Izakaya 95

January 08, 2017 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Izakaya 95
3 Punggol Point
#02-05 The Punggol Settlement


http://izakaya95.com/


Unagi Kabayaki / Grilled Eel Teriyaki (SGD $28)



Excellent Grilled Skewers & Japanese Light Bites

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 7
Ambience & Setting: 7
Food & Beverage: 8
Service: 8
Value for Money: 6
Spent about SGD $43 per person.


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Founded in May 2015, Izakaya 95 is a Japanese kushiyaki / yakitori bar, a hole-in-the-wall styled hidden find that serves Japanese light bites and grilled skewers. Izakaya 95 has quickly gained popularity for its excellent, tasty food, hand grilled to order over binchotan charcoal, a good quality, white coloured oak charcoal. Burning with a high heat but little ash, this imparts a smoky flavour into each skewer.

Ambience at Izakaya 95 is styled after the typical kushiyaki / yakitori bars of Tokyo, in the Kanto region of Japan. Besides ample natural lighting during the day, the place has a warm but dim glow at night, the Japanese lanterns and warm lights illuminating the long, communal wooden benches. Overhead retractable awnings protect from all but the worst weather conditions. The grilling area is prominent, and allows guests to watch, while the traditional Japanese decor on the walls lend an Oriental touch.

Service at Izakaya 95 is friendly, professional, and efficient. Staff are quick to greet and seat guests. They are able to describe dishes and offer recommendations, displaying decent product knowledge. I note they're also quick to clear away empty / dirty dishes and plates, and will sometimes ask for feedback on the meal. Orders are freshly prepared, which means a short wait time of between 10 - 20 minutes. However, they don't interact much with diners, nor do they share ongoing promotions unless asked.

Food at Izakaya 95 is Japanese light bites, focused on small plates and grilled skewers. Each dish is prepared upon order, which means you get it hot and fresh. Generally tasty and delicious with bold flavours, the star ingredient in each dish stands out. Quality is above average, and I like that they're consistent. Portions are individual sized, but meant for sharing, it's best to visit in groups of 3 - 4 people. The menu is extensive, and the wide variety means value in revisiting. Prices are comparable to other such places, budget about SGD $43 per person for a meal with drinks here.


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Izakaya 95 Exterior
Izakaya 95 Exterior


Izakaya 95 Interior
Izakaya 95 Interior


Izakaya 95 Description



The Beer Asahi Super Dry (SGD $9.50) is a Japanese pale lager, brewed by Asahi Breweries in Tokyo, within the Kanto region of Japan. This bright, clear golden yellow brew has a tame aroma of hops, grass, corn, and apples, with a smooth, refreshing, medium body and medium carbonation. Taste is floral bitter sweet, with notes of wheat, rice, malted barley, and lemon citrus, with a super dry, crisp finish. Very drinkable. They offer a 1-for-1 promotion here.

Beer Asahi Super Dry (SGD $9.50)



The Whisky Hibiki Harmony (SGD $15) is aptly named, for this Japanese whisky is a blend of malts from Yamazaki distillery (Osaka Prefecture, Kansai region, Japan) and Hakushu distillery (Yamanashi Prefecture, Chubu region, Japan), along with grain whisky from the Chita distillery (Aichi Prefecture, Chubu region, Japan). Master Blender Shingo Torii and team have created a pale, yellow amber whisky with aromas of honey, lychee, oak, and sandalwood. The body is light, smoky, and smooth, very approachable. Taste is sharp, woody, and floral, with notes of orange marmalade, apricot, cinnamon, and rosemary herb. Finish is medium clean, some bitterness and sharpness, slight lingering spice notes. Good beginner's dram, though experienced drinkers may find this weak.

Whisky Hibiki Harmony (SGD $15)



The unique part about this Tako Wasabi / Octopus Wasabi (SGD $6) that differs from elsewhere, is the dollop of wasabi served on top of the fresh, bouncy chewy sweet chunks of diced octopus meat. Part of the experience is having to mix the wasabi in yourself. Personally, I like to really get it completely mixed in, just to avoid being surprised by a blast of super spicy minty feeling from a whole wasabi chunk.

Tako Wasabi / Octopus Wasabi (SGD $6)


Tako Wasabi / Octopus Wasabi



The Fugu Mirin / Grilled Puffer Fish (SGD $10) is wonderfully smoky, with a nice chewy, sticky texture. Deep flavours of savoury, this is served with a side of mildly spicy chili. Personally, I find the puffer fish to be good enough on its own, the chili did little to enhance it. Worth ordering!

Fugu Mirin
Fugu Mirin / Grilled Puffer Fish (SGD $10)


Grilled Puffer Fish
Fugu Mirin / Grilled Puffer Fish



The Kawa Ebi / Deep-Fried River Shrimp (SGD $10) features whole river shrimp, deep fried till even the shells are crisp and edible. Crunches satisfiyingly, and the salt at the side makes for a perfect accompaniment. Dip it lightly into the salt for an added layer of flavour, giving it a bold salty sweet note. Makes a perfect beer / drinking snack for sharing. Good!

Kawa Ebi / Deep-Fried River Shrimp (SGD $10)


Kawa Ebi / Deep-Fried River Shrimp



I like the Surume Ika Teriyaki / Whole Teriyaki Squid (SGD $18), the large, whole squid has a bouncy, chewy texture to the meat. The natural sweet flavour of the squid is nicely contrasted by the savoury salty flavour of the teriyaki sauce, perfumed by sesame seeds. Clean-tasting, great for sharing. Good!

Surume Ika Teriyaki
Surume Ika Teriyaki / Whole Teriyaki Squid (SGD $18)


Whole Teriyaki Squid
Surume Ika Teriyaki / Whole Teriyaki Squid



Loved the Unagi Kabayaki / Grilled Eel Teriyaki (SGD $28), it's among the better versions I've had. The eel has a savoury salty flavour from the teriyaki glaze, which is neither too light nor too heavy. The texture is nicely balanced, between tender and chewy, and isn't too soft or limp. Best of all, it has a wonderful smoky aroma. Excellent, I kept craving for more of this. Highly recommended!

Unagi Kabayaki
Unagi Kabayaki / Grilled Eel Teriyaki (SGD $28)


Grilled Eel Teriyaki
Unagi Kabayaki / Grilled Eel Teriyaki



Loved the Saba Shio Yaki / Mackerel Fish With Salt (SGD $12), a medium sized fillet of mackerel fish, coated with a light salt rub and a splash of lemon juice. The fish meat is tender, moist, and comes off easily. Despite many small bones within, the fish is so well grilled that even the bones can be eaten! The fish meat has a clean, sweet savoury taste, while the crisp skin is strongly salty savoury, a burst of flavour in the mouth. I like that the dish is well thought out, as a dollop of grated daikon radish on the side counter-balances the robust flavour in the fish, giving it a layer of clean, juicy, refreshing feeling when paired.

Saba Shio Yaki / Mackerel Fish With Salt (SGD $12)


Saba Shio Yaki / Mackerel Fish With Salt


Saba Shio Yaki / Mackerel Fish With Salt



The undecided can go for the various sampler platters on offer, such as the Assorted Meat Skewer Set (SGD $19), the Assorted Chicken Skewer Set (SGD $18), or the Assorted Vegetable Skewer Half Set (SGD $6). This allows one to try a variety of different skewers, and also showcases the skill of the chef.

Assorted Meat Skewer Set (SGD $19)


Assorted Chicken Skewer Set (SGD $18)


Assorted Vegetable Skewer Half Set (SGD $6)



The Tori Momo / Chicken Thigh Skewer (SGD $3) has tender, juicy sweet chicken thigh, coated in a savoury salty tare sauce / soy basting sauce. Comes clean off the skewer easily, has a slight chew to texture. Good!

Tori Momo / Chicken Thigh Skewer (SGD $3)



The Tori Negi / Chicken Thigh & Leek Skewer (SGD $3) has tender, juicy sweet chicken thigh, and crunchy earthy vegetal leeks, coated in a savoury salty tare sauce / soy basting sauce. Simple, but so good.

Tori Negi / Chicken Thigh & Leek Skewer (SGD $3)



The Sasami Mentai / Chicken Loin With Cod Roe Mayonnaise (SGD $4) features tender, moist chicken thigh, given a salty savoury flavour from the rich, creamy cod roe mayonnaise. Strong flavours here, though I personally enjoyed the other skewers over this.

Sasami Mentai / Chicken Loin With Cod Roe Mayonnaise (SGD $4)



Loved the Tsukune Tare / Homemade Minced Chicken Meat Ball Skewer (SGD $4). The large, handmade minced chicken meat ball is tightly packed and juicy within. The light smoky aroma and robust savoury salty flavour from the tare sauce / soy basting sauce complements the natural sweet taste of the meat. Good!

Tsukune Tare / Homemade Minced Chicken Meat Ball Skewer (SGD $4)



The Tori Kawa / Chicken Skin (SGD $3) is satisfiyingly crisp in texture, having a loud crunch, and a light salty savoury taste. Decadent but so good.

Tori Kawa / Chicken Skin (SGD $3)



Felt the Tebasaki / Chicken Wings Skewer (SGD $4) was underwhelming. The outside of the chicken wings taste slightly burnt, and the inside, despite being tender, is slightly dry. Disappointing. Skip this.

Tebasaki / Chicken Wings Skewer (SGD $4)



The Kagoshima Butaniku / Pork Belly Skewer (SGD $5) was disappointing. While I like the savoury salty fatty taste of the pork belly, the texture was more firm than I'd like, and rather difficult to chew through. Also, it bordered on dry. Not good.

Kagoshima Butaniku / Pork Belly Skewer (SGD $5)



The Bekon Asuparagasu / Bacon Asparagus Skewer (SGD $4) was very good. The salty savoury strips of meaty fatty streaky bacon, complement the crunchy, juicy, earthy vegetal stalks of fresh asparagus. Love the smoky aroma that this carries.

Bekon Asuparagasu / Bacon Asparagus Skewer (SGD $4)



The Bekon Enoki / Bacon Golden Mushroom Skewer (SGD $3) is a burst of flavour. The incredibly juicy golden mushrooms burst delightfully when bit, releasing a sweet earthy flavour that layers with the salty savoury strips of meaty fatty streaky bacon. Nice.

Bekon Enoki / Bacon Golden Mushroom Skewer (SGD $3)



The Cheri Tomato / Cherry Tomato Skewer (SGD $3) feature juicy cherry tomatoes that burst with a pleasing floral sweet flavour when bit. The skin carries a slight char, releasing a fruity smoky aroma. Worth ordering!

Cheri Tomato / Cherry Tomato Skewer (SGD $3)



The simple Engiri / King Trumpet Mushroom Skewer (SGD $3) features meaty king trumpet mushrooms, tender with an earthy savoury flavour, and a slight kick of black pepper spice. Love that it's nicely grilled such that it has a smoky aroma, yet the mushrooms remain moist and chewy in texture.

Engiri / King Trumpet Mushroom Skewer (SGD $3)



The Sumoku Dokku / Smoked Duck Skewer (SGD $4) features tender, moist smoked duck slices, with a thin layer of fat. Nice chew to the meat, not too tough, and it carries bold salty savoury flavour. I like the slight spice kick of black pepper too.

Sumoku Dokku / Smoked Duck Skewer (SGD $4)



The Foagura Ninniku Yakimeshi / Foie Gras Garlic Fried Rice (SGD $15) is a signature dish here. What stood out for me was the fragrant garlic fried rice, with its buttery, fluffy texture, and balanced notes of garlic, not too overwhelming or intense. Has a good amount of smoky aroma from frying, and a savoury flavour. But the firm, semi-dry chunks of foie gras was disappointing, a waste of such an ingredient. Next time, I'll just get the garlic fried rice on its own.

Foagura Ninniku Yakimeshi / Foie Gras Garlic Fried Rice (SGD $15)


Foagura Ninniku Yakimeshi / Foie Gras Garlic Fried Rice



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