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Restaurant Review: Ikkaku

After four months of gorging myself on sushi, devouring okonomiyaki, and practically inhaling takoyaki, I found that I had slightly overindulged myself in my favourite Japanese dishes, both old and new. It was high time for a good meaty meal. Recommendations took me to the Brazilian place in Harbourland which quelled my appetite for a while, but excessive salting and the waiter who impersonated Donald Duck every time he carved a slice meant I wasn’t desperate to go back. No, I wanted something simple and comforting, and not deep fried.

A few weeks later I was introduced to Ikkaku in Marugame, Shikoku; That’s too far for dinner! I hear you cry. Well, yes it is. Luckily for me and any other poultry lovers out there, we have two branches of the small chain handily located in Osaka, one each in Umeda and Shinsaibashi.

In the Umeda branch you can rub shoulders with salary men gnawing on bones after a long day at work; it’s a relaxed joint and completely unpretentious in both atmosphere and cuisine. The menu is almost minimalist in its simplicity, although the signature chicken dish has its own separate “How to enjoy” instruction card, laminated for protection from chicken juices.

I must admit that I haven’t explored the menu further than what was recommended to me upon my first visit (locals know best right?), but if a good hunk of succulent chicken is what you’re looking for, this is the place. For less than 2000円 you can enjoy a beer, a chicken rice dish and a portion of chicken. The chicken is the main event with a simple choice between oyadori (adult chicken: tough meat) and hinadori (young chicken: soft meat). My guides explained that oyadori is an acquired taste, and you really don’t want to miss out on crispy skin and the chicken juices dribbling down your chin so go for oyadori(at least on your first visit). Thus far I haven’t been able to purchase a joint of chicken bigger than a drumstick in Japan, but at Ikkaku you get a whole leg, juicy thigh and all, still on the bone, and are actively encouraged to get stuck in with your hands (bibs provided for mucky pups).

The meat is mouthwateringly seasoned, the skin crisped to perfection, and best of all – it isn’t deep fried, Ikkaku grill the meat beautifully, keeping in all the juices without so much as a look at tempura batter. Oh the novelty! I challenge you not to drool. The rice dish complements the chicken very nicely and works well to soak up some of the juices, although the real aficionados use cabbage leaves as a scoop.

Perhaps not the best place for a first date (unless you have a penchant for paper bibs and greasy fingers) head to Ikkaku for a casual, good value meal with a big group of friends, the perfect winter warmer or hangover munchies.

http://www.ikkaku.co.jp/ (for menu and access)

Open: weekdays 17:00 – 23:00

weekends 11:00 – 23:00

Telephone:       06-4798-0817 (Umeda)

06 6213 0817 (Shinsaibashi)

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One Comment

  1. I like your writing style, and love the picture––that’s what drew me to read :)

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