I’d like to declare with open arms and trumpets blaring, that this is hands down my favourite izakaya. It ticks all the boxes: great location, fantastic atmosphere, cosy but with great seating arrangements. If you’re early, you get seated at the bar where most of the action happens, right in front of the chefs. You get your choice of booth or table seats as well, and for people watchers like me, the outdoor wooden ledges are perfect.
Of course, I haven’t exactly tried all the izakayas around town so there isn’t a basis for giving this the gold medal, but we got this recommendation from reading an article on CNN and it was by far one of the most memorable. What makes Warayakiya so alluring is its method of grilling fresh fish and meats over flames from burning straw. That’s pretty significant since straw burns at much higher temperatures than coal, perfect for searing meats whilst keeping everything else inside juicy. It’s particularly genius especially when used on fish.
Thus, the brilliance of this technique is best experienced in the seared fresh bonito with wasabi mustard & salt. At ¥1,280 (SGD 16), it’s not a cheap dish to enjoy throughout the night. And you will want to have heapings of this dish despite the frowns you’d get from the uber polite Japanese folk. But you wouldn’t care because this is supremely superb and your ramblings of English when ordering would have given you away as a tourist here to enjoy the best of Tokyo’s watering holes for salarymen.
We also had the Tosa red beef, ¥3,800 (SGD 47, yeowzers) and Tosa Hachikin chicken breast (¥1,280), but none of them compared to the seared bonito. The straw-burning technique comes from the Kōchi prefecture, where Tosa is a district and where the term “hachikin” has its origins in the strength of Tosa women. Speciality dishes aside, there are plenty of other vegetable and simple pieces on this menu of some thirty dishes to complete that perfect night out.
Warayakiya Roppongi Tokyo
6-8-8 Roppongi, Minato-ku
+81 (0) 3 5410 5560
5 p.m.-5 a.m Monday-Saturday
5-11 p.m. Sunday and holidays