Head to the west end of Jasper Ave and you can find Ikki Sake Bar. Having recently celebrated their 6th birthday, this locally owned business revamped their menu and rebranded themselves from being an izakaya to a sake bar. Their menu now focuses on a selection of sake drinks and a few Japanese-fusion tapas. In celebration of their 6th birthday, they also have a $6 menu for a limited time. I was invited to check out Ikki and thought I’d share a quick post to recap the experience.
Ikki’s space is small and intimate, offering a very laid-back and casual environment. It’s not a bad spot to hang out and catch up over a few drinks but since there is limited seating, I do recommend making a reservation, just in case. They’re open “until late” and it’s recommended that patrons visit later in the evening for the full experience.
I was invited to check out Ikki and my meal was complimentary. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own and a post was not expected.
Without a doubt, the star of the show at Ikki is definitely the drinks. After all they brand themselves as a sake bar! You can choose from a variety of Japanese beverages, including sake, sake bombs, whiskeys and beers. I definitely recommend trying a sake bomb, which come signature style (served with shrimp chips) or premium style (paired with extra goodies, like cheesecake). I find the additional side items are mostly for presentation as they don’t really add to the drinks in any way.
If you’ve never had a sake bomb before, it’s traditionally a cocktail where a sake shot is poured into beer. At Ikki, the sake shot sits on chopsticks; pound the table three times to drop the shot in and enjoy! Aside from the traditional sake bomb, Ikki also has some unique ones where they pair sake with soda or cream. I personally prefer sweet drinks so this actually made the whole experience a lot better for me. If you’re a fan of sweet drinks as well, I definitely recommend the Strawberry Sake (strawberry sake and vanilla cream; $12) or the Mango Cheesecake (mango sake and soda; $16),
Food-wise, I would say the tapas are fun and well-presented but unfortunately, nothing really stood out for me. From the $6 menu, I tried the Supami, Sukiyaki Taco Dog and Tempura Taco Dog. I don’t think I’ve seen spam fries offered at any restaurants here yet so this was cool, but taste-wise, it was not much more than sliced, fried spam.
The taco dogs were definitely fusion and an interesting combination of flavours; good to try but I’d probably pass and try something else next time.
Their signature food items are $16 and a bit larger in portion size. I tried the Katsu (crispy Japanese fried chicken), Ebi (shrimp cocktail), and Aburi (torched beef on rice). I think the katsu could’ve been a bit crispier but not a bad choice, you can’t go wrong with katsu!
If you enjoy seafood, the Ebi is a good option with large shrimps and a tangy cocktail sauce. The aburi was Ikki’s version of pressed sushi, topped with raw beef, torched table-side, and their signature sweet soy sauce that was made creamy with egg yolk. Though not like your typical pressed sushi, it was pretty tasty and the more torched the beef was, the better!
While the tapas are fun, I wouldn’t find myself coming back here solely for food. However, if you are a sake fan or just enjoy casual drinks, Ikki would be a great spot to check out and I’d say their drink-focused menu does set them apart from other similar businesses. It’s exciting to see their new changes, big thanks to Ikki for inviting me for a meal!
Ikki Sake Bar
11931 Jasper Ave