Classic izakaya cuisine is paired with unusual finds such as blue seaweed beer and slow-cooked buta kakuni

Making a splash in the newly opened Kallang Wave is issho izakaya. Just a stone’s throw away from Stadium MRT, this Japanese restaurant serves up a fresh, uncomplicated line up of dishes which reflects the cuisine of a classic izakaya. They have taken the effort to make the dining experience here unique, decking out the dining areas in rustic Japanese décor with private rooms complete with floor seating on tatami mats.

Not forgetting where they have set up shop, they have a customised drinks list that reflects their location in the new Sports Hub, naming their cocktails with a sports vibe such as the Black Belt ($12.50), Kick A Goal ($10.50), Chariot Race ($9.80) or the house named Issho Champion ($12.80). These cocktails are not just original when to comes to their names; they are all specially concocted, some of them containing sake and the Japanese drink Kalpis.

Our dining experience kicked off with the chicken liver pate ($7.80), served alongside wafer thin slices of bread toasted to a crisp. The pate was velvety and bursting with umami flavours, with the crunch of the bread adding a much needed textural element to the dish.

Following that was a buta shabu salad ($12.80). Heaped on the crispy fresh vegetables, are thin slices of pork, which have been grilled to perfection. The cuts of meat which they use offer just the right amount of fat running through each slice making them moist and tender but not oily. Hitting a home run and bringing in all these ingredients together is the goma sauce in which the salad is tossed. Specially made by their chef, it provides an amazing balance of savoury, sweet and sour flavours of the dish.

The buta kakuni ($12.50) is a sizeable cube of belly pork, marinated for 2 days, and stewed till it almost melts in your mouth. There is also the buta maki kushiyai ($7 for 2 skewers) a simple dish highlighting sweet, piquant cherry tomatoes wrapped in savoury char grilled pork belly slices. A surprisingly refreshing combination but be warned though: pop it in one bite or risk the juicy warm tomatoes squirting over your shirt.

For the second half of our meal, our table was dominated by the issho Chanko ($88 and $168); a hotpot and its accompanying assortment of vegetables, well marbled U.S. beef, pork, home-made chicken meat balls, fillets of fresh cod, salmon as well as prawns. While the serving portions can usually consumed by a single sumo wrestler, the two serving sizes offered here feeds 4 and 8 regular diners respectively.

Extra time we had is filled with their chocolate mousse ($8.50), a silky smooth and semi-sweet chocolate mousse served with crispy fried bananas. To wash it all down is a glass of their Abashiri Ryuhyou Blue Beer ($15), a unique brew that uses water from icebergs and blue seaweed. When poured into your glass it has unique blue-purple tint which is light and refreshing, with the after-taste of minerals.

Address: #01-13/K5 Kallang Wave, Sports Hub, 1 Stadium Place. Tel: 6702 4708

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