100 Tras Street, #01-09 Icon Village, Singapore 079027
Tel: 6604 9622
Under the recommendation of fellow foodies, we decided to visit (revisit, for some of them) The Public Izakaya by Hachi @ Icon Village for dinner and drinks. Izakaya, by the way, refers to an informal Japanese gastropub, like the equivalence of an Irish pub- where drinks and light bites are being served, so patrons could unwind after work.
Established since 2003 in Singapore, The Public Izakaya uses quality ingredients to re-create the dining experience of an Izakaya in the heart of Tokyo, bringing us right down to Japan without getting on a plane. The vibes were also imprinted on their décor- think lots of bamboo columns with long, low tables. Service was efficient and courteous, resulting to a good start for our dining experience.
We started with some Calpico Lime Juice, Suntory Kakubin Highball, Red Wine, Umeshu and some Yuzu liqueur, to unwind, which is the main purpose of an Izakaya dining, right?
For food, we started with Tori Karaage (SGD$11.00) - crispy chunks of fried chicken, soy-marinated. Loved how they resembled fried chicken balls! After going through the crackling exterior, the interior was surprisingly tender; best if a light drizzle of fresh lemon juice was added to give it a zesty tinge.
Next, Reba Shoyuzuke (SGD$8.00) - chilled chicken liver marinated in sesame oil and served in light soy sauce with spring onion garnishing. Satin-textured, with a dull, sweet flavour that melted deliciously on the tongue, like a paste; it was tempting to call out "more, more" if not for high level of cholesterol.
Tebasaki Nikomi no Aburi (SGD$7.00) - grilled chicken mid-wings with a sweet soy glaze on its crispy skin and smokey hints; I enjoyed the flavour.
Following that, it was Buta Kakuni (SGD$14.00) - slow-simmered Iberico pork belly served with wobbly soft-boiled egg, garnished with spring onions and onion slivers. Tender, well-moistened pork belly was fatty and smooth in texture, robust in its savoury flavour, and paired well with the egg.
Then we had Wagyu Beef Rosu (SGD$32.00) - charcoal-grilled wagyu beef served with spring onions and a nectarous vine tomato. The Wagyu Beef was so succulent and juicy, each slice seemed to glide down the throat like a foodie's dream, working its delicious smokey-tinged sweetness around the palate.
Kawa Ebiage (SGD$9.00) - deep-fried crispy mini river shrimps so cracklingly good, the shells could be eaten together too! Lightly sprinkled with salt to add flavours, you might like an added citrusy kick by squeezing the lemon over these crispy delicacies too. We couldn't help reaching for them all the time; it was addictive.
Moving on, it was Tako Wasabi (SGD$6.00) - octopus chinmi marinated with wasabi, served cold. Think slimy, silken-smooth and yet springy in texture, squishing its juiciness under every crunch of the teeth, simply fun to munch on.
The Hotaru Ika Okizuke (SGD$7.00) - marinated firefly squid, bored uncanny characteristics to the chilled marinated octopus above, just that it is softer instead of bouncy, and sweeter in taste; undeniably good as well.
We also had some Nama Kaki (SGD$6.00 per slice) - fresh raw oysters garnished with spring onions, grated daikon radish with chili, served with ponzu sauce on the side. Oysters were fleshy and luscious, every morsel stroked the tongue into a beautiful frenzy of flavours.
I could not get over the interesting Gyoza Croquette (SGD$9.00) - literally a deep-fried golden crumbly batter replacing the conventional gyoza skin, stuffed with minced pork, spring onions and cabbage shreds. The creation was a success as every mouthful was filled scrumptiously with an assortment of textures and tastes.
What we had next was Kiritanpo Misoyaki (SGD$6.00) - which requires a 20-minute preparation time - Hokkaido Yumepirika rice mashed on a stick and grilled with miso glaze. A deceptively unattractive appearance and description gave way to a compilation of crunch, smokiness, chewiness of the rice and umani sweetness of miso sank in.
Then the Maguro no Kama (SGD$25.00) - charcoal-grilled tuna cheek, a dish requiring 30 minutes' preparation. A cut of real Bluefin tuna containing toro quality meat within, charred and crispy on the exterior, yet moistened and succulent within, flaking off readily for the taking.
Finally, a piping hot bowl of Original Tonkotsu Ramen (SGD$9.00 for half / SGD$14.90 for full) - smooth, rich and palatable pork broth with other carefully-selected ingredients such as Hidaka kelp and dried shiitake. Springy strands of ramen noodles, chashu pork slices, seaweed sheet, flavoured egg, spring onions and chili made up this heart-warming Japanese noodle dish.
The dining experience at The Public Izakaya was very delightful from the start to finish, with most of the food surpassing expectations and well-executed.