You can tell that the love of food runs in my blood since it was Mum that first introduced me to this new find. Izakaya Masuya takes its name from its sister restaurant next door, Masuya, which I’ve been to many times and never been disappointed. The smaller, more informal izakaya has an extensive menu of small dishes perfect for sharing and nibbling on with sake or a Japanese beer.
We start with one of the dishes from the daily specials menu which includes sashimi that is sourced fresh that day from the fish markets. We choose the yellowtail sashimi which includes five slices served on a bed of crushed ice with some freshly grated wasabi.
There’s a section of the menu dedicated to yakitori, so we figure the best way to try it out is to get the assorted platter. This comes with 10 skewers in total split out onto two plates. The first plate has grilled zucchini, shiitake mushrooms, pork belly and some super juicy wagyu which is my favourite of the lot.
On the second plate is two skewers each of chicken thigh and tsukune, which is a meatball made of marinated chicken mince. The yakitori are done well, with each type of skewer having its own brush of soy glaze or salt seasoning, and a nice char to the edges on the meat.
Grilled salmon belly also comes marinated with yuzu and miso. I love the fatty belly cuts of fish but they can be a little oily at times, so the tangy yuzu flavour helps cut through that. The fish is cooked through but retains its moisture, flaking away perfectly.
Miso eggplant is one of my favourite Japanese vegetable dishes so we order a serve of it. It typically comes out as half an eggplant that has been scored, cooked and topped with a layer of miso paste. At Izakaya Masuya, the eggplant is cut up into bite sized pieces, deep fried in a super light batter and drizzled with a dark miso paste. I actually prefer it this way as it makes for easier eating, and also feels less greasy than other version of this dish.
The crab and egg zousui piques our interest as it’s something we’ve never seen before on Japanese menus. The bowl contains rice with a light broth, which then has some crab meat and egg mixed through. It’s not as boiled down as congee but is a soupy, comforting bowl of rice that warms the soul.
Everything we order is delicious and also reasonably priced, with the service being attentive and food coming out quite quickly. We spy some other tables digging into a multi-course menus and other goodies like sake steamed mussels and hotpots. It makes us wish we had more stomach room to try more of the menu and definitely gives us a reason to return one day!
12-14 O’Connell St
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: +61(02) 9233 8181
Open Monday to Friday, noon-2pm and 6pm til late