With a crop of izakayas sprouting all over the city, I thought it high time I checked out Newtown’s bustling entry. Not boasting a bar, Iiza seems to function more like an ordinary Japanese restaurant, than the post-work eating and drinking tavern it is named for. No matter, the food is good; and the pared back décor, with rows of sake bottles lining the walls, certainly encourages drinking.
From the half dozen sakes on offer, I chose a tokkuri of Ginban Daiginjo ($15). It flowed cleanly and gently through an opening bowl of briny Steamed White Clams ($12.80), cooked in a compelling yet simple mix of garlic butter and sake.
My chosen sake’s dryness was even more delightful against the Deluxe Sushi and Sashimi Combination ($34). Fishes here are a highlight, with white fishes like snapper, kingfish and surf clam coming up best on the nicely proportioned sharing platter.
The dishes on this mostly traditional menu, delivered by waitresses wearing equally traditional Japanese garb, are designed for sharing. While there are some fusion dishes, like Tuna Sashimi Tacos ($15), I skipped them in favour of a small but well cooked Nasu Dengaku ($8.80); ending with a Spider Roll ($14.50) decked out with crunchy soft shell crab and well-seasoned daikon.
184 King Street, Newtown
Ph: (02) 8095 9260