Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food From Another World

Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food From Another World

Izakaya “Nobu” is a modest establishment, staffed by only two people: master, Nobuyuki Yazawa, and server, Shinobu Senke. Despite its humble appearance, its entrance is mysteriously connected to an ancient city from another world: “Aitheria.” Nobu’s patrons consist of lazy palace guards, incognito clergymen, and the Waterworks Guildmaster – not your average clientele! But once they enter Nobu’s doors, they are greeted with the finest alcohol and dishes the likes of which they’ve never seen. The patrons leave their troubles at the door as they call, “Give me a cold ale, master!”

No doubt about it, food-based anime has gained fast popularity and it’s not difficult to see why. Anime good has always looked gorgeous and good enough to eat, so why not centre stories around them? So, hot on the heels of Food Wars comes a series of restaurant-based plots that serve delectable dinners and tantalising treats for audiences to feast their eyes on: PiacevoleRestaurant to Another WorldSweetness & LightningYotsuiro Biyori and many more. This type of anime has a very simple pull on me because I love food – and I’m sure it’s the same for many others.

A Japanese restaurant that opens up into the fantasy land of Aitheria, Isekai Izakaya‘s premise is largely episodical, with members of the public from this other world entering and trying some fine Japanese cuisine. At first the are confused or underwhelmed with the simple Japanese decor so unlike their own restaurants, but pleasant and helpful Shinobu welcomes them in with a smile and shows them hospitality and service that will make them all into returning customers. And of course, Nobu is there to fix them up delicious that will have them wondering where this food has been all their life, be it new spins on old favourites such as pasta dish napolitan or totally new concepts to them, such as sushi.

In some way dining at Izakaya Nobu seems to have a profound effect on the customer’s life – meeting the young noble Hildegard’s complicated requests has her becoming more agreeable to her long-suffering uncle and more accepting of her future. Kamil’s willingness to try sashimi makes his future brother-in-law Ignaz believe that he has the guts to marry his sister, and the food that tax collector Gernot eats reminds him so much of his happy childhood that he vows to quit his job, give his earnings to charity and return hime. They can’t seem to get enough of Nobu’s ‘whatsontap’ (draft beer?) either.

But it’s the food that steals the show here. The characters are entertaining and the music is chilled-out and well-suited to setting the scene, but the detail of the food is just ramped-up so much it’s positively mouth-watering. Even bar snacks such as slices of cabbage (which I’d never eat in real life) look tempting.

At the end of each episode is a little segment that explains how to create the food you’ve seen in real life – called Nobu Plus –which I assume is to promote the cooking of Japanese food at home or finding the best places to eat these dishes. These short ending segments have become more common in anime as of late and are also seen in shows such as Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club, Love Rice and the more recent Laid-Back Camp. In these short pieces there are tours within Japanese prefectures in search of local restaurants that serve the dishes seen in the anime and extra ingredients that complement them. They also have kitchen demonstrations showing how to prepare and cook the meals and how to substitute ingredients and make them more versatile for everyday life.

Isekai Izakaya‘s is a relaxing watch. There’s no complex plot or nuances to remember episode to episode as everything’s self-contained. I wouldn’t look to this one for any overarching plot development or and long-term expectations, but don’t let that put you off of enjoying the sumptuous visuals and the satisfying sounds of cooking, crunching and, of course, the slightly bizarre scenarios character’s find themselves entering when they taste the culinary bliss Izakaya Nobu has to offer.