It’s been 3 years since a piece of Japan opened a step from the Gran Vía Madrid in the form of izakaya, or translated into English, Japanese tavern. Although this fantastic place already has a certain experience in the capital, it does not cease to surprise us, and there is always a good excuse to visit, although we recommend not going with only sushi in mind, as the Hattori (and Japan) have much more to offer.
When passing through the curtains that cover the entrance, we move to the traditional taverns of the Japanese country and inside we find a manhoru, which are the famous Japanese sewers that do not go unnoticed as authentic works of art. The restaurant is full of details, including the way you sit at a table sunken to the height of the ground, so that we almost sit on the same level as the floor. Although, these tables are adapted to the Western public and have a space below so we don’t have to sit on our knees. As we have not only come to see, but also to eat, we sat down and got to it, starting with some classic soy pods called edamame and a mugicha, a cold barley tea that would accompany us for the rest of the meal.
To start with, we tasted some fantastic crispy toasted rice and tapioca with slices of tuna belly, mango chutney and sour lycopene snow that we devour in two fantastic bites. To finish, some wonderful Hokkaido scallops cured in kombu seaweed with Dutch of mentaiko – Pollock Roe- and kombu tsukudani, with a spicy touch but a fantastic Dutch contrast that creates a game of explosive textures in the mouth. Then we tried a Japanese classic that you eat in the street, the octopus takoyaki, some fried wheat dumplings that can be filled with various foods, however the octopus is the most classic.
Before we go to dessert, we end up with a dish that, for now isn’t on the menu, but sure it will become among the most requested, the Korean crab lasagna with fried and wild rice, which combines different textures and has a really exotic flavor. And to finish with exoticism, the best dessert, the okinawa, curry fruit gelato, coconut foam, yuzu ice cream, coconut sponge and kaffir lime gelato, has sensational taste and presentation that does not disappoint as a final point for this trip through Japan beyond sushi.
Calle Mesonero Romanos, 17, Madrid
Hours: Sunday to Thursday: 1:30pm to midnight / Friday and Saturday: 1:30pm to 1am
Average price: 10-15€
Text and photos: Diego Díez