A discovery made by a neighbourhood dining partner who understands that dining should mean food and drink in unequal measures, Ichiren proved to be a competent restaurant serving adequate Korean BBQ supplemented by somewhat mediocre side dishes, and supported by a 3-hour all-you-can-drink plan that, quite frankly, was quite excellent.
We paid a visit to the Shinjuku restaurant, not far from Segafredo and Tsunahachi on the East Exit side, although there are other outposts in Shibuya, Shinbashi and Chiba.
The interior and service screamed “budget chain restaurant,” but overall the set meal we ordered proved to be better than one would have guessed.
Although we went for meat option, the collagen nabe seemed to be extremely popular, especially among the many young ladies frequenting the place.
An appetizer of kimuchi and moyashi (bean sprouts) started the meal – a little dainty but good enough. Salmon carpaccio with fried garlic improved the outlook, as did a bowl full of lightly drizzled green salad.
A couple of risible prawn crackers topped with a shrimp and oodles of sickly-sweet mayo let the show down considerably, but this was soon forgotten once the pork arrived. Fried on the usual metal griddle, with garlic and kimuchi, it was tasty, but would have benefitted from being thicker cut such as that at of some of Shin-Okubo’s better Korean restaurants.
The bibimba was not as expected, but filled the corners. The dessert was unnecessary.
Not a bad destination for dinner and gallons of booze. If that’s your thing…
While on the subject, Maki-san’s recent Korean discovery looks very tempting.