Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dining - Hikari Izakaya in Queenstown

It was at Hikari Izakaya on Beach Street in Queenstown that we first discovered that Junior Grendel Number Two loves Japanese food. He has always been more interested in trying new things than his older brother but astounded us with the range of new foods he was willing to try.

He ate an entire bell pepper salad along with sushi, sashimi and soba noodles. Actually looking at the 'S' theme of that sentence he missed out on only one thing - the Saki! (mine, all mine!).

Hikari Izakaya is a small neat restaurant what serves a small by delicious assortment of Japanese dishes. The quality of the food is very good and the staff polite and seemed to appear exactly when needed without interrupting the dining experience.

It was also one of the quieter places that we visited in Queenstown - although on our second visit there was a rowdy crew of drunk Canadian skiers who were having trouble finding the menu, pronouncing the items and ordering anything coherently. Dinner AND a show that night!

In a more general comment - Japanese food was almost unheard of in New Zealand when I visited in 1989 but on this trip we were amazed not so much at its presence in nearly every town but by the truly great quality compared to many places here. Sushi in particular seems to be a point of pride in New Zealand and one food hall in a mall in Auckland had the most amazing array of sushi that I have ever seen in my life - it was a display that would put lesser sushi bars in Perth to shame and make the better ones sick with envy.

I asked the chef if I might take photographs - but he declined, understandably, because these were works of art that others might copy. This one not a one off and we repeatedly saw amazing edible art at many sushi bars across Auckland.

Who: Hikari Izakaya
What: Superb Japanese cuisine
Where: 5 Beach Street, Queenstown
Contact: 64 3 442 9030
When: 20 & 21 September 2009
Accessibility: Adequate

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