When I entered Izayaka, I needed a minute to take in the views and the interior. Right across the Abahani field, the eatery welcomes you to the bustling Dhanmondi skyline. I noticed the stark contrast as I set my eyes at the table. Izakaya balances the minimalist nature of Japan with a hint of colour, as the silk cherry blossoms wrap their way around the restaurant. Starting my meal, I came to realise Izayaka embodies the same genius in plate and space.

As you are seated at one of their quaint tables, you’ll realise that Izayaka has taken the concept of globalisation and seamlessly merged it into your meal experience. The culinary masterminds have taken the bite size of tapas and introduced them to your chopsticks. The portion oriented menu assures diners of how they can dabble in a little bit of everything.

My meal started at the stomach of the hunger pang matters with the Aburi Salmon Belly Nigiri. My eyes are greeted to salmon, and for the first time in my gastronomic life, I would describe a fish as decadent. The pink sliver is the prime cut of salmon with the rich fishy fatness that is actually good for you (I’d easily have eight of these and call it dinner). I knew that I was in good hands, as this was the first establishment that I’d been to where they appreciate this prime cut.

Spicy Salmon Rice Cake

Aburi Salmon Belly Nigiri

Deep-fried Kani Mayo Roll

But your upstream journey does not end there. Izakaya appreciates every aspect of this ‘oh-so’ glorious fish, and this time it’s in the form of a savoury cake. Confetti of spicy salmon is generously dolloped on top of the Spicy Salmon Rice Cake. The golden nooks and crannies of this mini-cake introduce your eyes to the welcome crunch accompanying the supple fish. Fear not, they are not limited to a singular taste of the ocean. Continuing my munching journey, I feasted on the Deep-fried Kani Mayo Roll. I loved this roll, not just for the freshness and the hints of grilled ebikko but because they understand that less is more. It is not slathered spicy mayo like most eateries pride themselves on.

*Photographs by Tutul Nesar

Ashfaque Zaman

Ashfaque Zaman, zealous about food, life and knowledge