It was the turn of the 20th century, during the reign of Emperor Meiji, when a simple fisherman in the small village of Ine began grilling a collection of local flavours on his fishing spear, to sell to travellers on the trade route from Mainland China to Kyoto.
More than a hundred years later, that same fisherman’s great-grandson has brought the secrets of yakitori to New Zealand. Mr Tanaka welcomes you to his new culinary home in Ellerslie, Auckland to experience this vibrant homage to his great grandfather’s legacy.
Multi-award-winning culinary veteran Sean Marshall has designed the menu to create a light-hearted, cross-continental gustatory experience.
“Japanese cuisine is well known for its nuanced complexity the world knows and loves. Mr Tanaka’s honours that, but intentionally adds a playful symbiosis with local flavours to create a bespoke Japakiwi experience to delight the senses,” expressed Marshall.
Boasting a nama (range of raw hand-caught fishes), a mouth-watering yakitori grill, sharing dishes and a cheeky desserts section, Marshall brings the menu together masterfully to enthral the most stubborn of palates. Barbequed pineapple with black sesame gelato anyone?
Delicious beers and wines and beer towers include Japanese and local favourites, with vegan beer amongst them, promising a diverse mix with something for everybody to enjoy.
Open seven days a week, Mr Tanaka’s exudes a yasashī (friendliness) and tanoshī (fun) personality. Stepping through the big wooden gate, you’re greeted with an animated atmosphere of lively colours and Japanese décor.
Whatever the occasion, Mr Tanaka’s offers a fun-loving and relaxed atmosphere where good food, good drink, good music and good company come together to create a flawless Japakiwi izakaya experience and they are looking forward to welcoming you back once at Level 2, with strict protocols in place for the safety of their customers and staff.