If you are a manga or anime fan, you would immediately be attracted by the storefront of this Japanese izakaya in IFC Chengdu.
Right at the store front is the famous tofu shop from the manga/anime/movie Initial D 頭文字(イニシャルD). 藤原豆腐店 Fujiwara Tofu Ten was where protagonists of the manga lived with his father and their Toyota AE86.
Stepping into this newly opened restaurant in Chengdu is like entering the two-dimensional world, especially suitable for fans of anime and manga.
In the main dining area, you will dine among limited editions of manga figurines, like this extremely detailed 2 meter tall Gundam, together with Astro Boy, Saint Seiya, Doraemon, Ultraman, Pokemon, Naruto… it’s like a mini figurine toy exhibition while having a meal.
Ordering was done using the mini-app in WeChat, so if you do not have the app installed, you would have to depend on the plastic models of the food or paper menu plastered all over the walls. And within seconds of ordering, the chawanmushi appeared before us. So I guessed it’s really a fast-food Japanese restaurant.
Oden was the next to appear. These fish cakes and other goodies cooked in dashi must be simmering in some pot in another corner of the restaurant. The dashi was delicious perhaps because of the cold winter night.
Next item to be served was a piping hot bowl of beef udon with wakame and onsen egg. Nothing to complain about, tasting quite like the bottled soup based I can get from Don Don Donki.
The izakaya staple, ankimo with ponzu sauce came next. This was quite bad, the first and only fail for the evening. The ankimo was quite hard and tasted fishy even with the ponzu sauce. Too little scallions and the spicy radish was too mushy and watery.
Beef offals stew in white miso hit the spot with the fattiness of the offals melting in the white miso stew. Excellent with a drink or two, but I wasn’t drinking. I wished there was some radish, but that was beef tendons – even better.
The first five items came at lightning speed and filled our counter seats very quickly. Soon we were surrounded by so much food that when the sashimi platter was served, we have to move everything else aside. Nothing exciting about this sashimi, B grade stuff given the price.
I ordered a few rare parts for the kushiyaki since we were seated at the zone – bonjiri, gyutan and pig’s brain. The brain freaked out the ladies that were seating around the counter. My partner was complain how gross it was, but baby, it was deliciously creamy and full of umami.
The restaurant was divided into four zones – a sushi bar, a kushikatsu (deep fried sticks) counter, a kushiyaki (BBQ skewers) counter and traditional ramen shop. All the food are made at each of these counters.
At the end, they provided a complimentary bowl of sweet soup that they would change in season – tonight’s was a bowl of red bead with rice balls.
Consumerism in Chengdu has always been top in China, with the most numbers of high-end boutiques per sq.m in downtown as compared to Shanghai or Guangzhou, even Beijing.
Chengdu has become quite a gourmet city since the massive earthquake struck a few years ago. The aftermath caused locals’ propensity to save decreased and consumption spending grew to an all time high. There were so many restaurants opened since the last trip and Michelin just launched the first edition for Chengdu. Hopefully, life gets better in a city that already knew how to enjoy life for centuries.
Negima Kushiyaki 葱间•串烧动漫居酒屋
Tel : 62528656
Date visited : Dec 2021
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