An izakaya is a casual Japanese drinking place where people can go after work to grab a few drinks while chewing on yakitori skewers. To find a place in Sydney where there is a friendly vibe, with a good variety of drinks and food, is not easy, but we think we may have found the place.
Located in Chinatown, Masu Izakaya has only been opened for a few weeks. It has a really nice atmosphere with bright lights creating a warm hue, exposed brick walls giving it a rustic look, and comfortable leather chairs. The inclusion of a chandelier near the stairs gives some class to the venue.
The wait staff was very attentive during our visit, and the provision of wet towels on the table was a nice gesture.
The drink menu was amazing, with a vast variety of Japanese sake (which ranged from $6.50 to $13 for 100mL) and Japanese whisky (which ranged from $10 to $17 for a glass). They even have some different types of soda drinks that we have not seen in other Japanese restaurants. The drinks menu is really worth checking out.
One thing to note is that the bottle of soy sauce provided on the table contained very thick soy sauce, which gave the food a more robust flavour. This was a nice touch.
Assorted Sashimi $22.80
This contained salmon, tuna, kingfish and scallop sashimi. All the sashimi was fresh and sweet.
Dragon Roll $10.80
A lightly seared eel inside out roll with cream cheese, cucumber and avocado. The rice was cooked perfectly, and the eel did not contain any fishy taste. A nice dish.
Scallop and Ebi Fry $9.80
A lightly seared scallop inside out roll with ebi fry and cucumber. The ebi fry (prawns) were crispy, with very subtle scallop taste. The added sesame gave this dish a touch of depth in flavour. Very enjoyable.
Eihire (dried sting ray fin) $7
Nicely flavoured but a little bit tough, this is the perfect dish to devour while downing a few beers or sakes. The mayo was a nice little touch.
Grilled squid $12
The squid was soft and tender, and yet it had the nice smoky tarry taste from the grill. Another perfect dish to accompany some nice Japanese beer.
The yakitori skewers are their speciality and we tried a few different types. Apparently all the chicken used in the yakitori are from local farms which makes them fresh and tasty.
The Mushroom ($4.50) had two mushrooms stuffed with chicken meat, and it had a nice Asian flavour going for it.
The Nankotsu (chicken cartilage) ($3.50) was nice and crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside. Some chicken meat seem to have been intentionally left on the cartilage for customers to taste the chicken flavour.
The Sasami (chicken breast) and Momo (dark chicken meat) ($3.50 each) provided a contrast in taste and texture. Greg liked the Momo as he found it tender and flavoursome, while Jono found it too peppery. However, Jono liked the Sasami as he could taste the natural real chicken flavour from it, but Greg found it a bit too dry.
We also had a number of other skewers.
The Wagyu Beef ($7.50) was soft, tender and tasty. It was simply divine!
The Butabara Pork ($3.50) had the right amount of fat, making it soft and tender, which contrasted well with the crunchiness of the spring onion. Furthermore, the saltiness of the pork, with the spiciness of the sauce, and the sweetness from the onion created an explosion of flavours in our mouths.
The Quail Egg ($3) had the smokiness of the grill and when mixed with the sauce, it just oozed through our mouth.
The Rice Cake Maki ($3.50) divided our opinions. Greg enjoyed it, as it was full of flavour with the outside being crunchy and inside being soft. However, Jono was disappointed with this dish, as the flavour from the sauce was too strong, making it taste like some sticky fat filled with sauce.
Overall, we loved this place, and we will be back on a regular basis. The drinks are special, the food is great, and the vibe is friendly and relaxed. This is the perfect place to wind up after work and chat with your friends or colleagues.
Address: Shop B1, 35-39 Liverpool Street (corner of Liverpool and Dixon Street), Sydney
Phone: (02) 9261 3011
Opening hours: Mon to Fri and Sun 11:30am to 11:30pm, Sat 5pm til late
Accepts MasterCard and Visa only for bills over $30