izakaya jiro – 830 glenferrie road hawthorn 03 9818 7163

japanese food is just not meant to be ‘starter-followed-by-main-followed-by-dessert’. boring boring! it drives me nuts that so many cuisines change their menu to fit what they think we want. you do know the cow is still not eaten in india and the majority live on a mostly vegetarian diet, right? so why is there so much meat on an indian menu? it just makes no sense.

japanese food is for sharing over a beer or sake. it’s fun (like tapas), light (unlike chinese) and tasty (like so tasty). it’s always fresh and freshly made. some of it is so fresh the fish in the sashimi has just time to say “hey, what the fuck do yo…” before it’s on the plate. but it’s certainly not all raw fish. allow me to introduce izakaya jiro. jiro is the owner of the relatively new eatery in hawthorn and he surely knows what he’s doing.

first off, izakaya is different to what we would call a restaurant. pronounced iz-ah-kye-ah, an izakaya a more like a grill bar than what we would consider a restaurant. the proper etiquette (i lived in japan so i bloody well know what i’m talking about) is to order lots of small dishes – i strongly recommend japanese dumplings (gyoza), deep fried tofu (agedashi tofu), and tender beef with quail egg (gyu tataki) – and beer.

on a side note, the beer may be replaced with warm sake (pronounced sa-kay) but you need to pace yourself. the small cups are definitely not shot glasses. too much warm sake and you won’t be able to talk properly and will tend to mistake the kitchen sink for the bathroom back when i was in university. ahem…

i’ve had good japanese food and i’ve had cheap japanese food. often the good stuff is very expensive and the cheap stuff is, well, just fucking awful. jiro serves up some of the best japanese food i’ve had here at a reasonable price. everything we ate was just delicious. raw fish (sashimi) was sooooo good. all the staff are japanese so if you speak japanese it’s so easy :) i’m going back soon for the okonomiyaki. i really loved this place. ignore it at your peril. so says me.


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