Thursday, 25 April 2013


Always on the lookout for new lunch offerings close to work, a few weeks ago I was on the prowl and spied telltale hanging red lanterns, often the only subtle sign of a Japanese spot.

It had only just opened, and since, Heiseiya has actively begun to fly its flag (literally - the place is as festooned with fluttering banners as the UN), yet is still woefully (or perhaps thankfully?) overlooked.

The izakaya, or Japanese pub, takes the authentic model (faithful down to the 'Japanese-style' toilet) but playfully updates it with an ambience as fun and colorful as the signs and old sake ads plastered on its walls. It makes for the perfect place to bring friends and enjoy a frosty mug of beer - it's anything but understated.

I've been several times now and its food is as fresh and bright as its interior -

As could be expected, it is mostly Japanese izakaya food such as assorted grilled yakitori and rice bowls, although there is a section of "Japanese-prepared Chinese" dishes (that I have thus far avoided). All of the small starters - like cucumber sticks with miso paste, assorted pickles - are fresh and appetite-whetting, and the smokey skewers of yakitori like chicken and leeks are tasty indeed.

Real standouts include their fried chicken, shatteringly crisp and served with a refreshing radish slaw; eel, smokey and slick with teriyaki sauce, served over shredded egg, pickle, and rice; and ramen, boundless bouncy-fresh noodles and broth white with bone.

Cucumbers with miso paste.

Assorted appetizer plate - rich roast pork and mixed pickles.

Shrimp straight out of your grandmother's kitchen, with its thick mayo coating, yet somehow tasty.

Fierce fried chicken.


For lunch, there are set menus ranging 35-55 RMB for soba or ramen soups or mains like that fierce fried chicken, all served with a side of rice.

So come with friends and take over a large table or even come alone and sit at the bar -

Either way, you'll be praising it as colorfully as its be-flagged facade.

No. 101 Xikang Road, near Nanjing Xi Lu

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