Yakitori has been all the rage since Yardbird opened its doors last summer. I do love Yardbird (and even included it in my top 10 of 2011), yet having now finally tried Yakitoritei, I realise what all the anti-Yardbirdians have been saying all along: that you can find equally, if not more delicious yakitori for half the price at Yakitoritei.
Located on Sing Woo Road in Happy Valley, making for a nice escape out of Central, sits cosy little Yakitoritei. When I say little, I mean that it probably seats a maximum of around 20 diners, meaning table bookings (which are possible in this yakitori joint) are strongly recommended.
Where Yardbird sticks strictly to chicken meat and chicken offal skewers, Yakitoritei has a vast menu including everything from chicken meat and heart, to lamb, to vegetables, to goose liver, all cooked on the rather tiny grill in the open kitchen.
Before commencing on our wide array of yakitori dishes, we were presented with a bowl of crudités accompanied by a delicious bean dip; I had to refrain from devouring the lot and save some for my skewers.
Starting simple, with grilled mini green peppers, we began our yakitori feast. These slightly spicy peppers were perfectly grilled, giving them tender yet crisp skin and juicy middles. However, the pumpkin skewers were significantly better: sweet, soft and just heavenly. Murmurs around the table, even after tasting some of the meaty dishes, agreed that this was one of the overall winners.
I love asparagus and I adore crispy bacon, so we were hardly going to go wrong ordering the asparagus wrapped in bacon. Again this, for me, was one of the best dishes of the night. The eggplant on the other hand, normally one of my favourite vegetables, sincerely let me down by being undercooked and drowned in the same bean sauce that seemed far too over-powering in this context.
Onto some meat – seeing as there were so many chicken options, we felt it only right to try some. The chicken and sesame was beautifully tender, bathed in a wonderfully creamy yet light sesame sauce. Whilst the chicken tail was full of flavour, the bones and gristle consumed too much of the meat, resulting in a very difficult and far-from-elegant-to-eat skewer.
Although not a hit with the entire table, I loved the codfish skewers– the flesh was meaty and flaky and the skin wonderfully crispy. It could have done with a touch more seasoning to make it perfect… but nobody’s perfect, right?!
Actually, if I may correct myself, the beef fillet with minced garlic skewers were pretty close to perfect! The meat was so tender and bursting with flavour, taking them straight up to the top of the yakitori charts.
The goose liver and sweetcorn were also way up at the top of the charts; the foie gras was ever so slightly crispy on the outside and so deliciously buttery inside. As for the sweetcorn, somehow by grilling it to perfection, rather than boasting the sweet taste we know to expect from corn on the cob, it offered something verging on the taste of freshly ‘popped’ popcorn.
The absolute star of the night has got to be the lamb chops. These arrived right at the very end when I had already eaten faaaar too much yakitori, so I only intended to have a bite for fear of bursting. However, one bite of these amazingly tender chops and I could hardly refrain from licking the bone clean.
At Yakitoritei each skewer is sold individually, so you can order according to how many bellies you’re feeding…or how hungry you are. We ordered the vast amount of food I have just described for five people and paid a little over $300 each. I’ll definitely be returning next time I’m craving a yakitori fix.
G/F, 49 Sing Woo Road
Tel: +852 2838 5377