22 Jan Minn’s Munchtime – Izakaya Hannah
It’s not everyday you’re greeted by a red samurai with giant gold horns reading book and nursing a beer. Thus sets the tone for the memorable and original experience Izakaya Hannah aims to offer.
The restaurant is smart but cosy with warm low lighting and what my partner assures me is funky house music. The sense of humour follows through to the menu which reassures us that all their fish are caught in Cornwall and not from the SeaLife Aquarium down the road. On the menu is a decent selection of yakitori style dishes, charcoal grill, tempura, donburi, sushi and sashimi.
As we had chosen bar seats by the open kitchen, we were served directly by the two friendly chefs. First arrived the salmon maki. This had excellent rice – soft and loose textured with good flavour. The seaweed was tasty and the chive, spring onion and Japanese seven spice gave it a fresh twist. Next came the surprise of the night! A wooden chest was passed over the counter. On opening it, plumes of smoke wafted out with a gentle bonfire fragrance (which I happen to love!). This cleared to reveal rich, melt in the mouth cubes of pork belly with yuzu/soy sauce. Wonderfully dramatic and totally unexpected! Finally was sea bream with smoky sesame and chive sauce, which we ordered with Japanese rice on the side. Perfectly cooked fish, not overly charred on the charcoal grill. The chive/sesame sauce could have been a little more present, but was delicious nonetheless. Again, beautifully presented.
Service was swift and friendly. The nature of the food being quick to prepare meant no hanging around. We went on a weekday early evening and were joined by 3 other tables, one of which was a couple with a baby, so they are accommodating for families.
I thoroughly enjoyed Izakaya Hannah – from the start it displays itself as an unconventional izakaya experience with its quirky humour. Presentation is spot on and they succeed in surprising the diner with theatrical touches. Plates are on the small side for the price, but for the high quality the diner receives, I’d say the balance works out in their favour. I recommend sharing plates izakaya style, like tapas, in order to try more dishes without exceeding purse strings. This is not everyday gig food, but it is delicious and definitely worth the treat!
Rating: 8/10 Ideal for audience pre-concert or when feeling post pay-cheque extravagant.
Nearest venues: Southbank centre, The Warehouse
Receipt: 1x Slow Pork 4.50 1x Salmon 12 1x Sea Bream 12 1x Steamed Rice 3.5 1x Apple Juice 2
Service Charge 4.25
Total (for 2 people) 38.25
Izakaya Hannah, Southbank Riverside, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 7GL