Mamma Jiima
Koenji: Izakaya
Mamma Jiima (Koenji: Izakaya)
Mamma Jiima
Open 5pm-midnight (LO) daily.
Sun: Open Sundays

Warayaki, or straw-roasted cooking, is a technique for quickly searing ingredients like chicken and bonito at very high temperatures. It's entertaining to watch, and the straw imparts a pleasant, slightly woody aroma to the food. The warayaki chicken here is beautifully prepared, complemented by garlicky seasoning and served over a bed of vinegared raw cabbage with a hefty helping of cilantro.

The grilled sausage and the sashimi of the day are also top-notch, as are vegetable side dishes like fried ginkgo nuts with Himalayan salt, fried corn, and renkon-kimpira (spicy lotus-root salad). The sake list is short but effective, centered on five varieties of the excellent Mutsu Hassen from Aomori. Other drink options include shochu, Hoppy, and a very budget-friendly wine list.

The atmosphere is hip and casual, with a mix of customers that skews a bit younger than your typical Koenji izakaya. Seating can be a bit tight but not especially uncomfortable, and service is friendly. There's an English menu, but it's worth checking the hand-written sheets for daily specials and the menu on the wall above the counter for additional sake choices. Budget around Y3000-4000 for ample food and drink at dinnertime.

Suginami-ku, Koenji-Minami 4-27-18.

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Venue listing from Bento.com5 Star Rating: highly recommended