1 Utama’s Ichiban Izakaya, probably too sleekly polished & spacious to resemble most folks’ impression of an izakaya; consider it a modern izakaya, maybe. There are very appealing artistic flourishes in the setting here too – look upward. As far as the ambiance goes, it’s a fine set-up for a friendly hangout.

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Skewered Pork Belly

But the kitchen still needs to step up. There might have been teething troubles when we visited – the skewered pork belly (RM12++) tasted like meat that was either past its prime or had never been in its prime.

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Grilled Eel in Buns

The thought of grilled eel in buns is tempting, but the unagi here wasn’t wholly satisfactory (reminiscent in taste & texture of budget-conscious Chinese imports that you might purchase at a store’s frozen-food section), wrapped in buns that weren’t fresh or fluffy enough – a possible consequence of the lower-than-expected RM15++ price tag for this plate.

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Grilled Tuna Jaw

Faring a bit better: Grilled tuna jaw (RM68++), commandingly meaty, adequately moist, sufficient for four to share.

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Sea Urchin Teppan Fried Rice

Sea urchin teppan fried rice (RM45++). There’s a fair amount of uni in this bowl, interspersed among the grains of rice, though this isn’t the sort of recipe where morsels of sea urchin can make a major impact. Still, it’s a decent dish; even if it ultimately & only tastes like good – not great – fried rice, we like how Ichiban has a few unique specialities.

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Kirin Frozen Beer

Ichiban’s trump card might be its widely touted Kirin frozen beer, with a foamy top that helps keep the beer cooler for longer.

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Location and Contact Details

Ichiban The Izakaya

Ground Floor, Rainforest Zone, 1 Utama, Petaling Jaya. Near HSBC.

Find: Contact details and map for Ichiban The Izakaya here. 

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