By Itty Okopide
According to Wikipedia, Izanagi is a Japanese word that means ‘He Who Invites’ when translated into English. But for me, this was not a literary invitation: It was one borne-out of curiosity!
In July 2022, I came across a style of cooking on social media referred to as ‘Hibachi’ where a huge flame of fire comes out of a grill and the chef is able to curtail it in ten seconds. This was captivating to me but also very scary. I later discovered that the Hibachi is a traditional Japanese heating device. They are small portable barbecue grills which are made from cast iron. Included in the search results were recommendations on Japanese restaurants in Lagos that may use this style of cooking.
Izanagi Restaurant? I came across it! Since this is not an English word, the name sounded mysterious and different in a way that intrigued me. (more like a place samurai’s would dine with swords in their hands. Lol.)
Because I try to make the most of my trips to restaurants by engaging in a new experience, I did not really think the hibachi grill will be a treasurable experience for me. The restaurant did not offer an outdoor cooking setting. As a result, my decision to visit the restaurant was delayed. However, the good impression created on me by the meaning of Izanagi (He who invites) lingered on and became a constant pull nudging me to visit the place. With this in mind and a fun coverage of a Travel Kulture client experimenting with using chopsticks for the first time, when my date asked me to choose a restaurant, I resolved to use the opportunity to visit Izanagi so I could also learn to use chopsticks.
I arrived at the restaurant for dinner at 6:17pm and in summary, I was impressed. A welcoming restaurant with a homey and spacious setting. It was almost difficult to choose my preferred sitting area. I kept feeling another section was better. I also loved the incorporation of minimal Japanese art in the restaurant: it was very thoughtful and beautiful.
As I walked in through the front door, I noticed a lot of the staff were stationed by the door, leaving me intrigued and portraying a culture of welcomeness and true hospitality. Most typical restaurants would have a waiter assigned to serve a particular customer but here it was different. All the staff were particularly attentive and more than willing to pick up from where a colleague had left off.
The main reason for my visit to this restaurant was to try my hands at using chopsticks and enjoy the thrill of eating with something other than cutlery. To further challenge myself, the day before, I made sure I fixed my nails; so I was ready for the experiment at using chopsticks!
There was a lot of variety on their menu-especially the sushi options (exactly what is expected in Japanese restaurants). I opted for Crispy Crazy Sushi.
In learning how to eat with chopsticks, I adopted a three-stage formula of GRAB, LIFT AND EAT. It was quite funny because I was photographed at every stage during my rehearsal.
Behold My Meal
Surprisingly, I was still experimenting with chopsticks when my main meal arrived. I ordered my dish off a picture that was posted to their Instagram page. Teriyaki Salmon and Izanagi Fried Rice.
I particularly loved the Teriyaki Salmon which was very spicy.
A good way to end 2022. What do you think?