Write-up courtesy of Cheryl Teo@Freshgrads.sg
IZY Dining & Bar is one hell of a beautiful little secret. At this exquisite establishment, food is treated like a delicate work of art. The passionate attention to detail, quality, aesthetic appeal, and the flavor and textural dimensions took our breaths away and completely seduced us heart, body, mind and soul. We fell irrevocably in love with IZY for the unadulterated joy its titillating Japanese-American gastronomical masterpieces brought us.
Occupying one of the shophouses along the trendy scene of Club Street, IZY Dining & Bar is a pop culture modern F&B establishment where two very distinct worlds deliberately collide to form a magnificent construct of fusion cuisine.
Japanese and American culinary techniques weigh on two opposite ends of the spectrum. The Japanese focuses on using only the crème de la crème of ingredients, allowing the naturally delicious flavors of the top-notch produce to sweep all over your tastebuds, while the Americans’ pay the utmost importance to the complexity of their recipes, creating dishes that explode with full-bodied flavors. When these two contrasting cuisines are masterfully infused together, the end result are dishes so heavenly, the first taste will feel like an out-of-body experience.
Featuring colorful pop-art adorning the walls, mismatched Edison bulbs dangling from the wooden ceiling, wooden shelves stocked with Japanese sakes, whiskeys and the likes, industrial-styled grunge flooring and a long marble bartop spanning the length of the restaurant, IZY screams style and originality.
A camouflaged door at the back of the restaurant leads into a dimly lit bar whereupon after your eyes have adjusted to the darkness, you will find yourself standing in a chic and sophisticated lounge with dark tones, a ceiling adorned with copper pipes, glass and leather paneled walls, cushy leather chairs and warm lighting to put customers in a state of relaxation as they sip on their tipples and dig into their food.
The secret room embedded within IZY is a pop culture Japanese bar. Aptly named CACHÉ, which means “hidden” in French, this sleek industrial bar serves modern and classic and bespoke cocktails, Japanese craft beers, spirits, sake and wine.
Flower Blue Moon, $20
Served on a rose rock concocted with flower tea and three kinds of flower liqueurs, this sweet and floral concoction was extremely pleasing to sip at. The flowery notes bloomed on our tongue, the delicate perfumey aroma of honey and floral scents intermixing with our olfactory and gustatory systems, romancing us with its beautiful and exquisite bouquet of evolving flavors.
Japanese Nokke Roll, $45
Laden with a mountain of uni, ikura, crab and negitoro, this decadent roll of prized Japanese delicacies is an eye-popping myriad of colors, boasting rich flavors and textures with a crisp taste that can only be derived from ultimate freshness. Tucked away underneath that ocean of premium seafood are six little sushi rolls stuffed with Japanese cucumber. The sushi rolls fill you up while the wedges of cucumber within add a lovely refreshing crunch, perfectly juxtaposing with the sweet, creamy and umami uni, the savory pop of juices from the ikura, the flaky and malty tenderness of the crab meat, and the fatty, succulent goodness of the negitoro that disintegrates in your mouth.
Japanese Crab Croquette, $15
The moist and tender meat of dungeness crabs are scraped out of their shells, slathered in cream, coated with panko breadcrumbs and deep fried to a mouth-watering shade of golden-brown. It explodes with sinfully decadent cream as you bite into it, with the perfect rich and gooey interior. The flaky crab meat imparts a mild sweetness of the sea to the molten confines of the croquette, while the exterior retains its shape with a firm, crispy crust.
Grilled Swordfish, $28
Swordfish is slightly sweet and mild by nature. By grilling it, the high heat caramelizes the meat and intensifies the sweetness, with the marginally charred surfaces imbuing a tantalizing smoky taste to the fish. As the swordfish is torn open, juices start to spew forth, leaking from within the meat. The texture of the swordfish is meaty, firm and dense. It is succulent and mildly sweet, just barely tasting like fish with a slight tang.
Chicken Nanban, $9
We couldn’t get enough of these juicy and savory chunks of deep-fried chicken thighs soaked in sweet vinegar soy sauce and topped with a light and creamy tartar sauce. The sweet vinegar soy sauce gives the dish a combination of sweet, salty, sour and acidic flavors, and despite the sauce thoroughly permeating the batter, the chicken karaage somehow magically remains crispy and crunchy. The meat within is so tender that your teeth will cut through it like butter. The tartar sauce adds a creamy yet light and refreshing wash of flavor to the chicken bites.
Maguro Kama Yaki, $25
Gelatinous, viscous and full of collagen, the grilled bluefin tuna collar engulfed in a sweet and savory yakitori sauce is so expertly grilled to perfect consistency that the meat practically falls off the bone. The meat is sweet, tender, full of rich flavor and exceptionally succulent with a sticky viscosity from its high collagen content. This cut of the tuna is scarcely found in restaurants as the chefs are smart and usually keep the best parts for themselves. Seeing tuna collar on the menu in a restaurant is as rare a sight as sighting a white whale, so be sure to ask for it before the stock is wiped out by fish-savvy diners who are more aware of how exclusive this cut is.
IZY Roll, $18
The blazing hues of red and orange suggest that this is going to be one of the best rolls you will ever eat, and shoving a piece into your mouth will prove just that. Encased within sushi rice is an extremely fresh and springy tempura shrimp coated in a crispy batter. The avocado that resides just beside the tempura shrimp gives a refreshingly green creamy core. While we would prefer the roll to be intensively coated with the crunchy tobiko (flying fish roe) instead of just a sprinkling, the extremely creamy, savory, umami and ultimately heavenly spicy crab mayo, that has a richer and more complex flavors than mentaiko, more than made up for the lack of tobiko.
Yaki Chicken Gyoza, $12
The skin of the gyoza is soft and thin, with just the base pan-seared for a contrasting crisp texture that wonderfully complements the silky-smooth delicacy of the rest of the gyoza. A mouthful of “soup” will leak out of the gyoza as you bite into it, almost like a xiao long bao, thanks to the succulent minced chicken meat enveloped within that secretes its subtly sweet natural juices during the cooking process. The yuzu pepper ponzu served along the side of the six pieces of gyoza is a light, salty and tantalizing dipping sauce with a mild peppery kick bringing out the sweet citrusy tang of the ponzu.
Bayan Cauda, $24
Even though I’m not a fan of vegetables (I’m a carnivore at heart), I fell in love with this dish much to my pleasant surprise. The white miso fondue is extremely creamy, so much to the point that it has the consistency of cheese, but the salty and umami flavors of the miso prevents it from overwhelming the palette. The colorful platter of fresh vegetables with its refreshing taste and juicy crunch paired extremely well with the rich and savory fondue.
No amount of words can accurately describe how absolutely divine and exquisite IZY’s gyu-katsu is.
A beautiful slab of extensively marbled beef is coated in a thick layer of panko breadcrumbs and deep-fried on high heat for a few seconds so that the breadcrumbs crisp up and transform from a pale yellow to an appetizing golden-brown while the beef remains rare to keep its lovely intricate webbing of fat intact for a creamy, melt-in-the-mouth texture.
As your teeth sinks into the beef cutlet, it will first meet the flaky crunch of the breadcrumbs, and where the meat begins, is a taste of heaven itself. The smooth and velvety texture of the beef has a delicate richness that lingers on the palette long after the fountain of tumultuous pleasure derived from eating it has ebbed away.
The labyrinth of fat that wildly courses through the beef creates an extremely sensual chemical reaction in your mouth, a luscious evolutionary ride of the buttery beef that transforms from succulent to creamy to a snowy melt-in-the-mouth viscous goodness.
The delightful dish is served with soy sauce, white radish sauce and garlic sauce. Take your pick of the dipping sauces – the traditional light and salty Japanese soy sauce, a creamy and savory white radish sauce that accentuates the velvety tenderness of the beef, or the fragrant and aromatic garlic sauce that is big on flavor. Alternatively, you can eat it devoid of all sauces, to truly enjoy the gastronomical masterpiece as it is in its pure form.
Wagyu Truffle Don, $38
The paper-thin wagyu slices are lightly grilled over low heat resulting in a medium-rare doneness at some areas, so that the intramuscular fat that forms the beautiful marbling you see on raw beef stays intact and melts just ever so slightly. The melted fat keeps the meat tender, moist and juicy while infusing the beef with a great deal of flavor, while the unmelted fat, that still runs through the beef in fine lines, sets off a huge burst of juices and slowly dissolves in your mouth to a rich and creamy consistency. Topped with slivers of freshly shaved black truffle, the musky aroma of the prized fungi imparts a garlicky fragrance and an earthy richness to the don.
IZY Dining & Bar fills up to its full capacity occasionally during the weekends at peak meal timings as the unparalleled quality of its food speaks for itself. If you wish to dine in the intimate settings of its secret bar, CACHÉ, you should make reservations well in advance especially if it’s for a special occasion!