Located behind heavy wooden doors at one end of River Valley Road, Ichigo really is quite the hidden gem. I love the fact that nothing on the exterior betrays the fact that it's a yakitori izakaya inside; diners are there specifically for the food, rather than curious walk-ins.
Unlike places like Kazu or Nanbantei, Ichigo only serves yakitori in the true sense of the word - various different parts of the chicken. So no foie gras or wagyu beef or bacon-wrapped anything. Just chicken skewers, including their signature namesake - tsukune.
I'd recommend starting with their tsukune platter, which offers 5 different varieties, including one topped with cheese, and another with avocado mayo. Their tsukunes are excellent - very refined and very tasty. I personally like the one that includes some chicken soft bone, which adds a bit of textural crunch.
Of their yakitori skewers, we tried the chicken thigh, chicken heart and garlic wrapped with chicken skin. All no frills, with no fancy fixings, and all delicious.
They also had an appetiser with my name written over it (though I appreciate that this may not appeal to some) - chicken skin with cucumber. For me, the best kind of chicken skin is the sort from poached chicken rice, which is the kind used for this dish. The skin was tossed with cucumber and a light soy and sesame oil dressing. Perfect.
They have a few different kinds of pudding for dessert; we tried the milk pudding, which was more like a creme caramel than a milk pudding, but still a very good end to the meal.
I love the authenticity and unpretentiousness of this place. The dedication to perfecting the items in an unelaborate menu really shows, and I hope they always retain that charm.
Most of the stuff is average but that's besides the point because the chicken tsukune is AWESOME! Plus, the vibe is like the yakitori joints in Japan, except without the smoking indoors.
399 River Valley Road
Open daily: 6 pm - 11.30 pm