Kenshin Izakaya (official Facebook page) stands out on Sukhumvit. Its storefront is covered in vibrant colored cartoon panels which make it look like a carnival attraction. It stirs your curiosity–it draws you in. Step inside and you’ll find yourself transported to a festive izakaya (Japanese after work bar) where they’ve got some great deals on HUGE drinks, as well as delicious and very reasonably priced bar food. This is a place to take friends after work, unwind with merriment, and not break the bank doing so.
I decided to take a good friend there on a Friday afternoon that he had off. He and I have both lived in Japan so this was a nostalgic trip for us. We spent our time hitting some of the menu highlights and challenging our livers with some rather large adult beverages. I’m happy to share the experience with you!
If we’re talking about an izakaya, we first must discuss the drinks. At Kenshin Izakaya it’s not just your liver that gets a workout. You can also give yourself a nice bicep burn with their 1 liter glasses of Asahi on draft (218 baht) or a refreshing Suntory Mega Highball (198 baht). Don’t worry, there are smaller sizes on the menu as well. I’m just focused on value, and buying in bulk is a pretty good deal here!
A visit to an izakaya is not just about the drinking. It’s important that an izakaya also has food (you won’t last long if you don’t eat). Kenshin Izakaya has a very extensive menu with very reasonable prices. The first thing we ordered was this Aburi Shime Saba (mackerel filet) (168 baht). I highly recommend this dish not just for the taste, but also for the show that comes with it. The first picture above is how it comes out initially. It is then blowtorched to perfection (the next picture) for about a minute at the table. It’s absolutely hypnotic to watch and if you want to make yourself hungry, check out the video below!
Something from the grill…
Kenshin Izakaya offers several different skewer options to snack on. Each one is reasonably priced per skewer so you can sample new things without committing to a large expensive order.
We opted to get a pair of Negimi Yaki (grilled chicken thigh meat with Japanese leeks) (38 baht/skewer) and a pair of Enokibecon Yaki (enoki mushrooms wrapped in bacon) (48 baht/skewer). The chicken meat wasn’t greasy, was very tender, and well seasoned. I would highly recommend the bacon wrapped enoki mushrooms. The mushrooms are juicy and tender…and well anything wrapped in in bacon is going to get a recommendation from me. You just can’t go wrong with it.
Some things from the sea…
It shouldn’t be a surprise that a Japanese restaurant has plenty of offerings from the sea. But instead of sushi and sashimi we focused on the types of dishes that would be considered “bar snacks”.
We ordered a dish of Eihire Yaki (grilled skate fin) (118 baht). It’s perfect with beer as it’s slightly chewy, and meaty, and has a mild salty fish flavor (not as intense as dried squid). After the fins, we snacked on Tako Yaki (bits of octopus in fried dough balls) (88 baht) and a fresh Chuka Wakame salad (seaweed marinated in sesame sauce and fish roe) (58 baht). I’m particular with my Tako Yaki. This dish was cooked thoroughly, yet the octopus was nice and tender (not overly chewy). They also provided plenty of bonito fish flake and didn’t drown the dish in mayo or sauce. I would recommend this dish.
Something fried, and something healthy…
We finished off with a couple of snacks to enjoy with the remainder of our drinks. It’s kind of a requisite that if you visit an izakaya you HAVE to get the Tori Karaage (fried chicken thigh meat) (88 baht) and Edamame (whole soybeans lightly salted) (58 baht) to enjoy with your beverages. Both were delicious here and as you can see the prices were very friendly on the wallet.
Kenshin Izakaya is your Japanese getaway!
As soon as you enter Kenshin Izakaya you will feel transported from Bangkok. Everything is in Japanese (and English). There are artificial cherry blossom trees, hanging paper lanterns, and chairs which are cushions atop beer crates. It’s a very festive environment (and on weekend evenings reservations are a must for groups). It’s quite open with very few spaces for a private dining experience (unless you go at an off time/day).
I would recommend Kenshin Izakaya for their festive atmosphere, simple bar food, massive drinks, and value. (If you’re looking for more upscale Japanese bar food, with more potent potions, in a more private atmosphere check out my article on PrumPlum Umeshu Bar & Bistro.)
I’m ready to have fun, where is it?
There are actually a few Kenshin Izakaya restaurants in Bangkok. This particular Kenshin Izakaya is located on Sukhumvit near Soi 33. It’s positioned nearly across the street from the Dinosaur Planet theme park. But honestly, look at this storefront. Could you possibly miss it?
If you’ve experienced any of the other Kenshin Izakaya branches and feel one is better than the other I’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to voice your comments.