Welcome to the first izakaya in the HDB Heartland! But first, a disclosure – I an a personal friend of the owner of this cozy little izakaya in the neighbourhood.
Would you be my neighbour
Most izakayas are found near the office districts, catering to the office crowd looking for a place relax after a long stressful day in the office. With the pandemic and WFH the norm, you do not need to look far if you need to walk away from the Zoom meeting and look for a quick drink if you are leaving in Kovan.
Tachinomiya 立ち飲み屋 translate to “standing bar”. When I was travelling to Tokyo, we had several of these types of bar around our office in Akasaka. These are usually around the subway stations, where many salaryman and OL would just stand around for a quick drink, and maybe a small bite or two before they head home .
But this place has seating capacity for around 36 people given the current social distancing, with several tall tables along the corridors, and normal seatings in the new section just next to the original space they occupied.
The owner Ying is a certified sake sommelier and before when we could travel, she would go to source for unique sake and shochu from Japan. Besides the Dassai Junmai, you can find other rarer varietals on offer here.
Besides yakitori, they have bentos and ramens, and also delivery for lunch and dinner. We were here for an old schoolmate gathering, so we just stuck to yakitori and sake.
First up, their bestsellers – grilled salmon with mentaiko mayo, chicken with leek in teriyaki sauce, grilled chicken wings with salt, and my favourite, shishito (sweet green pepper). It is said that you would be so luck to bite into a spicy shishito, because only one in ten is spicy.
Another recommendation from Ying, tamago with mentaiko – an appetiser that went well with the sweet sake that we were drinking.
This would be the lightest item for the midday catch-up among classmates.
And then in succession three different yakitori staples – chicken with leek, pork belly with leek and asparagus with bacon – all competently done by the chefs.
Another of their bestseller was the cheese mentaiko scallop. A half-shell scallop was topped with mentaiko mayo and then with cheese and baked to create a cheesy crust with creamy mentaiko before reaching the sweet scallop.
And then we continued our catch-up with some more izakaya snacks for kuchisabishii 口寂しい. I am not making up this word. The Japanese does have word to describe the urge to put some snack into the mouth because it’s lonely.
And we finished a good catchup with their house made lemon tofu cheesecake.
Do drop by if you are around Kovan.
Blk 211 Hougang Street 21, #01-285, Singapore 530211
Tel : 6286 0738
Date visited : Feb 2022