Dinner at Issian, Wallingford

There are so many great restaurants on this stretch, but our favourite of them all is Issian (with Kozue a close second). They have a huge menu and a robata grill, plus their mentaiko udon is really amazing. This is a small plates type of place.

Grilled enoki mushrooms. Loved the enoki, the seaweed not so much, but that’s a personal preference. Z & G finished it all.

Mentaiko udon – the pasta sauce is quite runny but has a strong mentaiko flavor. We saw other customers order the same thing, finish the udon, and leave the broth. Don’t do that! The broth is the best part! This dish is actually pretty easy to make yourself at home if you have butter, mentaiko, and kewpie mayo.

Quail eggs wrapped with bacon. These are kinda pricy but so good. Probably pricy since they have to peel the quail eggs.

Balsamic grilled mushrooms – average, skip this.

The potato gratin was pretty much similar to the

baked scallops with mentaiko – there were maybe two scallops in here? And the rest was mostly potato. Just the one would have been enough.

Pork belly and chicken skin skewers. They have loads of other chicken parts too for the yakitori aficionado.

I stick to the regular yakitori chicken; which is not bad but not charred enough for me. The yakitori at Ginza is better.

Their robatayaki chicken breast was so dramatically presented. Generally I think ordering grilled seafood or steak dishes on the robata grill would make more sense than chicken; even though this was pretty good, chicken breast has very little fat so you don’t get the taste of rendered fat or charred meat that you might get with a steak. The cracker bowl it was in was quite nice with the sauce though.


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