Discovered this lovely izakaya ensconced in a row of shophouses along Stanley Street, right in the heart of the CBD area, serving sumi-yaki (charcoal grilled food) and age-mono, with a modern twist.
Sharing the photos of the various meals we had so far, including a Halloween pig-out celebrations with my boys and nieces.
Mario Choy, the chef-partner is a RMIT-graduate designer by profession; he personally decorated the place – cosy with plenty of character. The wall painting behind is Mario’s rendition of the famous “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” woodblock print by Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hokusai, drawn with charcoal in deference to his sumi-yaki theme. Even the exterior is painted by Mario, a talent young man only 26 years of age.
The eclectic menu is also designed by Mario in manga-style, boasting an array of creative izakaya food.
The Kushiyaki assorted skewers with meat and mushrooms were perfectly grilled, nicely charred and succulent.
The Yaki Onigiri was one of the best I’d tried, moist rice lightly flavored and grilled, with the rice just evenly burnt like Cantonese clay-pot “fan chiew”.
Unusual items were the rosti with mentaiko, and the Parmesan chips with tomato and honey.
Another innovative dish is the Baked Camembert, served with crackers, and oozing pungent molten lava cheese.
The Aburi Salmon with mentiako with mayo was yummy; lightly torched salmon atop moist sushi rice.
The must-order is the Kurobuta Pork Rib marinated with Wafu sauce and sea salt; heavenly tender and tasty – the raw garlic slices, arranged as a flower, did well to balance the richness. The portion is large, so best if you have a few diners. We had left-overs that we made into a delicious pulled-pork sandwich the next day.
We were also treated by Mario to a rather unusual item: deep-fried foot of Hokkaido Scallops (the hard tissue attached to the flesh); tantalising with the spices and perfect with the Sapporo draft.
The White Bait served with yellow bell peppers was pretty but didn’t excite.
Andrew’s raison d’etre for coming here – the chilled Yuzu Inaniwa Udon; refreshingly silky and done just al dente with a tasty yuzu-infused dip.
I’m an ardent Agedashi Tofu fan; mario’s version was given an extra lift by the home-made kimichi-infused chilli paste. Clever.
The Omi Wagyu Beef was awesome; and at less than $10 per skewer to boot, don’t miss.
The Iberico Pork Collar and the Shishito Peppers were equally good.
I usually don’t order sashimi at yakitori places as the fish tend not to be as fresh as that at specialist sashimi restaurants. This place is an exception – the salmon sashimi was sold out but fortunately Mario had reserved the Salmon Belly for us.
The Tuna Salad was just as fresh, tossed with a light soy and citrus sauce and topped with a quail egg served with seaweed. So Instagramable.
Katherine noticed that Valerie (she’s still schooling at SMU) the lady who served us resembles Ariel Lin, the famous Taiwanese actress who won Best Leading Actress in a Television Series at the 43rd and 47th Golden Bell Awards, and who is also the brand ambassador of KOSE. You be the judge.
I’m happy that each time we are at ShuKuu, the place gets busier – testament to the good food, reasonable prices and great service. I love dining at places where the owner is personally there to make things tick. It’s always great to see enterprising young entrepreneurs like Mario and his partner-friends live their dream. Do try this place – I’m a fan.