Zakkushi on Queen West is the latest addition to the popular izakaya chain. Following on the success of their first Carlton location, this new restaurant aims to be the go-to spot for izakaya fans on the city's west side.
There's a certain coziness about the space, which itself only holds approximately 40-something seats. But the whole ambience is familial and pleasant—though unfortunately you can't make reservations here.
The Zakkushi restaurants are best known for their yakitoris which are grilled in an open kitchen at the back.
The restaurant uses premium binchotan charcoal which minimizes the bitter burnt taste you get from most other grills. This results in a much cleaner taste that retains the original flavours of the meats.
The Premium Yakitori Set ($26.80) is undoubtedly the premier offering. Featuring a selection of wagyu beef, teriyaki wagyu, premium pork, duck breast, and free range chicken with sea salt, it is nirvana for the discerning carnivore.
The Zakkushi Set ($12.80) is a more exciting option. With chicken thigh, oropon beef, garlic stubs with pork, and crunchy pork belly, I find it to be a more well-rounded set.
The garlic stubs, in particular, are exceptionally delicious and unique: a great combination of veggies and meat in a small skewer.
It's not all about skewers though. The Mentai Carbonara Udon ($11) is a rich and umami pasta featuring thick udon in a fantastic cod roe and cream sauce.
The Teppan Gyoza ($8.90) is also worth an order. The fried pork dumplings come served on a hot plate with sweet-salty sauce.
The yakitori options here also extend to vegetables, with my favourite being the Eringi ($3.30 each) with king oyster mushrooms, soy sauce and butter. The Tomato and Zucchini options ($2.20 each) aren't bad either.
And don't forget the yakitori seafood selection too. The decadent Giant Scallop skewers ($9.50 each) come marinated in soy sauce and butter.
The Garlic Prawn ($3.80 each) is served with garlic butter, while the Shishamo Fish ($2.90 each) is grilled with all of its fish roe intact and served with a side of spicy mayonnaise.
The Honey Satsuma ($6), Zakkushi's version of sweet potato fries, are served with honey and butter.
They also do an Assorted Sashimi Platter ($19.50). My selection featured albacore tuna, salmon and amberjack.
For dessert, the Dorayaki Matcha ($5) is a nice mix of matcha ice cream and red bean dorayaki pancakes.
The Kuro Goma Brulee ($6) is a unique black sesame creme brulee that I wish was served at more Japanese restaurants.
As an izakaya, Zakkushi has many Japanese drinks available. The Okunomatsu Sake ($21.50 for 100 ml) is a nice and smooth sake with a light hint of coconut and vanilla.