Izakaya (居酒屋): a type of informal Japanese gastropub. What with London being such a loveable cranny of international culture, it's no wonder that one of Japan's most 'old school cool' types of venues has found its way to the city. Originally noted as informal haunts for after-work Japanese drinkers and diners to scoff on snacks such as yakitori (skewers), and gorge on 'grown-up booze', the London izakaya is as equally casual, rounding up teams of diners for robata grill goodies, and promising that no small plate gets left behind. Here are our favourite izakayas in London....
Another location in London whose singular aim is to give yakitori the ultimate dining platform, Jidori is a fresh, fun and casual eatery in East London that gets its name from a breed of free-range chickens renowned in Japan for their flavour. Head on down for sumptuous small plates that tow the line between spinach ohitashi, katsu curry scotch eggs and yakitori of wing, shisho and grilled lemon. Get a beer too, this is izakaya dining after all.
If there's one izakaya in London that's made a Chelsea name for itself, it's Kurobuta. While underpinning the art of the izakaya with laid-back cool, small bites and moreish Eastern ingredients, Kurobuta has a prim, West London edge about it. Whether you're at their Marble Arch or Chelsea branch, be sure to try bites the likes of Tea Smoked Lamb with Smokey Nasu and Spicy Korean Miso from their robata grill.
Flesh & Buns
Coming up trumps when it comes to one of the coolest izakaya's in London is Flesh & Buns. Not only toting a gnarly urban edge, their venue interiors hail to the traditional izakaya with broody interiors, wooden tables and tops brimming with small plates. I've had a few o' Flesh in my day, and can vouch. They're some good buns, hun thanks to the likes of their hirata steamed waygu beef steak bun with Korean dipping sauce.