Izakaya Hikari

The hype: Izakayas should be kept simple. Comforting nosh and drink coupled with a friendly, welcoming atmosphere are all you need. And at Izakaya Hikari, that’s exactly what you’re gonna get.

The vibe: As you’d expect from an intimate, 20-seater establishment, there’s plenty of warmth and comfort here. Lights (which is what “Hikari” means in English) at the right dimness ease you in nicely, and its location on the third floor away from passersby makes you feel like you’re in your own enclave, far away from the cares of the world.

The food: A wide selection of izakaya staples (edamame, sashimi, yakitori etc.) can be found here, forming the backbone of a solid menu—the wagyu beef cube skewers ($7.90 nett), oden soup ($10.90 nett) and unagi donburi ($18.90 nett) won’t disappoint.

, Izakaya Hikari

But look closely and you’ll find less common eats as well, perfect for the more adventurous among you. The natto udon ($10.90 nett) is a case in point. The cold, sticky noodle dish is actually a favourite among regulars. Slurp up the chewy udon strands doused thick in natto and egg yolk and you just might become a fan too.

We’re big on their grilled and fried items as well. Try the normal-sounding but oh-so satisfying potato croquette, or the generously-portioned shima hokke (a grilled half mackerel so addictive you will find yourself picking at its bones), and you’ll be thoroughly gratified in no time.

The drinks: We think beverages are as important as the food at izakayas. And at Izakaya Hikari, everyone should get themselves an ice-cold mug of Sapporo draft. Sure, you can find this beer anywhere, but not the same way they serve it—smooth and creamy and tapped directly from a dedicated Sapporo beer machine.

Definitely move on to sakes as your evening progresses. You won’t get an extensive list here, but quality finds like the Dassai 45 and the Hakkaisan Tokubetsu Junmai (available in both 300ml or 720ml bottles) suffice as pairings with the umami-laden dishes here.

We especially liked their Yoshikubo Ippin Junmai Daiginjyo, a prize-winning brew, for its fruity aromas and slight sweetness. When it comes to pairing with the dishes found at this snug diner, we’d say this is the best bottle to go for.

Why you’d be back: Folks head to izakayas for familiarity and comfort, and because the people running the place know exactly that, you’ll find that Izakaya Hikari delivers on both counts in spades. It’s a formula that just works for us busy bees that need a place to be ourselves again after a hard day.