Which is your go-to restaurant? The one place you know you’ll never be disappointed. A kitchen that continues to surprise you with the new while maintaining the bar with the old. With thousands of restaurants available, there aren’t many I would return to repeatedly. Or rather, there isn’t a need to go back to the same one. Yet somehow, my heart is loyal to Public Izakaya in a way that makes me smile! Yes, just thinking about it makes me happy!The restaurant has a casual, homely vibe to it. Furishings and decor are basic with strong Japanese influence. A couple of local (and by “local”, I meant “local Japanese”) chefs busy themselves behind the counter grilling and prepping away. The place packs in a strong Japanese crowd daily… mostly from the nearby offices. I’d take that as a telltale sign of authenticity though I hear they serve a reasonably priced Asahi (think Happy hour) and a kickass Fish and Chips! Yes, you heard right! Well, Fish & Chips is never my first choice at a Japanese Izakaya but who knows, with all that raving, one day I might give it a shot! But for now, the ultimate (*drum roll*) for me has got to be the Skewered chicken meat ball in squid ink…Just look at those shiny black balls! Each skewer of 2 gigantic chicken balls grilled to a tender, juicy texture, then dunked in thick gooey squid ink mayonnaise!! Now, this isn’t the best looking thing you’re gonna put in your mouth but when you do, you’ll know it’s OISHI! I could binge-eat these delicious meatballs every single visit. Won’t even mind the unglamorous aftermath of blackened tongue and teeth!!! Oh but who am I kiddin’? There’s just too much to love at Public Izakaya!The melt-in-your-mouth Iberico Pork Belly is absolutely gorgeous. Simmered in a sweet savory liquid and served with soft boiled egg. The belly didn’t taste oily even with a visible layer of fat and skin. It was tender and flavorful, a perfect comfort dish with rice!The one item on the menu I’d been eyeing was the grilled blue fin tuna cheek and it did not disappoint. Fresh succulent flesh beneath nicely charred, salted skin. The cheek was big and meaty and totally worth the 30-minute wait.A typical Japanese starter, the Japanese Cabbage with spicy Miso paste is really a starter you munch on throughout your meal.These Japanese cabbage leaves are crunchy, juicy and sweet.. I take it like a palate cleanser 😄 !
Boy! I’m totally messing up the sequence here. Ok… don’t forget to order some Sake to go with the meal. It is an Izakaya after all! And so many little dishes go hand in hand with one of the country’s greatest invention! Here we go… back t0 starters!The Crispy Chicken Cartilage is an addictive mountain of light, crispy golden nuggets! They’re fried to a perfect crisp yet tenderness isn’t compromised. And they stay crunchy, like, for the entire time we took for our meal. Awesome 🙂 !Then there is the Salted Fermented Fish Innards. Not quite for the consevative eater.. I mean first, fish innards? Then, fermented? But these were well seasoned in a kimch-like marinade and had with a good springy bite to it. I’d imagine polishing up the entire bowl with a five-dollar-Asahi if it weren’t so spicy!The Chilled Chicken Liver smelled and tasted delicious in the fragrant sesame and chive dressing. The liver was fresh and not one second overcooked. There were sold out on the Monkfish liver so that’s on the list for my next visit!Can’t possibly forget their specialty Kushiyaki and Oden. Order the Omakase set for both and you’ll be treated to a variety of their popular selections. Don’t forget to drink up the wonderful Oden dashi soup which I’d gladly have seconds if I was not already stuffed!If you’re into shellfish… Though they weren’t the plumpest clams, these Steamed live Clams in Sake and Shoyu were sweet and fresh! And you have the option of having them cooked in garlic butter too. Dig in quick as they’re best piping hot!Last but not least, the Cold Pork Shabushabu, an unexpected second favorite of mine. Pre-cooked thin slices of pork are chilled, then piled atop blanched cabbage (also chilled). An amazing sesame dressing blankets the pork, and a side chive filled ponzu dip is served alongside. So here’s how its done, combine a slice of the flawlessly cooked sliced pork and a leaf of sweet cabbage… gently dunk in the ponzu dip (gentle cuz you dont wanna lose all that creamy sesame sauce on the pork), and consume! Oooo… the flavors are exceptional! Initially seeming redundant, the cabbage actually balances and highlights every ingredient. Trust me on this one! It’s a must order 💯!Public Izakaya changes their menu seasonally and I am excited to try’em all! Though it would break my heart if my favorite Black Chicken Balls were ever replaced💔!
The Public Izakaya by Hachi @ #01-09 100am, 100 Tras Street Singapore 079027