I have a confession to make. When En Izakaya debuted with 3 stars in Cheap Eats this year I didn't understand what the fuss was all about, but that was because I thought it was a different place on Carlisle Street. Some foodie local I am - woops!
Clearly I am the only person that didn't know the location, because rocking up late on a Wednesday night without a booking was a little naive. It was packed. But the waiter had the good grace not to roll his eyes at me and instead took my number, shooed us out the door for a drink down the road and promised to call me within 30 minutes. And he kept his word.
As he showed us to our table I didn't know where to look. The dishes listed on the specials board grabbed my attention first. Then there were the celebs from various rock'n'roll quiz shows at different tables. But what I couldn't stop staring at were all the drunk people! Everyone seemed to be smashed. On a Wednesday! Totally rock'n'roll and completely understandable when consuming sake.
Miso soup with pork belly for $4 was a great start. We followed this up with a spinner crab omelette with shiitake, shimeji and field mushrooms. The dish was a little cold to be honest, but we were hungry by this stage and I couldn't wait. The egg was fluffy and the different mushrooms did add to the layers of flavour.
And it's rowdy! People are eating and drinking and being merry and taking their time; because you have to. Some of these dishes take a while to prepare and it's for this reason there is a good chance you'll have two drinks under your belt before having eaten and then you'll seem drunk to new arrivals.