People who have been to Japan recently are annoying to talk with because they incessantly rant about how great everything is over there, especially the food. Next time you're on the receiving end of one of those conversations, send the speaker to En Japanese Bar and Restaurant.
Review: En Japanese Bar and Restaurant
En Japanese Bar and Restaurant is open for lunch Wednesday to Saturday between 11.30am and 2.30pm and is open every evening for dinner from 5.30pm. Find them at 107 Goodwood Road, Goodwood.
We do have an alarming dearth of Izakaya-style eateries though. These more casual affairs serve Japan’s version of pub food, including delicious yakitori (grilled anything on skewers), karaage (deep-fried chicken possibly only eaten by visiting westerners) and gyoza (dumplings, obvs) as well as rice bowls, sushi, sashimi and udon.
En Japanese Bar and Restaurant exploits the unfulfilled niche with a spot-on impersonation of an Izakaya. From the woody decor to the long bar equipped with Sapporo tap and high stools, it’s clear that the owners have been to the real thing more than a few times in their lives.
We visited at lunch, which was perhaps not the best time as it was predictably quiet. The busy nights will suit the place better, and have the added bonus of making it appropriate to sample freely from the beer, single-malt whisky and sake lists.
Nonetheless, the service was cheerful and helpful. Lunch specials were offered (mostly udon and rice bowls, all less than $10 and sounding pretty delicious), but we opted to order mainly from the regular menu to get a better idea of the food.
Starters – edamame and renkon (lotus root) chips – came out appropriately quickly and were appropriately tasty. The shared plates, some chicken yakitori and gyoza, followed in the same vein and would be hard to fault. The gyoza gets extra points for having a moist but entirely non-slimy casing. Our teriyaki chicken don (rice bowl) and combined sashimi and nigiri set mains were both delicious too, but the fish dish stood out for sheer quality of produce – it was an obviously fresh and carefully chosen selection of salmon, tuna and kingfish.
Prices for everything was perfectly reasonable for the quality and quantity of what was served, and CityMag is already planning a return evening trip which will involve significantly more beer and significantly less writing of notes.