In the eight months after Chikin opened its doors, the hip neon-clad izakaya has steadily gained a reputation for its addictively spicy Szechuan yakitori. Located on Bukit Pasoh, behind the bustling Keong Saik Road, They are all about ‘fun’, from their aesthetic with quirky pop art covering the walls down to the crockery printed with Japanese manga drawings, but don’t be mistaken, it’s not all style and no substance. This bar serves up quality bites and drinks, thanks to the Head Chef Jeff and newly appointed Group Chief Bartender, Sam Wong.

Chikin, despite its name, is far from being chicken when it comes to experimenting and changing up their menu. The thinly-sliced Salmon Cartilage In Spicy Sauce ($10) is strangely addictive with its chewy texture, and goes well with other dishes. Another new and noteworthy item is the Tonkatsu Bites ($14). Brilliantly executed, a thin crispy outer skin holds in the juicy succulent meat of the Iberico pork. Not at all oily or heavy, you might find yourself going overboard with this one.

Those looking for a perfect bar snack should look to the grilled strips of Dried Kawahagi ($10). This filefish has hardly any seasoning but when set to the grill, all the natural umami flavours comes through. The Gyuniku Teriyaki ($16) is also delicious; the grilled Australian Striploin is tender, juicy and well-seasoned with yuzu, wasabi and shoyu to enhance the flavour of the beef.

The folks at Chikin have, of course, kept the signatures that have kept their regulars coming back for more. Order up the Unagi Garlic Fried Rice with Fish Roe ($16) for a more substantial (and indulgent) option. I’m not big on carbs but once I started on this dish, there was no stopping. Other carb options include the Tan Tan Men with Onsen Egg ($14) which is scrumptious and is sure to fill you up so you won’t have to drink on an empty stomach.

The drinks menu might be leaner and more focused than before, but the Sake and Shochu selection is still large enough that if you don’t know where to start, get a decanter of the house sake Kasen by Gekkeikan Sake ($28 for a 250ml decanter). Light, floral, and a sweet aftertaste, it’s a crowd pleaser. Those looking for cocktails shouldn’t let the kawaii names like Para Para Sakura fool you, these cocktails pack a punch.

The Somoki Raisin ($18) is a sweet, spirit-forward tipple garnished with whisky-infused raisins that will surely kickstart a great night. The whisky is smoked with apple wood chips (right in front of you so keep your phone handy for that Insta-Story) while Pedro Ximénez sherry adds depth and sweetness. A more refreshing alternative can be found in the Izakaya Smash ($18) made with fresh basil and Hendricks Gin.

Did we mention that they’ve started Karaoke Tuesdays? There’s free-flow liquid courage (S$68 for reservations and S$78 for walk-ins) in the form of house beer, house sake, and house highballs from 7pm to 11pm, as well as 10% off the izakaya menu!

CHIKIN is located at 6 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089820, p. +65 6221 3670. Open Mon-Fri 5pm – 1am, Sat 6pm – 1am. Closed Sun.

Top Image courtesy of Kelly Fan of Studio Kel