly not for anyone other than the Wifey. But she polished these off in the blink of an oyster. Quoting that they were the perfect size for her, and sat in the most delicious sauce. Nicely done Yakizen, a great start!!!
Edamame ‘w’ Truffle Butter. I tell you what, some of the best edamame I have ever had. You just could not stop licking and sucking these bad boys. You can have them plain without the truffle, but our strong recommendation is WITH TRUFFLE.
We had the 1st batch like this, and the second batch they had charred them, so two flavour smacks in the mouth. So delicious,
Shishamo 3x pieces. Crispy Japanese Smelt ‘w’ Roe. Again, only for the good lady. What I really liked about the version of this dish from Yakizen is that they have covered it in some light batter and deep-fried. They do have grilled version as well, but these looked absolutely superb.
Crispy Chicken Skin. Deep-Fried. The same principal applies to their chicken skin. They’ve coated this in a batter and then deep-fried it. Goodness me, double crunch heaven. Beer food on steroids. I absolutely loved this. Best chicken skins ever. Double Yummo!!! Crunch-tastic!!!
Tebasaki – Chicken Mid-Wing. Not for me or Jude Jude, as I think they had quite a bit of prawn paste or something on there. I was thinking, hoping, they might be something like those from Kubo Woodfired Kitchen, but alas… Amy seemed to really dig them though, as these were devoured by her.
Cherry Tomato. But not just any cherry tomato let me tell you. I believe they basted these in something like citrus and honey. Unbelievable flavour pops from these little beauties. Cracking.
Gyuniku – Beef Ribeye. Damn this was good. I did have a little salt on the side, but didn’t need it for this. It was a stunner of a beef dish. Flavour was super-intense, cooked to perfect pink2pink medium-rare and just melt-in-the-mouth. An absolute stunner of a skewer. BOOMSKI!!!
Ikayaki AKA Grilled Squid. Was it just Wifey eating tonight? Another one just for her. Too fishy for Amy after one try, and of course off-limits to Jude Jude and I. She gave this an: “It was OK, with a hint of over-chewy…”
I reckon that could have been charred a little more myself, even though I don’t eat this stuff I can cook it…
Fugu Mirin Boshi – Dried Puffer Fish. This is going to sound weird, but I actually like this stuff. I think because it is almost like a smoked jerky. I did indeed try this and it was very good until a few chews in and it released the fishy beast. I have found other Fugu Mirin to not be so fishy, but hey at the end of the day it is fish…
The rest of the gang jumped all over this and it was literally gone before the little fella could puff up and defend himself. Always a good sign of quality.
Mentaiko Uzura – Quail Egg ‘w’ Cod Roe. Another one for the wife only. A slight complaint here from wifey that the eggs were freezing cold, clearly pre-cooked, stored in the fridge and skewered without even seeing the grill.
Bonjiri – Chicken Tail, AKA Chicken Bum (Jude’s vernacular). My little man LOVED these. They were big buggers too, so much more fatty chicken tail per skewer. If you have never tried Bonjiri, get yourself here and get some of this umami down your neck.
It’s best eaten so far, and no sign of that idiot KF Colonel clown in sight. Great job on the chicken bum Yakizen, Jude Jude approves!!!
Asupara Miaki – Asparagus Wrapped ‘w’ Pork Belly. I am truly gutted. They only had one of these. I tried to order more, but that was that. This was a cracking skewer, one I really could have kept going at. This is beer food and I wanted more.
Smokey pork belly with a lovely crisp, and then perfectly cooked asparagus within. Perfect bed-fellows. Yeah, this was a cracking skewer. I’ll be ordering this in batches every time I return.
Reba – Chicken Liver. A tad on the dry side to be honest, but clawed back to be a winner with that full on charring. That was damned good. Just how wifey likes it too. Delicious.
Beef Tataki – Seared Beef ‘w’ Citrus Sesame Dressing, Onion & Yakizen. I really digged this dish. Perfectly cooked beef to pink2pink medium-rare, and a cracking umami sauce to go with it. Great job Yakizen.
But, guess what…? I asked a little sea salt and got Jude to Salt Bae it. Yep, it lifted this dish tenfold (in my humble opinion). It really was very good without, but double whammy good with. Cracking dish guys, loved it.
Buta Mayon Don – Pan-Fried Pork Belly ‘w’ Japanese Miso Sweet Sauce. Strawberry Blonde ordered this. She liked it, but did also state it needed more sauce, and was a tad dry. Here’s a thought for you Yakizen. Another Japanese restaurant we frequent add a little truffle to this dish. Why not pop some of that truffle you use for the edamame into this and give it a go…? Just a thought.
Gyu Aburi Don – Seared Wagyu Beef ‘w’ Japanese Sushi Rice Bowl. Another cracker. I wish it didn’t have the fish roe in the rice though as that killed it for me sadly. But just the meat was wonderful. Like you could eat it with no teeth, because that beef was just so very tender and juicy like beef-butter. Wow!!! Great job. That’s a stunner.
Let's check out some shots of the restaurant interior and exterior at Yakizen Izakaya Japanese Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Yakizen Izakaya Japanese Restaurant
We visited Yakizen Izakaya Japanese Restaurant on a Saturday evening. It was quite quiet, but then so was everywhere. Our lovely server explained that they are super-busy more during the week, especially for lunches. That makes sense based on location with a lot of industry and business around them (including who I work for just up the road).
It’s very traditional Japanese decor at Yakizen Izakaya Japanese Restaurant. Bare walls and floors, very minimalistic, but that is exactly how traditional restaurants and Izakaya are in Japan. The room above to the right is for private dining of up to 10 or so. I feel a working lunch coming on one day.
Yakizen Izakaya Japanese Restaurant looks great for al fresco too. I’d love to sit there of an evening supping on those promo beers, and munching on more of those truffle butter edamame.
However, when we visited there was some night-club thing happening next door. Man it was noisy. Surely does show I am getting old. Back in the day, I’d have been in there doing my big box, small box… No more, though…
Photo courtesy of Yakizen Izakaya Japanese Restaurant
Loving this wall ‘art’ by Yakizen Izakaya Japanese Restaurant. Sake bottle labels from previous consumption adorning the wall like a piece of ever-iterating art. It’s brilliant, and I love it.
Check out our Japanese Cuisine offers on Chope
And why not benefit from Yakizen Izakaya Japanese Restaurant offers and promos.
HAPPY HOUR PROMO!!!
SUN – THU 5.30pm to 8pm.
1FOR1 ASAHI DRAFT BEER @S$13.90
1For1 720ml SAKE @S$128
Call them at 6912 6580 for reservations
Our conclusions of Yakizen Izakaya Japanese Restaurant
A really good restaurant, it truly is. The staff were lovely, very chatty and interactive. The food delivery pace was great, we didn’t really have to wait too long for anything. The food looked good, the aromas were wonderful and the taste was seriously good. So all three food senses were given a great night tonight.
If we’re down Boat Quay again, and seeking Japanese food, for sure we’d be knocking on this door for Yakizen Izakaya.
Be proud guys, you have a little gem there. Many congratulations. Be seeing you again soon.
Kanpai Yakizen Izakaya. And what better to cheers with than this rather delicious Japanese plum wine. Dangerously delicious, almost alco-pop-like. This is Umeshi on the Rocks. BOOMSKI!!!
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How to book and make a Yakizen Izakaya Japanese Restaurant reservation?
What's the address of Yakizen Izakaya Japanese Restaurant?
15 Lor Telok, 049028