From humble sushi stores built into the side of a building, to eight-course degustations at Shiki, Adelaide is full of great Japanese Restaurants and En Japanese Bar and Restaurant is one of the newest ones in town. Styled as a Japanese izakaya -- a type of bar that also sells food -- En is a casual spot you can pop in for a drink and a bite to eat, while still enjoying a classier venue.
En is part of the growing number of restaurants on Goodwood Road, and they cater to a lunch and dinner crowd. The main part of the restaurant has several tables for smaller groups and a couple of larger tables for bigger groups. With astroturf on the floor and a faux temple door leading through to the bar, the front of En is set up like a Japanese temple garden.
Style is all well and good, but it doesn't go too far if the food isn't up to scratch. Thankfully En's menu delivers a delicious feed straight from Japan. The main menu covers small plates (called entree/tapas) with a separate vegetarian section for those who don't eat meat. Familiar items like yakitori (chicken skewers) and gyoza (dumplings) are alongside cha-shu (grilled rolled pork belly with Japanese mayonnaise and spring onion) and tamago (Japanese egg omelette).
One of the highlights is the takoyaki, small crisp balls of battered and fried octopus. The balls are covered with lashings of mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce -- a tangy, slightly sweet, slightly salty sauce -- and scattered with nori, and bonito flakes.
There's grilled teriyaki salmon or chicken, tempura prawns and vegetables, and hearty Japanese curries.
Of course sushi and sashimi are still on the menu. The salmon and kingfish sashimi are both incredibly fresh and highlight quality cuts of fish. You won't find sushi rolls wrapped in nori, instead plump prawns, scallops, and slices of salmon and kingfish sit atop the hand moulded rice.
If you're more interested in sake and Sapporo, head through to the back area where you'll find a sit down bar and more intimate tables for two. This is where the real atmosphere is. Mood lighting sets the scene, while vintage beer advertisements are plastered on the walls. Day or night, it's a cool place to hang out, and reliable sources say it's as close as you'll get to a real izakaya in Japan.
Must give it a try.Nice to see Adelaide has finally got an Izakaya.I think once Ozzies get the vibe of these establishments,they will enjoy going back.For someone by themselves looking for a snack and a light bite,they are an ideal place to go.Speaking of Okonomiyaki(hardly seen in Adelaide),they are so tasty...perhaps they will be on the menu at the "en".By the way,parking is easy near these Goody eating places along nearby side streets and also just a 7 - 8 minute tram ride, from Victoria Square,in the city.