Tucked away in a shophouse at the end of Soi Ratchakru, Ryoma Izakaya is owned by the same people as Brugge Beer Café sat next door. The décor is nothing much to get excited about: the cooks are noisily at work in the open kitchen behind the bar while you get to sit on plastic crates with some Japanese posters to offer that authentic izakaya touch. Still the homey and steamy place proves popular on weekdays with hordes of office workers who come here after work to sample the limited range of tapas-sized dishes. These include classic Japanese drinking snacks like the muek wasabi (raw octopus, B78) which has a pretty intense flavor courtesy of the rich sauce—a good thing as it manages to conceal the not-so-fresh octopus. There’s also room on the menu for that old favorite kimchi (B48), which can sometimes be amazing but here is quite a pedestrian affair—a bit too pale, no fermented aromas, too sweet and tasting very mass-produced. However, what probably are worth returning for are the decently cooked meat dishes. The see krong (stir-fried ribs with sauce, B158) is a pleasant dish and the fried chicken (B88) is nice and tangy thanks to a good marinade. The chicken tastes fresh and tender and has a suitably crispy exterior. The nuea wasabi (beef topped with wasabi sauce, B158) is less impressive and might not use the best quality beef, still it’s passable especially when enjoyed along with lots of sake. And for those who feel duty bound to include some vegetables in their meal, we find the simple stir-fried cabbage with anchovy (B98) to be enjoyable and well-balanced. Overall, the place doesn’t match our original expectations but we understand why it’s so successful in an area like Ari. With high-end neighbors like Pla Dib or Salt, people don’t exactly have a lot of choice when it comes to casual dining venues where the prices and pretensions are at a more realistic level. While its food can be below-par, Ryoma Izakaya does at least ticks both those boxes.
|Address:||Ryoma Izakaya, 2 Paholyothin Soi 5, Bangkok, Thailand|
|Price Range:||B - BB|
|Open since:||January, 2013|
|Opening hours:||Tue-Sun 4-11pm|
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