Last Updated: March 3, 2016
Located along Prinsep Street, Yugo Izakaya opens its doors with a line-up of grill and bar food, as well as delightful sakes. Offering a menu that marries Japanese cuisine with some Western influences, the restaurant is very much a breath of fresh air, and caters to the taste buds of both the young and old.
Situated as the corner restaurant of a row of shophouses along Prinsep St., Yugo Izakaya has a cosy al fresco dining area and a beautifully decked interior dining hall. Chef Alan Tan told us that the second storey is still in the process of being transformed into a fun, chill-out area, which is likely to feature interesting games such as darts. Darts and sake? I’m in.
Another interesting point to note, is that Yugo Izakaya is the only cafe along this stretch of road that serves sakes and Carlsberg. The shophouse pub currently has Carlsberg on offer at $59 for a tower.
Bunraku Karakuchi Honjozo ($90 for bottle of 720ml)
The Bunraka Karakuchi Honjozo is a dry sake brewed in the United States. The sake is rich, delectable to the palate and finishes dry, for obvious reasons.
Century Egg Tofu ($5.00)
Served with century egg bits and crab meat, with flying fish roe as its topping, this dish gives a cold and refreshing sensation to the palate. The tofu is soft and silky, a texture very much likened to that of jelly.
The flying fish roe gives delightful bursts of salty flavour, and is well balanced with the fresh richness of the crab meat that pairs with it. Very refreshing as a starter dish.
Stir-fried Shishito ($8.00)
Known to be a snack that forms a trademark of izakaya dining, the shishito peppers here at Yugo Izakaya is served stir-fried with chilli flakes and seeds sprinkled on them.
There is a hint of bitterness coming from the capsicum annuum and the peppery flavour of the chilli flakes and seeds balances it well. An outlandish flavour that invigorates my taste buds.
Tatami Iwashi ($10.00)
This item on the menu was literally served as a piece of rolled up, dried sardine sheet. After scrutinising the dish real carefully because I’m curious like that.
I finally realised that it is made from dozens of fried baby sardines, held together in a rolled-up layer of crisp. Very fragrant and crispy, it leaves me salivating for more.
This platter is made up of a few dishes on the menu:
Fugu Mirin Boshi ($10.00)
One of the grilled meat items on the menu, the fugu mirin boshi is the Japanese term for dried puffer fish. Served together as a platter with other meats and skewer items, it was hard to identify the dish item at first as we didn’t had prior experience of eating pufferfish.
With the help of the waitress who pointed us to the dark-coloured pieces of what seems like barbecued pork meat, I managed to try a few pieces of this interesting tapas food item. The fugu mirin boshi has a texture likened to that of the Chinese bak kwa, just a bit more taut.
Barbecued with yuzu mayo sauce, this food item is indeed savoury.
Stingray Fin ($10.00)
Featuring a delightful golden-brown display with fine grooves that forms its texture, the stingray fin emits a luscious sensation.
These fin strips were taut and crispy, but not too rigid in terms of hardness. It is almost like cuttlefish slices. Very fragrant as a whole.
Scallop & Foie Gras ($12.00)
Barbecued together as an on-skewer food item, I felt that the scallop & foie gras was a good pairing. They were cooked well, with each of them emitting their inherent taste.
The boon of this dish lies in the complement of the soft and spongy scallops with the richness of the taut and buttery foie gras.
Wagyu, Foie Gras & Uni ($12.00)
Very thick and succulent grilled beef wagyu which I fell in love with upon the first bite. The foie gras was a good complement of texture and taste, buttery and rich. Grilled uni that went along with these meats was an interesting tinge of oceanic taste.
Wagyu Foie Gras Yakimeshi ($18.00)
Yakimeshi literally means fried rice, Japanese-style. It makes use of short-grain rice and is cooked to a stickier consistency. The wagyu foie gras yakimeshi here at Yugo Izakaya is served with teriyaki sauce that carries a tinge of spiciness.
The wagyu is shaped and served in cubes, which had a jelly-like texture. It was pleasantly springy and succulent. Very savoury.
The foie gras was a further enhancement of flavour for the entire yakimeshi. Being rich in flavour, it made a good pairing with the wagyu beef cubes, which were sweet in taste.
The entire dish was an awesome blend of sweet, spicy and buttery taste. Very fragrant as well.
YUGO Angel Hair ($28.00)
One of the signature mains at Yugo Izakaya, the YUGO Angel Hair is made up of rich seafood items atop angel hair pasta with a tomato-based sauce. There is a subtle hint of chilli padi in it, adding that extra tinge of spiciness to it.
Meant to be served medium-rare, the thick salmon is pan-seared with a moist pink centre that might be a bit too raw for some. It is soft and chewy, with a streak of raw flavour. The flying roe bits were a delectable add-on.
Sesame Chicken Wings ($15.00)
I must say that the sesame chicken wings here at Yugo Izakaya are splendid. The skin was fried to a delectably thick layer of crisp, which made a good crunch with the sesame bits. The latter was also an added fragrance to this piece of well-fried delicacy.
The chicken meat was grilled well. The meat was fragrant and tender. Probably one of the best grilled chicken wings in town that I’ve tried.
Beef Tamago Don Set ($10.90)
One of the dishes on the Lunch Set Menu, the beef tamago don set is my favourite mains here at Yugo Izakaya. Cooked with grilled angus beef and tamago (egg), the entire dish is a good blend of richness and flavour that was thoroughly comforting.
The tamago was grilled to a delectable warmth. Both the yolk and the egg white gave a delightful ooze, which was indeed luscious to the palate.
The angus beef was medium-rare, which was very springy and tender. Coupled with the sticky rice that forms the base of the donburi, the entire dish is truly an indulgence.
On the whole, I enjoyed my dining experience at Yugo Izakaya. I find the menu very inventive and original, one that is novel with its Western fusion influences, yet retaining the tastes and flavours of the Japanese cuisine.
Am very much fascinated with the quality of the mains as well as the array of tapas-styled grilled snacks Yugo Izakaya has in store. Along with the line-up of quality sakes and drinks, I believe this gastropub will go really far, catering to the crowd of youths who frequent the Prinsep St. vicinity.
Expected Damage: $60++/pax