Izakaya started out as sake shops where you could stay to drink have some small snacks along with your drink. The translation of it is ‘sake shop to stay’ and is sometimes also called ‘Akachouchin’ meaning red lantern’, because of the typical red lantern hanging at the front.
At an Izakaya you can order many smaller and also some main-style dishes, which you can share, but also have for yourself. These dishes are served as they are ready and the order in which you order food is up to you as there are no starter, main and desserts. The dishes are consumed with light alcoholic drinks like beer, wine and Japanese cocktails, chuuhai, or for hardier guests by sake and Japanese whisky.
Ideally, an Izakaya should have something for everyone. to fulfil that purpose, the head chef, Haidong, has carefully prepared his menu to cater for all tastes and needs. It is certainly more than sushi. We have dishes like grilled fish, prawn tempura, miso black cod, yakitori, spicy miso chicken and many vegetarian dishes and noodles.
Itabashi is a district in Tokyo where the chef owner, Haidong, went to university and coincidentally also met his wife. It bears many good memories for him and is the place where he learnt to love Izakaya.
Itabashi means ‘wooden bridge’ in Japanese and is given the name after a bridge, that sadly no longer exists, covering Shakujii River (shown in the image). The history of it dates back to the Heisan Perion (794 – 1185). Although the modern world has had its influences, Itabashi has preserved some of its old flair with a market street filled with small independent shops and stalls that offer affordable traditional goods like Senbei (Japanese rice crackers), Yutaka (is a Japanese garment, a casual summer Kimono), Kimonos, second-hand book stores, bento-shops and more. Itabashi is filled with Izakayas, casual eating and drinking place, where there is a tradition of Japanese people meet after work.
Chef/owner Haidong has more than twenty years experience of Japanese cuisine. After studying Japanese in Seoul and living in Itabashi, Tokyo for a year, he started a part time position as a sushi-apprentice and has never looked back. His passion for Japanese food has led him to work in places such as Nobu and Zuma. In 2008, he opened his own successful restaurant Kappa in Earl’s Court.
Ultimately his dream was to open an Izakaya-style restaurant closer to his home and is very excited to have the opportunity to do so, here at Itabashi. He is passionate about offering the best and freshest sushi and sashimi to his customers. He is as equally excited to bring many other traditional Japanese dishes beyond sushi to Teddington.