Fun and fantastic robatayaki in Tin Hau
Robatayaki is a Japanese technique of grilling skewers and meats where fresh ingredients are showcased on the counter. To order, you point at what you want and the chef scoops up your choice on a wooden paddle, grills it in front of you and then serves it back to you on the same paddle. It didn’t start off this way, but robatayaki is a formal affair, where fresh premium ingredients are prepared by a chef with incredible arm strength and hand-eye coordination who serves you personally, counterside.
The kanji on the canopy outside means ‘toy shop’ and Ganguya’s ground level entrance looks exactly like one, sporting Gundam and Ultraman figurines. It’s not until you descend down the stairs that the smell of grilled meat envelops your sinuses. The toy theme continues in the dining room, with more anime figurines and a wall of Japanese superhero posters. Patrons get excited when they see cartoon characters scattered across the restaurant, and instead of a formal affair, the robatayaki at Ganguya is fun and buzzing with conversation.
We order an array of bites which includes ginko nuts ($62) and okra ($42) to start. They’re good but not out of the ordinary. We then move on to seafood by sampling the oyster ($58) and abalone ($78). The bivalve is grilled in a teriyaki-like sauce, the flesh is plump and juicy and there’s no denying its superior quality. Just as we hoped, the abalone is lightly marinated with an al dente bite, proving that each ingredient is expertly timed in execution.
The stars of the evening, though, are the meats. The pork belly ($68) comes thick-cut and smoked with a distinct bacon-like quality, while the beef ribs ($150) are just the right amount of pink and a magnificent secret marinade elevates the dish. Fragrant and fruity, the flavours are enticing and you finish the whole thing before you even know it.
Everything is bite sized at a robatayaki, but with the jovial atmosphere facilitated by its décor, you can easily run up a bill chomping through all the tasty morsels. But isn’t that how all good nights out start? Naomi Locke
16 Ngan Mok St, Tin Hau
|Opening hours:||Monday - Sunday 18:00 - 01:00|