Izakayas in Japan are known as a casual hangout spot to go to after work for some food and drinks, which means they usually serve alcohol along with their tapas-styled food. However, in Hararu Izakaya, you'll still be able to enjoy that "tatami bar" setting with your family and friends, halal style!
The restaurant is nicely decorated to bring out as much of the Japanese "feel" into your dining experience. One of my favourite thing about this place is the fanciful artwork all around the restaurant. I especially loved this painting of a geisha in the private booth area right next to the bar. I would recommend you to call up and make a booking in advance if you would like to be seated here. Mind you, we came here on a Monday evening and the place was packed!
The wall just above the bar has huge Japanese characters painted in elegant calligraphy that translates to "Allah".
Hararu Izakaya's bar is locked and loaded with all the ingredients needed to serve you the perfect mocktail and dealcoholised wine to pair with your dinner to come.
We started with the Cucumber Yuzu Fizz. ($12). A very refreshing drink that will instantly cool you down. I loved this drink the most as the cucumber added to the "coolness" of the drink, while the yuzu gave a slight sour hint.
If you are looking for something fruity and a little more unique, give the Rock Melon Milkshake ($10) a try. However, I personally found this a little too milky for my liking.
We were feeling adventerous and decided to try the Matcha Egg ($14). Did you know that egg whites are added into most cocktail mixtures to give it a smoother and silkier texture?
The same was done with this drink and boy, was it something interesting. I didn't really taste much of the matcha but there were some sour hints in this drink that I particularly liked. Definitely something I would see myself drinking again.
Can you ever go wrong with fried chicken? Never, I say! The Tori Karaage ($8) was freshly fried and had a nice crunch to it. This dish came with three different sauces -- (top left to bottom) wasabi mayo, Japanese tartar and mango mayo -- which I thought was something different compared to most tori karaage you'd get out there with just plain ol' mayo. I though the Japanese tartar was the best among the lot.
This is one of my favourite dishes here. The Surume Ika ($17) was grilled to a perfection. It was so soft and easy to bite into. Sprinkling the course salt and squeezing the lemon over the squid really helped to bring out the flavours.
Another must try dish in my books! The Gyu Kitsuke ($18) was so tender and from what I was told, the beef has been stewed for eight hours long! The sauce was so flavourful and you can definitely tell that a lot of love has been put into creating this dish.
A stir fry beef dish, the Gyuniku Nira Itame ($16) can be a little salty on its own, but I thought was very enjoyable and comforting when eaten with rice. Though I have to say, this dish didn't stand out very much compared to the Gyu Kitsuke.
Instead of having plain white rice, why not try the Unagi Fried Rice ($13) topped with pieces of delicious eel. I did find the rice quite bland, but was good to pair with the other dishes. For the price of this dish, I would rather stick to white rice to pair with the other dishes.
Dessert time! After all that sizzling and piping hot meals, I thought that it would be a great idea to cool off with some ice cream. We tried the Black Sesame (left) and Matcha (right) flavoured ice creams.
I'm typically not a fan of black sesame ice cream but I can safely say that this is one of the best ones I've had so far. I liked that it didn't have a super strong sesame flavour and wasn't too sweet. Just enough to cleanse my palate and give a good end to a nice dinner.
I personally love matcha ice cream, so I was a little biased and enjoyed this flavour a little more. But compared to other matcha ice cream out there, I wouldn't say that it stood out too much. Some red beans/Azuki beans as toppings would've made it better, in my opinion.
Overall, I quite enjoyed my night and I love how I now will readily have a decent Japanese restaurant to head to with my Muslim friends.
16 Bussorah Street
Sundays to Thursdays 12pm to 11pm (Last Order 10pm)
Fridays, Saturdays & Eve of PH 12pm to 12am (Last Order 11pm)