Izy Dining & Bar (Singapore)

Setting

The facade of Izy

Club Street is buzzing again.

Most telling of its renaissance is the raft of trendy-new eateries that debuted in the atmospheric conservation shop houses that line both sides of the gently winding slope leading to the charming Ann Siang Road.

Joining the vanguard of trendsetters is Izy Dining & Bar (“Izy”), a tinted glass-clad, uber-contemporary izakaya by French-Vietnamese owner-entrepreneur, Pierre Prunier.

A jet setting foodie who runs a family-owned asset management company by day, Prunier intends for Izy to be every bit as non-conformist as the 11 meter-long Japanese anime-inspired mural that lines the entirety of its dull-grey concrete wall. We don’t want to spoil the surprise for you but this specially commissioned pop art-meets-vintage masterpiece by local artist, Ben Qwek, is an apt – if tongue-in-cheek – reflection of Prunier’s approach to Izy. 
Interior of the uber-cool Izy

Like many of the city’s small plate eateries, Izy is positively boutique – it seats no more than 25 pax on made-in-Bali leather calf high stools in a cool – if dim lit -space festooned with decanter glass lamps.  Pick from the 17-seat marble-topped counter where you can watch the chefs swing into action at the open-concept kitchen that features a Josper grill (amongst others) or, if you wish to engage in private tête-à-tête, reserve one of 2 free standing 4-seat marble tables.

What to expect

It’s a known fact that Yoshihiro Narisawa of Narisawa – which took the top spot at the inaugural Asia 50 Best award in 2013 – discreetly swept into town for Izy’s opening in July 2013. While Narisawa did not have an official role in crafting Izy’s menu, there is nothing like a sprinkle of celebrity stardust to spice up its launch.

Kara-age chicken in balsamic mayonnaise sauce

At Izy, you may choose to knock back mugs of Japanese craft beer or sip on sake whilst tucking into kara-age chicken in balsamic mayonnaise sauce (S$20).

But its raison d’être is the Japanese-meets-Western gastro-fare by Australia-trained chef Kazumasa Yazawa, who spent the last 5 years cutting his teeth at Tetsuya Wakuda’s pair of eateries – Tetsuya’s (Sydney) and Waku Ghin (Singapore).

Thankfully, you don’t have to mortgage your house to fund a meal prepared by Yazawa and the reasonably priced omakase menu (S$120 and S$150 for 7 courses, more expensive omakase features premium ingredients like sazae and saba) provides just the means to sample a cross section of the talented chef’s menu – but in tasting portions.

Signature dish: uni, ikura, junsai, goma toufu

Headlining the omakase menu is the signature dish of Kyoto toufu crowned with glistening ikura pearls and a tongue of Hokkaido uni. Served in a martini glass, the dish is exemplary for the bursts of briny flavours from the ikura against creamy uni in a savoury dashi broth flecked with slimy junsai (watershield). A touch of yuzu enlivens and refreshes the delicious mélange of flavours on the palate.

Organic veg with dashi jelly (left), Coffin Bay oyster in lime ponzu dressing infused with mango/passionfruit flavours (right)

Yazawa’s Japanese touch continues with the vegetable course, a medley of locally grown organic vegetables – including enoki, shimeji, snap peas and baby corn – basking in globs of dashi-mirin jelly that elevates the otherwise plain Jane vegetables to a state of umami brilliance. Then a Coffin Bay oyster dressed in an equally Japanese-accented dressing of lime-accented ponzu flavoured with mango and passion fruit. 

Josper-grilled saba fish (top), Josper-grilled foie gras (bottom)

What ensues is a succession of Josper-grilled items. First, a petite hunk of deliciously unctuous saba fish with shishito pepper and dollops of jams (spring onion, ginger and chilles). Then white miso-marinated foie gras topped with chives served alongside braised grape. They are both brilliant.

Josper-grilled sazae (turbo shell)

Josper-grilled Mizayaki sirloin

This is followed by sazae (turbo shell) served cut-up in piping hot dashi broth with vegetables and ends with cubes of Mizayaki sirloin served with wasabi, black garlic puree and lashings of garlic chips.

Wagyu beef bowl with summer truffle shavings

A bowl of grilled wagyu beef bowl with runny yolk and aromatic summer truffle shavings concludes the omakase. 

Green tea pudding with house made mochi

Depending on what the chef fancies, you may get a glass of green tea pudding topped with a dollop of house made mochi for dessert. Admittedly it’s not the most fanciful sweet in the house – blue cheese ice cream next time (hopefully).

With a pedigreed chef, trendy setting and affordable omakase, it’s easy to fall head over heels with Izy. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating and we reckon now’s the time to get a reservation, before the crowd pours in. And while you’re at it, have a nightcap at the Cache Bar (only available from late September) – you did not hear it from us.

Izy | 27 Club Street | 65-6220 3327 | http://www.izy.com.sg

© Evelyn Chen 2013

Please note that the reviews published in this blog are sometimes hosted. I am under no obligation to review every restaurant I’ve visited. If I do, the reviews are 100% my own.

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