Afterthoughts – Grilled Meat on a Stick at Yakitoritei
No matter in which culture, the classic “meat on a stick” is a strong favourite whether it’s in the form of a Lebanese kebab, or Xinjiang lamb skewer (or to us Beijingers, chuanR). I love meat on a stick, and one of my favourite places to indulge in this is at Yakitoritei in Happy Valley.
Before rolling your eyes at me for recommending a chain, first hear me out. I know that this restaurant chain is not considered “highly original” but my philosophy is – if it tastes good, who cares?
We stumbled upon this humble little establishment by chance after being rejected from our favourite sushi joint, Sushi Sumi, due to full booking. Feeling disappointed, and a little wounded, we decided to satiate our hunger in this tiny smokey shop, and discovered a new standby. The menu here is pretty typical (no surprises!) but the food has always been decent and consistent upon every visit. My favourite spot is by the bar, so I can capture all the grilling action.
Where do I begin? We always start with the grilled beef tongue and thick cut beef steak. Both come dripping with savoury, meaty juices, and wonderful robust texture.
The bacon-wrapped salmon is not bad either, but could have been taken off the fire a bit earlier, as it was overcooked for me. I am a sucker for sweet tamago, and liked this grilled, cakey version.
The shop is, afterall, called yakitoritei, so why not have some grilled poulet? Usually I’m not crazy about chicken wings, but these charcoaled morsels (with the bone already split) are easy to eat, and most importantly, absolutely delectable.
I have a weakness for garlic, and these sweet little babies are perfect to go along with the savoury meats.
I reason my love for corn to the fact that Northern China is too dry and cold to grow rice, so my ancestors prospered on corn instead. There is nothing bad to say about grilled corn basted in butter, really, you can’t go wrong.
More car-bi-licious delight! Smokey grilled sweet potatoes, yummmmmmm. Again, you can’t go wrong here.
A strong finish – grilled lamp chops. Eating lamb chops always reminds me of the children’s program “Lambchops, Sing A-long” featuring a little wooly lamb puppet named (you guessed it!) – Lambchops! Why a lamb would be named after the food product it becomes still baffles me.
Ok, my weirdness aside, the chops are juicy and grilled to a perfect medium. I’m not a huge fan of overly rare lamb, so this is perfect for me.
Verdict: Delicious little joint for a predictable yet reliably good dinner. Very straight forward flavours and consistent in quality. This is a casual diner, great for small gatherings or a low-key date. One cautionary note – try not to order the grilled gingko nuts. There are 2 kinds offered (local or Japanese imported) and they always seem to sack you with the over-priced Japanese variety without telling you until the bill comes. We were actually warned by a nearby table about this, but still got suckered into it. So be warned!
Otherwise, this is a great little place for delicious meat on a stick, washed down with a glass or two (or three!) of ice cold Asahi.
49-51A Sing Woo Road
Happy Valley, Hong Kong Island
Tel: 2838 5377