It’s no big news, Japanese food is the shizz.
Izakaya Matsuri, authentically Japanese, is located in Green Point in the narrow strip of restaurants outside the Rockwell Hotel. The food pulses with bright, refreshing Asian flavours. Paying homage to his heritage, Chef Arata Koga creates classic Japanese cuisine in a tastefully decorated ambience. Choose from Asian tapas (best enjoyed when shared) before moving on to a varied and exciting menu of sushi.
To start, we shared the Zen Sai platter, a selection of various dishes as chosen by the chef (R45 for three, R90 for five). It included chicken and pork yakitori (skewers), calamari legs served with a light Japanese mayo, perfectly steamed edamame beans brushed with course salt, aubergine soy parcels and yellowfin tempura.
Washed back with a Japanese rice beer and warm saki, it was a good start to a great meal.
The sushi chefs, Arata included, stand and prepare the food from behind the sushi bar. Previously sushi master at Tank in Cape Town and Genki in Stellenbosch, he is celebrated for creating top-quality traditional Japanese tapas in accordance with the ancient custom of Japanese Izakaya establishments. Dedicated to both authenticity of flavour and artful presentation, expect a Japanese experience that feels as modern and unique as it is traditional.
Mains saw us demolish the rock and roll – sushi that contains no rice (banters rejoice). The salmon, linefish, prawn and caviar is held together by thinly sliced cucumber. It’s served with a slightly spiced jalapeno ponzu sauce, which complements the fresh fish flavour perfectly (R85). It’s innovative, fresh and the signature dish on the menu.
We also tried the eel crunch roll, served tempura style with avo and eel sauce (R75). Our meal finished off with deep fried ice cream – biscuity, crunchy, sweet and delicious; a gooey frozen treat (R38). Seriously, keep space for it or the ice cream three ways: green tea, deep fried and wasabi (R42). Unusual and delicious, the sweet calories are worth every bite.
Go with friends, treat your partner to date night or celebrate with family. The prices aren’t bad for excellent quality, so you can still have an authentic experience without breaking the bank. We returned for an exciting selection of tapas and noodles, and we totally suggest you do too.
Photography Bernard Myburgh Words Lisa Wallace