We scour the Singapore dining scene to bring you the new and noteworthy. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it! Here we check out new Japanese restaurant IZA to see what they have to offer.
IZA is a welcome addition to the bustling restaurant strip at East Coast neighbourhood, Siglap. Opened in November, it’s a family-friendly place that will appeal as much to couples as to large group gatherings. Concrete flooring, blonde pine tables and brick walls are part of the pared-back décor. A large window offers views into the kitchen – and the busy cooks – and is part of the whole dining experience. The creative team (behind popular The Skewer Bar in Geylang) has designed a menu of Japanese-style dishes with a hefty dash of local flavour, while the drinks list offers many authentic Japanese options.
The Chosen One:
Bartender Amos greeted us with a warm smile and offered lime juice ($5) for the children. We ordered a bottle of Japanese craft beer Coedo Shiro ($12) and Suntory Roku Gin ($15), so named for the six botanicals combined to produce a subtle gin that pairs well with soda and ginger. Also worth a try is the Coedo Beniaka ($12), another premium brew with a reddish hue. The Cheapskate: On tap are two refreshing (and wonderfully chilled) draft beers, Asahi Dry and Asahi Black ($12 a pint, or $10 during Happy Hour). There’s a wine list, but you might want to try some sake from IZA’s unique collection. While it’s not for cheapskates, this is the place to come for Dassai sake; they have a great range including Dassai 50 ($98 for 72 millilitres).
Bite on this:
There’s much to try on the reasonably priced menu, so dig in and have a go! A warning to purists – this is Japanese-style food with a strong local influence, so expect to taste as much hae bee hiam (spicy dried shrimp sambal) as you do the more classic unami flavour. For example, the one-of-a-kind Four-Ton Chawanmushi ($4.50) blends century egg, salted egg, quail egg and chicken egg into one creamy, custardy treat. Whole seabass with home-made chilli ($28) is perfect for two, and the grilled avocado ($5) with onsen egg and salty bacon pieces is delicious. Marinated grilled skewers are undoubtedly a highlight, too; we liked the handmade chicken and pork meatball ($3.50), grilled prawn ($3.50), okra ($1.90) and lychee wrapped in bacon ($2.80). Don’t miss the TSB Salad ($5.50), a healthy medley of zucchini, carrot, cucumber strings and seaweed tofu tomato in a sesame dressing.
Last but not least:
Check out the Happy Hour specials from 6 to 8pm daily.
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