This past weekend, we got to celebrate this guy…
My very own personal little dream come true, built-exactly-according-to-spec hubby. And it was a FULL day of celebration from the beachy morning, a lunch, cake ‘n tea, right down to a very taste bud satisfying dinner at one of Cape Town’s little hidden gems, Izakaya Matsuri!
Birthday boy had a major sushi craving that needed tending to, so I was on a hunt for some authentic Japanese cuisine. Izakaya Matsuri had been on my list since last year, so I thought it was a perfect time to go sample their wares.
Babysitter securement was a bit up in the air, but my lovely mom-in-law was willing…Anxious. Very very anxious, but willing none the less. Props and love to her, for that alone. So, after experiencing a bit of a major babysitter malfunction, right before we were supposed to leave, we ran a bit late… I was pleased however, that birthday boy is truly starting to develop his zen about running late in his old age 😉
To help with my zen, however, the good (and rather telepathic)friends that we have, had already ordered a bottle of Graham Beck wine! So I could walk straight into a most-welcomed glass of white wine.
Now, I wasn’t kidding about Izakaya Matsuri being a hidden gem, in that it truly is tucked away, and you would never really find it, lest you knew about it! That’s what I’m here for – so keep reading!😉 However, for those in the know, it is actually quite trendy – apparently, even a few “local celebrities” enjoy the occasional meal here.
It’s a quaint but charming restaurant with soft lighting and just enough oriental touches to create a beautiful ambiance for the evening.
The kitchen is open plan and part of the restaurant, so you can enjoy watching Master chef, Arata Koga(previous sushi master of Tank), whip up your well-presented food in a cool, no frills way. The tastes however, are NOT no-frills in way, shape or form! Hells, no!
After warming up with wine and some Kirin Ichiban beer (which hubby gave the two thumbs up) we kicked off with some starters.
I went for the three dish Zen Sai Platter (R48). On that particular evening, the three dishes were Brinjal, Yellow tail tempura and Yege Kaki- age ( which is another kind of tempura). All three were very enjoyable and had a distinct flavour about them- even the brinjal was divine!!And I am NOT a brinjal fan! I gobbled it up pretty unceremoniously and with great gusto.
Mike was really happy with his Yakitori grilled chicken skewer, as were the guys who ordered the Crispy bang-bang prawns. In fact, the starters essentially left happy faces all round our table.
Next up, we ordered what we came for: sushi – in all its fresh and flavourful divinity! Mikey and I ordered the Crazy girl roll (10 pieces at R82), Eel dragon roll ( 8 pieces at R110) and the Aburi Salmon roll( 8 pieces at R130). Crazy girl was really good, as tempura sushi rarely disappoints me. The Eel dragon was also enjoyable, however, the Aburi Salmon roll seemed to get both hubby’s and my eyebrows raising in pure enjoyment. We were both just bummed that we couldn’t finish our platter of heaven, as it seemed like such a waste of excellent sushi!
Everyone around the table was very pleased with what they had ordered, which is a big deal, as we had some sushi snobs in our midsts who would never just give their nod of approval so willy-nilly. Now to top off their fine wares, Izakaya Matsuri have brilliant service to match! Our waitron, Desmond, was nothing less than sharp! He was fast, friendly, funny, knowledgeable about the menu, and could make recommendations that you feel you could totally trust. (I mean, the dude could even give me tips on how to play with the light of my camera! Huh?! That’s a win, if ever!)
To end off the evening, what would a dinner be without dessert, right? And more importantly, what would a birthday dinner be without some candles and singing?! Nothing, if you asked me! So the ever-resourceful Desmond made a plan for me on the sly, and organized an ice-cream “buffet” for the birthday boy. Very cool of them – thanks Izakaya Matsuri!!
We were all kind of struggling to make space for full blown dessert, so birthday boy was kind enough to share his “three kinds of ice-cream” dessert with us. The reviews around the table were pretty mixed, though. The deep fried ice-cream was a hit with everyone, however the green-tea one only won over 50% of the table. The green tea flavour is clear and strong, and I thought it was interesting. The wasabi and black sesame ice-cream however, only managed to win over two of us at the table. I loved it. Then again, I seriously enjoyed all three flavours. Maybe Im a bit of nut when it comes to tastes, but I have come to expect an exotic flavour at oriental eateries, as opposed to traditional flavours we’re all so used to.
So, in order of my personal favourites, I would recommend first the deep fried ice-cream, especially for the more conservative tastebud. Then wasabi and black sesame, especially if you’re looking for something different. (Beware, though, there’s a slight bite.) And then lastly the green tea, which is really not bad at all. Or better yet, just order all three for yourself, and form your own opinion! 😉 Would love to hear it!
What you need to know:
Tel: 021 4214520
Website: Izakaya Matsuri
- Address: Shop 6, The Rockwell, 32 Prestwich Street, Greenpoint, Cape Town,South Africa
Open hours: 11:30 AM to 3 PM, 5 PM to 10 PM
Directions: So to uncover this hidden gem, once you’re in prestwich Street, with the Rockwell Center on your left, you can park in the street and enter through the Rockwell Hotel lobby.Walk straight through to the back where you will find yourself in a small courtyard. As you step outside in this courtyard, turn to your left, and there you are: Hidden gem, uncovered. Boom.
What’s good to note, is that even with their awesome service and great japanese cuisine, their prices are still quite reasonable. They even offer corkage (R40).
What’s the most important to me, though, is that birthday boy was pleased. Even though both he and I were thoroughly spent and tired from our full day, we were blessed with beautiful weather that evening, spent with good friends, enjoying superb sushi. As he said, he’s “enjoying his advanced years” quite so!
Speaking of good weather, they also have outdoor dining options, which Im sure would be wonderful during summer!
Now, do yourself a favour, and go check them out. There is nothing disappointing about Izakaya Matsuri. And even if you’re not feeling like going out for a sit-down meal, they have a take-away menu! So why not give them a call today to find out more.
Just dooooo-eeet!! x