“Izakaya” entered the English language by 1987. It's a compound word consisting of “i” (to stay) and “sakaya” (sake shop), indicating that izakaya originated from sake shops that allowed customers to sit on the premises to drink.
Izakayas are essentially Japanese taverns.
An Izakaya in Brighton
A good few years ago as a London chef looking for a change, I got the chance to work in Japan. I went with the aim of studying the finer arts of Japanese Kaiseki cuisine.
Working 15 hrs a day, 6 days a week for nearly 3 years, I learnt a lot about food and a lot about myself.
As a gaijin days were spent up to my elbows in shit and iced water, filleting fish, trimming vegetables and keeping my mouth shut.
After work hours were spent in the late night scene of Tokyo’s Izakayas.
My plans gradually changed.
I assembled a small crew of like-minded Izakaya fanatics, and a few visa applications later I arrived back in the UK with my new friends.
It was the start of the journey…