Speaking to a friend about my blog last week, he suggested that I grab a meal at Izakaya Goku sometime. So after we went to solve a locked room mystery at Fort Locks in Fortitude Valley, we headed off to dinner at Izakaya Goku. The first thing we noted was how hard it was to find parking at West End on a Friday night. We had to walk around half a kilometere before getting there. Luckily, we had made a reservation for that evening, although it did take quite a while before our table was set up.
The restaurant was rather dimly lit by lanterns throughout the store. It was a small store, so we were very glad to have booked ahead.
The menu comprised of a lot of small plates which can be shared between groups. We ordered a large selection of them.
First to arrive was the salmon sashimi, which I found to be fresh, but could have been more generous in size, given that they cost $2 per slice. I would have preferred it to be thicker cut, and the wasabi to be freshly ground though.
We had the takoyaki next. We were surprised that for $8 we were only given 5 balls. For half the price, you could get the same at Kadoya. In terms of the takoyaki itself, it tasted rather store bought, in the sense that the outside wasn't very crispy,the batter was powdery and there wasn't much octopus inside of it.
Next up came the Eggplant Dengaku. The eggplant itself was quite tender, but it didn't have much taste, and the dish was drenched in copious amounts of oil. I think would have liked it to have a bit more miso flavour to it.
The Karaage Chicken was the highlight of the meal for me. I enjoyed the juiciness of the fried chicken and the lightness of the batter. It was especially enjoyable to have piping hot chicken on a chilly night.
We ordered two sushi rolls that evening. This was the spicy tuna roll, which contained ample amounts of fresh tuna, but this was mostly overpowered by the spicy sauce. I would also have preferred the rice to be a bit more seasoned with vinegar.
I found the miso aburi salmon roll to be far more agreeable. Despite there being also quite a lot of sauce, The salmon was nicely grilled, with a portion of it remaining relatively raw. The avocado was nice and ripe, which complimented the salmon well.
In terms of the Gyoza, the opinions around our table were rather divided, My companions rather disliked it because it was very toasted on the underside, but I liked how the skin was thin, and the fillings were juicy, with a great ratio of meat to veges.
After the Gyoza, we had quite a long wait before the Pork Okonomiyaki arrived. The pork was nice and grilled, but the okonimiyaki itself was quite small for my liking. Another issue was that it stuck to the paper under which it was served. The cabbage was also a bit hard for my liking.
Overall, we were a bit disappointed with the food at Izakaya Goku, although from what we saw, the drinks were more popular with other patrons. Given that, I still think its a great place to meet up with friends and chill after a hard week.