3 May - By Sean Menezes
Have you ever been to a Japanese restaurant with no sushi on the menu? Izakaya identifies a type of Japanese bar serving small, typically inexpensive dishes and snacks to accompany alcoholic drinks, and Yakitori Takumi on Melbourne Street in North Adelaide is one such bar which hosted a special izakaya night as part of Tasting Australia on Tuesday, May 2.
“We were the first Japanese restaurant in Australia to specialize in yakitori, which are pieces of chicken on a skewer cooked on a grill. You won’t find sushi or sashimi here,” said chef/owner Eddie Ye, noting this is the fifth year his restaurant has been a part of Tasting Australia.
The event menu included 12 courses, featuring a range of chicken skewers marinated in an 80-year-old traditional soy basting sauce passed down from Eddie’s teacher, plus tempura mushrooms, lotus root, thick tofu with miso, beef stew, grilled salmon and fried rice.
Accompanying the food was sake, a traditional Japanese drink made solely from rice, yeast and water. The guests were served six different types of sake, ranging from sparkling sake that primed the palate for food courses, to other junmai styles prominent in perfumed citrus and creamy notes.
“For me, it is the way the food is cooked here that makes all the difference,” said dinner guest Trung Cao as he tucked into one of the chicken dishes. “The extra few minutes on the grill gives the dish perfect smokiness. Many restaurants do food and wine pairing these days, so it is refreshing to come to a place that pairs sake and food.”
The restaurant’s open format allowed the guests to constantly see chefs preparing the food, and ensured the room was filled with mouth-watering aromas. “We have always wanted the focus to not only be on our food but also a sense of closeness and belonging as we share it,” explained Eddie.