The BEST Izakaya in Tokyo!
If you are thinking of coming to Tokyo – Spending a night here is A MUST!
Bakawarai Junsui (Translated as Laughing Idiot) has been high on our to-do-list as soon as we booked our flights! This is our beloved youtubers favourite restaurant and we’ve heard them fall absolutely in love with this place so we just had to go!
From the outside Bakawarai is very unassuming but you’ll soon fall deeply in love with this restaurant!
What is an Izakaya? An Izakaya is a Japanese informal bar or pub generally open until very late at night. Most are very small in size and only have a few staff. It’s a very intimate experience between the chef and the customers. Many Izakaya’s only have limited seats so most will charge you a seating fee, however, you will usually be served a little snack or appetizer to cover this cost. This is called Otoshi. Every Otoshi is different!
At Bakawarai our Otoshi was very special. Shirako 白子 is a specialty dish in Japan and can be hard to find. It was served with a delicious Ponzu sauce. Shirako is buttery, smooth and does not have a strong fishy taste. Hold onto your socks… we ate fish sperm sack!! Shirako or Milt as you may know it is served raw and this one had a crushed citrus and soy blended sauce. It was much better than I imagined! I am so glad we tried this and now we have a fantastic story to tell.
The menu at Bakawarai is all in handwritten Japanese which made it difficult for us to read, however, the Chefs and Owner (Yuta is so amazing! We love him!) are more than happy to recommend their favourite dishes! My favourite and most used phrase in Japan was “Osusume wa nan desuka?” What do you recommend? This opened so many (metaphorical) doors for us!! After telling the chefs we eat anything please surprise us they brought us the first dish. The freshest sashimi platter which included Bonito, Tako (Octopus), Swordfish, Uni (Sea Urchin) and Chutoro (Tuna Belly). Our favourite was definitely the Uni! I have never had such sweet and soft Uni before!
Next up we had a delicious light Kitsune (Seasoned fried Tofu) and Shirasu (Whitebait) salad. I was really surprised by how much I liked Shirasu. This was another first for me! I could eat this salad every day.
At this point of the night Tom and I had befriended an older gentleman who was a bit of a Sake aficionado! We asked if he would recommend a Sake for us. His recommendation was beautiful. It was light and sweet with little to no alcohol burn or after taste. (Shuhari Sawaya Matsumoto.) We had this served chilled. We talked with the gentleman more and discovered he use to play in an orchestra many years ago and travelled to Australia many times! How fantastic is that??
Next we ordered an Omelette which came with slow cooked pork and cheese! Yuta called for Tom to come around the counter and help flip our Omelette! Everyone was yelling and cheering Tom on!! EEEHHH! It was so much fun! I don’t know what sort of magic they added to this dish but it was hands down the best bloody Omelette ever! I’m drooling just thinking about it…
In Japan I really enjoyed the Lemon Sours which are extremely popular over there. It’s so refreshing after a hot day! Our friend, the Sake Master, told me that if I like the Lemon Sours I had to try the Hebesu Sours that was popular at Bakawarai. I hadn’t heard of Hebesu before but it’s a Japanese citrus fruit. It tasted almost a little pickled! This was my new favourite drink in Japan, alas, it was hard to find outside of Bakawarai!
Bakawarai was bumping at this point of the night! All the seats had been taken and some people were willing to stand but everyone was having a fantastic night! We decided we really needed to try the Yakisoba! If you haven’t tried fresh Yakisoba then you need to get onto it! It’s a saucy stir-fried soba noodle dish. This one was served with a perfectly cooked egg on top that we then flipped over and broke up through the noodles so the egg yolk soaked through. YUM!! We weren’t disappointed by any of the dishes we ate…
At Bakawarai you’ll notice they hang cure bacon from the ceiling! Please don’t forget to ask for one of these sticky sweet pieces of heaven with a tiny touch of spice!
Our new friend the Sake Master sadly left for the night, but we quickly made friends with the next gentleman that sat down next to us! He also gave us great recommendations as he was a friend of the owners! We ended the night with a scrumptious pork sausage and later a serving of pickled spicy cucumbers (flavoured cucumbers are a popular side dish in Japan. It’s great to have along side fatty foods).
We can’t wait until we go back again! I wish we had done this sooner in our trip so we could have gone over and over again!!
The address is 1-10-22 Kichijoji Kitamachi, Musashino 180-0001, Tokyo. If you call and make a reservation, they’ll leave an egg on your spot, and then cook with that egg. Their number is 0422-20-3550. Opening hours 5.30pm - 12pm. They are not open on Thursdays!
We arrived just after they opened and were their first customers because we didn’t want to risk not getting a counter seat but weren’t sure what time we would get to Bakawarai!