Hibiki: Upscale Japanese Chain Izakaya Bar in Shinagawa, Tokyo!
Today I would like to share my dining experience at Hibiki, an upscale chain izakaya bar managed by Dynac Corporation, a subsidiary of Suntory. There are several branches of Hibiki in Tokyo, and I had the chance to visit the Shinagawa branch last Monday.
The restaurant is located within few minutes walking distance from Shinagawa Station Takanawa Gate. As I walked in to the restaurant, I could feel the high-end atmosphere from its sophisticated decoration. Decorated in natural color, with sophisticated furniture and bamboo accents, the restaurant offers calming and warm atmosphere. Counter seating, table seating, semi-private rooms, and Japanese tatami rooms are available for reservations, but you will be charged for extra fee for the tatami rooms.
Compare to other chain izakaya bars, Hibiki offers not just high quality foods and drinks, but also better service as well. The restaurant serves exquisite seasonal Japanese cuisines using organic seasonal ingredients taken directly from the local markets and farms. The restaurant also offers great collection of alcoholic drinks manufactured by Suntory, including the Hibiki 21 year whisky, which is very rare.
I ordered the “San” course, the basic dinner course consisting eight small dishes and a portion of sweet dessert.
The first small dish that I had was the cold tofu with pickled cucumber and onion topping. The tofu was very soft, and the pickles were not too sour or salty.
The second small dish was boiled Kikuna and Bamboo Shoot, served and seasoned in Tosa (Kochi Prefecture) style.
The third small dish was the red snapper and squid sashimi. The sashimi was very fresh, and the fresh wasabi was very strong.
I also had the chance to try the steamed pork and cabbage, which used organic ingredients taken directly from Hayashi Farm in Gunma. The pork melted right away after it got into my mouth, and the cabbage tasted very sweet as well.
The fifth dish served was grilled trout and onion. The trout was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and the onion tasted very sweet.
I also had the asparagus tempura, the seasonal dish in Spring.
The inaniwa udon was served cold, and tasted very good as well.
I had Annin Doufu for the dessert, which is made from Hokkaido’s milk, served with peach sauce.
In addition to the food, I also tried Japanese sake Taka and Kakuemon. The first sake, Taka tasted dry, but had very smooth after taste and mild fragrance, very easy to drink. On the other hand, the second sake, Kakuemon, tasted a little bit creamy, with stronger after taste and had strong fragrance, a little bit difficult to drink for sake newbies.
Overall, Hibiki offers not just better food and drinks, but also better service compare to other chain Izakaya bars. The price of the food and the drinks is more expensive, but worth it.