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.




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.


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.


Grilled Tuna Jaw

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


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.


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.



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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