Blow-torched mackerel at Fin Izakaya

It’s only very recently that I’ve checked Fin Izakaya out and to be honest, though it had solid food with a couple high notes, I wasn’t wowed on my first visit. But by the end of a second, most excellent, visit to Fin, it had secured a place on my mental “places to eat” list. Best of all, seating and personal space isn’t an issue at this restaurant!

Done up in warm-coloured varnished woods, this spacious restaurant overlooks a busy Eglinton Road. While I can’t say the decor is as well put-together as Guu’s, it’s still quite a relaxed vibe. And the food? Well, here are some of the highlights!

Katsuo No Tataki – Seared bonito tuna with crunchy garlic served with ponzu sauce. Not a re-order for moi. Interesting though.

Pork Belly Kushiyaki – Six skewers the first time we had this. Six. I had two. You do the math. Love that delicious meat + fire + fat + sake/soju taste.

Saba Aburi – blowtorched marinated mackerel served with ponzu sauce. We’ve ordered this twice now. Good stuff.

Amaebi Karaage – this fried shrimp was tasty – try to not let it get cold. Mine had lovely roe for that extra crunch too!

Takoyaki – I think this was the best version I’ve had in the city. Really reminded me of eating in Osaka. The shell is soft, which I prefer. Guu’s is very hard in comparison. A definite re-order for me next time. Caveat: I was last in Japan over eight years ago now. My taste-memory isn’t that good.

Wholey Holy Garlic! – whole deep-fried garlic with chef’s miso mayo sauce. Given that I love me some garlic, I enjoyed this one a lot. The miso sauce however, was surprisingly good – spicy and fruity. Worth a try, I think.

Kamo-no Shichimi-yaki – Grilled duck breast seasoned with rock salt and Japanese shichimi pepper. Good enough to order again during our second visit. This hot plate sizzles when it hits the table and I love the toasty mushroom and onion bits that get stuck to the iron.

My Seisen Amanoto was served in a glass within a masu cup. I was quite happy to see this. I love drinking from masu cups! The smell of cedar and alcohol brings back good memories. I should have started with this, rather than the foo-foo drink. The cocktails aren’t as well executed here as they are at Guu, so I’d suggest going sake all the way!

Now, not all our dishes were outstanding, but they were solid, and my second meal at Fin was certainly more memorable than the first. During my post-eating research, it’s interesting to see how significantly their menu has changed since they opened over a year ago – from a candy-coloured card, to a more staid look. I read about some consistency issues with the offerings at Fin, but for now, it wins a spot on my regular eat-list.

More at Fin Izakaya

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157624240463274″]