IZAKAYA | ほかほか (Hokahoka)

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First time for LG to participate in a so called ‘blogger’ dinner thanks to the invitation of owner Louis Ho. Let it be on the record though that the establishment was already our reigning Izakaya champion and thus we actually came with a highly critical mind this time around. Have always seen the potential of the place turning into more a seasonal kappou with matching small production local sake that Louis has been specialising in, and certainly think that the set menu being offered is a step towards the right direction.

This Spring menu kicked off nicely with the subtle 菜の花 topped with a hint of wasabi. The seasonal fish being offered were tobuio (飛魚 / トビウオ, 春とび) and sayori (針魚 / サヨリ), both which yours truly have only learnt to like in the recent years given their really mild taste and the absolute necessity to be in top form in order to show well. From here on the taste buds were being pushed up a notch as we moved onto a few rather creative dishes, from mentaiko baked new potatoes to fried chicken rolls with ume. Ending it all was a modified version of the Nagoya style miso soba nabe. The sake being picked was kind of their house sake, being 太平海特別純米 (府中譽酒造), with Louis stressing that its merit being able to evolve alongside as the menu goes on from a milder taste to a more robust finale. Was also offered my favourite 渡舟 濾過前五十五 from the same producer as a nightcap.

If one truly takes the time and enjoy it slowly one dish at a time, I do find these seasonal sets coming out to be highly enjoyable and up there at the level of most quality kappou. Certainly a new twist to this place which was renowned for its 酒処 atmosphere.

The only suggestion to make will be quoting the origin (prefectures) of the ingredients on the menu which is pretty standard in Japan and maybe even some short description as in their seasonality and features for educational purposes. We all want to learn something new too while we load ourselves up with calories, isn’t it?

(Update: CWB shop closed – 2016)

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