Leave surly service behind and travel to happy J-pop world.
Shiny red vinyl bar stools offer the best vantage points to eyeball their streamlined operation (their initial store is in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley) and give you the opportunity to make friends with other diners.
(Breathe: there are tables for those who don’t play well with others.)
Here anyone can be a winner for a minimal Sake ($7.50) spend. Cheer when other people get sake. It's churlish not to.
Our smiling server, the 21-year-old server Ben-san, keeps our energy up by hinting that sake pours more freely the louder one cheers: Kanpai!
Food is in a best supporting role – which isn’t to say their namesake Duck Gyoza ($8/5 piece) wrapped in silky pastry skins aren’t tasty - just that izakayas are about drinking...
...so throw in a Koshihikari Rice Beer ($12) chaser and everybody’s happy.
Ben-san’s unhesitating menu recommendations saw me enjoy unctuous and fatty Pork Belly Kakuni ($13).
The White Sesame Salad ($6) is its perfect foil.
‘Tenpura’ Eggplant ($6) wedges go light on the batter (and are all the better for it) against a pretty mirin-based sauce.
Explosive Salted Caramel Gyoza ($9/3 pieces) should put to rest any rumours that Japanese don’t make good desserts.
I’m already plotting my return…
9-15 Bayswater Road, Potts Point
Ph: (02) 9356 3834