"We Were Spoilt For Choice"

Takayama is a cosy, modern restaurant that opened on Fore Street in summer 2017. Specialising in an array of Japanese and Korean dishes – including sushi, teriyaki and tempura – the venue has already racked up an impressive 4.9 stars on Facebook, and is TripAdvisor’s number 3 rated restaurant in Ipswich. I visited on a busy Friday night to see how they fared.

TAKAYAMA, FORE STREET
TIMING: FRIDAY LATE EVENING

LOCATION

Takayama is on the busy part of Fore Street, and is highly visible to passing traffic. Parking in the area is limited to restricted bays and pay & display car parks, but with the restaurant being so central it is easily walkable from the Waterfront and surrounding area. 4/5

First Impressions

The exterior doesn’t give much away – the blinds seem to remain constantly closed, giving the impression that the restaurant is either shut, or reserved for a function. It also doesn’t allude to what type of restaurant it is, so you’d be forgiven for having passed it many times without spotting the small photographs of their dishes located just by the entrance. 2/5

Interior

Takayama is decorated in a simple, modern, and authentic fashion. There is a lovely water feature as you enter, which lends to the authenticity, and tables are decorated with modern crockery and chopsticks. There is an ‘open’ aspect to the kitchen area, where you can see fresh fish being prepared for sushi and sashimi. 5/5

Greeting

Once inside, we were greeted immediately with a friendly smile and asked if we had a reservation – I could see why, the place was full! Fortunately, we only had to wait less than five minutes on a comfy sofa, before a table was ready for us. 5/5

The Menu

I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of variety on the menu – all the usual dishes you would expect to see were there in 4-5 varieties; yakisoba, tempura, teriyaki…And some more unusual dishes I hadn’t heard of, including bibimbap and deopbap. Add to this, three pages of sushi and sashimi (including mixed platters for the indecisive!) and we were spoilt for choice. 5/5

Food

I had never eaten in an authentic Japanese/Korean restaurant prior to my visit to Takayama, and having read the good reviews I had high expectations. I can safely say, these were met! We ordered chicken and vegetable gyozas and tori karaage (deep fried chicken thighs with soy flavoured sauce) to start; these came out after a very short wait. Our main meals followed the same suit – naturally, we wanted to try one Korean and one Japanese dish, and settled on bulgogi deopbap and tonkatsu. The food was full of flavour, fresh, hot and delicious. 5/5

Service

Our server was attentive yet subtle; showing up to take away empty plates within moments of us finishing. I asked for some recommendations and some differences between dishes; these were given, but in little detail, and I ended up choosing an alternative. All in all, slightly more enthusiasm over the menu and particular dish recommendations would have gone a long way in this category. 2.5/5

Takayama certainly lives up to its Top 10 rating on TripAdvisor, and deservedly so with its food standards. The menu is well priced, sitting just below those of a nearby chain competitor, but not so low that it makes you question the quality of food. Our experience of dining here, as a whole, was excellent, and with such a specialist and authentic restaurant of this standard in our local area, I hope they maintain their reputation and thrive.
— Overall Score 4.1/5