Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Heirloom - Modern Izakaya and Sake Bar

Japanese food is one of my favourite types of cuisines along with French food. So it was with much delight that I accepted an invite to attend a new modern izakaya and sake bar in Heirloom restaurant. I was joined at the meal by my friends and fellow food bloggers April, Agnes, I-Hua and Claire. We were trying out a special bloggers menu which contains many similar elements to the restaurant's current 6 course degustation menu.

The meal started with Sashimi and Kushiyaki (grilled meat on skewers). The sashimi was supremely fresh and eaten simply with soy and fresh wasabi, a great clean start to the meal. I don't get to eat fresh wasabi often and it's really beautiful stuff and taste so much better with the sashimi. Following the sashimi were chicken and pork belly skewers. They had a wonderful charcoal flavour and the meat was really tender.

The next lot of entrees we ate were a Wagyu Tataki, a Salmon Yukke, Potato Dango and Pitoro Gyoza. The Wagyu Tataki below was a really zingy dish that I kept wanting more of. The yuzu jelly and wasabi dressing went wonderfully with it. I didn't think any entree could beat that but the Salmon Yukke definitely did. A runny egg sat upon a bed of salmon with crispy potato and truffled cauliflower. The combination of flavours were superb and my favourite dish of the night. The Potato Dango is a Japanese gnocchi of sort (potato squares fried) served with a Roquefort and miso cream. It was so simple again but so good. Lastly, the Pitoro Gyoza (pork jaw meat) was one of the best gyozas you'll try anywhere.

From the amazing entrees, we moved into mains. I must say I was a bit disappointed with the mains after the stunning entrees we had just eaten. The Quinoa Kingfish Teriyaki with Japanese mushrooms and parsnip puree was quite good, but not really memorable. The dish did contain soy sauce but I question how Japanese in flavours it is. I'm not trying to pigeonhole the restaurant into just doing Japanese food, but clearly the more Japanese focused entrees were far superior to this dish.

The Heirloom Kaisen Takikomi Rice was a big casserole of rice with Hokkaido king crab, prawns, mussels and calamari. I felt all the seafood were a tad dry and didn't really shine in their flavours. Once you ate the seafood, the rice was quite bland and dry and didn't have the rich seafood flavours such as that of a paella.

The dish that I was anticipating most was the Wagyu Ribs Sukiyaki. The Wagyu ribs were super soft and very nice in flavour. The soy sauce was a bit salty and dominated the flavours of the various vegetables. It was a good dish but again I keep going back to how good the entrees were.

With our meal, we were served a variety of different Japanese beers and a Japanese sake. The beers were very good but the sake was awesome, one of the best sakes I've tried. The sake range is obviously quite extensive as they pride themselves as a sake bar as well. You can sit at the round bar area to drink your sake and snack on some izakaya items if you don't want a full meal. The room is divided into a number of areas with traditional tables, high tables and a bar area. The lighting is kept fairly low, but not totally dark, and the room has a nice feel to it. I can't really comment on the service as we were dining as guests but the wait staff all seemed friendly.

Overall, I like the food but the entrees alone were the highlight for me. The flavours of the entrees were all fairly simply and the quality of the ingredients and clear flavours really shine through. I would definitely go back just for the entrees and recommend you also try them out with some beautiful sake.

I dined courtesy of Heirloom restaurant.
Heirloom on Urbanspoon


  1. oh yum, that looks divine.

    and what a coincidence, someone just recommended this place to me the other day.

  2. Loved their yukke, chicken skin, prawn kataifi and their degustation dinner!

  3. Japanese is my favourite cuisine too and salmon when very fresh, is one of my favourite foods!

    Your photos turned out great considering how dark it was! My photos were bad!

  4. oooo wagyu ribs!! they look fab, along with everything else!

  5. Kim, what a coincidence indeed. Did you try them out?

    The Raging Cook, the yukke was sensational, as was most of the food.

    April, I love fresh sashimi. Thank you. It was the steady hands.

    Michele, ribs are such a good cut of meat.

    Nic, thank you.

  6. Loved the yuke and my risotto rice the best!