Proximity to star power can only take you so far. Among the more hyped of the recent spate of restaurant and bar openings on Club Street is Izy by Tokyonative chef Kazumasa Yazawa, who’s banking on his pedigree at celebrated chef Tetsuya Wakada’s restaurants Waku Ghin and Tetsuya to draw in diners. The restaurant’s name hints at the establishment’s Japanese izakaya leanings, aiming to deliver a CBD-area spot for after-work small bites and drinks, though Yazawa achieves it only with limited success.
Most of the restaurant’s 24 seats are at the kitchen counter, allowing for a close-up view of the food preparation. While chef Yazawa strikes a commanding presence, calling out orders and assembling plates at a quick clip, it was evident his team has yet to feel fully comfortable with the open kitchen design – a bit of a more welcoming manner overall would have put us at ease.
The omakase experience ($150/ person) requires every member in your party to buy in to, but as all the dishes in the set can be found on the menu, we suggest ordering à la carte. Still, few dishes are actually worth it – among the better ones are the foie gras ($38) and chicken karaage ($24), though both of these came in small portions at high prices. The foie, marinated in a white miso and lime balsamic sauce, was topped with spring onions – an inspired move. The chicken karaage (all four pieces) was also well-executed, served with lashings of balsamic mayonnaise and sporting the right amount of crunch and juiciness in each bite.
Other dishes on Izy’s simple menu feature pricey ingredients and a bit of innovation on the plate, which resulted in a few unfortunate flavour combinations. The classic chawanmushi ($16), with standard salmon roe and steamed egg, saw the unwelcomed addition of a bitter-tinged yuzu. Likewise, it’s hard not to impress with a piece of highest grade A5 Ohmi Wagyu ($75/120g), but Chef Yazawa’s take squandered the opportunity to wow us, without a proper crust from the Josper grill. Even worse, the generous shavings of French winter black truffles on top were rendered tasteless with a topping of raw shallots – an absolute travesty.
Even with the recommended six dishes shared between two people, we didn’t feel completely full. Given the premium prices, it’s hard to forgive the pitfalls of the meal. The restaurant’s poor ventilation also meant we were bathed in deep fryer fumes during our meal, and the soundtrack of progressive house, trance and Top 40 hits cheapened the experience. We’re sure that Chef Yazawa is capable of greatness on his own, but Izy has a long way to go before it can be mentioned with the likes of Waku Ghin and Tetsuya.
27 Club Street
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 4pm-1am|
|Do you own this business?|