The Modern Izakaya

The Modern Izakaya
30 Victoria Street
#01-18 CHIJMES

Sake Kitagawa Tomio Gin No Tsukasa Junmai Daiginjo (SGD $14 Glass / $80 Bottle)

Casual Izakaya With Good Food

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 5
Ambience & Setting: 7
Food & Beverage: 8
Service: 6
Value for Money: 3
Spent about SGD $52 per person.


In these modern times, I find it odd that a F&B establishment in Singapore remains largely under the radar, with not much of an online presence. The Modern Izakaya is just such a place, this casual Japanese dining destination has a minimal online presence, relying instead on its high foot traffic around CHIJMES. Styled after the izakaya bars of Tokyo, Japan, The Modern Izakaya boasts a chill atmosphere, offering tasty kushiyaki / skewers, and Japanese snacks.

Ambience at The Modern Izakaya is casual and relaxed. The small floor space boasts indoor and outdoor al-fresco dining. Sturdy dark wooden furniture neatly lines the interior, while high bar tables and stools are positioned at the exterior. Ample natural lighting during the day and placement of greenery lend a sense of comfort, while neon blue lights cast a tranquil glow at night. The glass walled kitchen allows you to watch the chefs at work. Great for people watching!

Service at The Modern Izakaya is professional and courteous. I note they actually employ Japanese servers here, which is a good sign. The menu is clear but concise, and staff display good product knowledge, able to share recommendations. Staff also ask for feedback on your dining experience, as well as come by regularly to clear away empty / dirty plates. There is a short wait time of about 15 minutes for orders to be fulfilled, due to skewers being grilled only upon order.

Food at The Modern Izakaya is Japanese tapas / kushiyaki / yakitori skewers and snacks. This means light bites and small bowls, with portion sizes designed for individuals. Dishes are freshly prepared and grilled to order, and I find the quality pretty consistent from visit to visit. Flavours are kept clean and simple. However, prices are rather high, as befits a bar, but also more expensive than other such places. Be prepared to splurge, budget about SGD $50 per person for a decent meal here.


The Modern Izakaya Signage
The Modern Izakaya Signage

The Modern Izakaya Facade

Menu Food

Menu Food

Menu Drinks

Menu Drinks

The Sake Kitagawa Tomio Gin No Tsukasa Junmai Daiginjo (SGD $14 Glass / $80 Bottle) is a clear, transparent, colourless Daiginjo (50% rice husk milled away) sake, brewed by Kitagawa Honke in Kyoto Prefecture, in the Kansai region of Japan. It has an aroma of spices and flowers, a light and thin texture, with a strong fruity sweet flavour, tasting of honeydew melon. Finish is dry and warm. Pairs well with oily food.

Sake Kitagawa Tomio Gin No Tsukasa Junmai Daiginjo (SGD $14 Glass / $80 Bottle)

Sake Kitagawa Tomio Gin No Tsukasa Junmai Daiginjo

The Sake Nanbu Bijin Tokubetsu Junmai (SGD $14 Glass / $80 Bottle) is a clear, transparent, colourless Tokubetsu Junmai (40% rice husk milled away) sake, brewed by Nanbu Bijin Kuji Shuzo in Fukuoka Prefecture, in the Kyushu region of Japan. It has an aroma of fruits and flowers, a rich and creamy texture, with a warm savoury flavour, tasting of rice and pear. Finish is dry and short. Pairs well with spicy food.

Sake Nanbu Bijin Tokubetsu Junmai (SGD $14 Glass / $80 Bottle)

Sake Nanbu Bijin Tokubetsu Junmai

Sake Nanbu Bijin Tokubetsu Junmai

The Fugu Mirin Boshi / Air Dried Puffer Fish (SGD $12) is possibly the weakest dish here. Having eaten much better quality versions elsewhere, I find this to be lacklustre. The dry texture and lack of smoky savoury salty flavour is disappointing. Skip this.

Fugu Mirin Boshi / Air Dried Puffer Fish (SGD $12)

Fugu Mirin Boshi / Air Dried Puffer Fish

The Naganegi / Japanese Leek (SGD $3) feature fresh sprigs of Japanese leek, crisp and crunchy in texture, with a light juicy, sweet grassy taste. Hint of smoky aroma from the slight char on the outside of the leeks. Good for relieving some of the heaty heaviness of the other skewers. Worth ordering!

Naganegi / Japanese Leek (SGD $3)

Naganegi / Japanese Leek

The Kinoko / Shiitake Mushroom (SGD $3) is decent, largely let down by the semi-dry texture. It's saved somewhat by the meaty, chewy texture, and the light sprinkling of salt over the mushroom caps, giving it a nice salty sweet flavour.

Kinoko / Shiitake Mushroom (SGD $3)

Kinoko / Shiitake Mushroom

Loved the Tori Momo / Chicken Thigh (SGD $3), with its meaty and moist texture, sweet savoury and clean flavour. For a place which specialises in kushiyaki / yakitori / skewers, they execute this to perfection. Tasty with the coating of teriyaki sauce on the chicken thigh meat, which is balanced in portion. Highly recommended!

Tori Momo / Chicken Thigh (SGD $3)

Tori Momo / Chicken Thigh

The Tori Hatsu / Chicken Heart (SGD $3) is nicely crunchy, with a burst of freshness from the garnish of spring onions, followed by a deep savoury flavour. The chicken heart is great for the not so faint of heart. Nice!

Tori Hatsu / Chicken Heart (SGD $3)

Tori Hatsu / Chicken Heart

The Tori Kawa / Chicken Skin (SGD $3) is done to an excellent crispy texture, crunching loudly when bit. Not too greasy, which I like, the chicken skin has a mild savoury salty flavour. Stands out for the execution in texture. Good!

Tori Kawa / Chicken Skin (SGD $3)

Tori Kawa / Chicken Skin

Loved the Tsukune / Minced Chicken Meatball (SGD $4). A large, tightly packed, minced chicken meatball is glazed with a sweet teriyaki sauce, lending a layer of flavour to the savoury salty skewer. Delicious and completely satisfiying. Highly recommended!

Tsukune / Minced Chicken Meatball (SGD $4)

Tsukune / Minced Chicken Meatball

What stood out for me with the Enoki Bekon / Golden Mushroom Bacon (SGD $3) is the freshness of the ingredients. Elsewhere, this is usually overly salty and limp, but here, they've got it juicy, smoky savoury sweet, and with a nice chew to texture. Really good, slight sharp kick as well from the spot of mustard.

Enoki Bekon / Golden Mushroom Bacon (SGD $3)

Enoki Bekon / Golden Mushroom Bacon

Love how succulent and juicy the Buta Bara / Pork Belly (SGD $4) is, with a nice savoury salty flavour, and a slight sweet taste from the spot of apply sauce. Hint of smoke on the meat, and I like that the fat to meat ratio is well balanced, keeping it tender and moist. Highly recommended!

Buta Bara / Pork Belly (SGD $4)

Buta Bara / Pork Belly

The most disappointing dish was the Buta Kashira / Pork Temple (SGD $4). This was overly salty, dry, and overcooked till the meat has a burnt flavour. Terrible, though I think it's likely a one-off disappointment in execution.

Buta Kashira / Pork Temple (SGD $4)

Buta Kashira / Pork Temple

The cubes of Gyuniku / Beef (SGD $8) are succulent, simple but so good. Tender with a slight chew that is completely satisfiying. The beef is savoury and meaty, with a hint of spice from the black pepper glaze. Love how fresh it tastes. Highly recommended!

Gyuniku / Beef (SGD $8)

Gyuniku / Beef

The Gyutan / Beef Tongue (SGD $10) is really decadent. Each tender, smooth piece of meaty beef tongue is savoury salty, with a rich oily texture and bouncy chew. The flavour is deep and robust, coating the palate in deliciousness. Extremely good, and sinful too. Highly recommended!

Gyutan / Beef Tongue (SGD $10)

Gyutan / Beef Tongue

The Uzura Tamago / Quail Egg (SGD $3) is outstanding, because rather than a solid egg yolk, it's still runny. Burst of flavour in the mouth when bit, you get the eggy goodness, and the yolk just spreads over the palate. Little nuggets of heaven. Highly recommended!

Uzura Tamago / Quail Egg (SGD $3)

Uzura Tamago / Quail Egg

The Surume Ika Yaki / Grilled Arrow Squid (SGD $15) is decent, but could be so much better. While the portion of squid is large, and the meat sweet with a tender bouncy chew, it also toes the border between moist and dry. There is a hint of smoky texture, but it lacks that edge to make it good. Would be better with some sauce on the side, either sweet teriyaki, salty soy sauce, or spicy chili. Would not order this again.

Surume Ika Yaki / Grilled Arrow Squid (SGD $15)

Surume Ika Yaki / Grilled Arrow Squid

Surume Ika Yaki / Grilled Arrow Squid