There are hordes of cookie-cutter izakayas that serve up the same dishes in Tokyo, and if you want something a bit more special, you need to make a little effort to hunt down the good places.
Part of the popular Goma izakaya chain, Hachuita (means “eight lyric poems”) is a warm, cosy joint that is tucked away on a small lane in the Shoto-Kamiyama area in Shibuya.
It’s worth the hike as its carefully prepared modern Japanese fare is made from fresh ingredients but is easy on the pocket where most dishes are below 1,000JPY.
Like most fine establishments in Japan, the flavor of the meat or vegetables shine through with only a dash of herbs or sauce. Your taste buds are never overwhelmed and the tapas-style servings are perfect to linger over some excellent shouchu or sake.
Hachiuta is a lively, bustling restaurant, so it’s best to make reservations, especially on the weekend.
Since I was with a group of eight, we ordered a stream of dishes to indulge in.
A simple appetizer of fresh oysters with lemon brought the taste of the sea to our mouths.
The handmade Chinese dumplings with chopped shrimp, water chestnut and spinach were juicy and savory, which make you want to swear off all mediocre frozen ones.
The deep-fried eggplant was very tasty for a stand-alone plate of veggies.
We ordered two of the escargot-style shrimp because it was simply mouth-watering. The cute escargot dish only has six servings of garlic covered prawns, but even if you are in a small group, you may be tempted to order more of this savory sensation.
The dab of yuzu sauce makes all the difference in this generic dish of grilled chicken — it was absolutely succulent with just a hint of citrus.
This is a homey, traditional dish of braised tuna in soy sauce and lots of negi.
A little over 4,000JPY can stuff you to the brim and you’ll leave very satisfied. Hachuita has been mentioned in a few expat-friendly publications and websites so it has drawn many gaijins to its honeypot of culinary delights but there still isn’t an English menu available. The staff is comfortable to speak in English or you could simply point and choose blindly — you won’t be disappointed at all.
Address: Udagawacho 38-3
Nearest station: Shibuya JR station
Opening hours: 5 – 11pm