We’ve come a long way since the first caveman discovered skewering his meat over a fire makes for tasty grub. In Hong Kong there are plenty of institutions that specialise in kushiyaki (yakitori actually refers specially to chicken on skewers), some make claim to special sauces, others to choice cuts and even innovative side dishes. And now, Yayakiya is here to try its hand at the extremely competitive business of grilling meat on sticks.
The regulation concrete walls and exposed light bulbs of Yayakiya’s industrial-chic surrounds are leavened by a playful mural of Einstein holding a skewer. One of the signature items on the menu is the uni wafer chirashi sushi ($45), with uni and rice encased in a wafer usually used for ice cream sandwiches. Apart from making it easier to pick it up, the wafer only adds a gummy texture to the dish and it would have been better without the crispy casing. The softshell shrimp tempura roll ($90), garnished with crab roe, has all the hallmarks of a classic sushi roll, but the main ingredient fails to dazzle.
We’re served a complimentary cabbage and sesame salad to pair with our grilled items and we launch into the skewers. We first plump for the minced chicken stick with egg sauce ($29). The ground up soft bone adds interest to the texture but remains smooth when dipped in the raw egg. Next, minced pork stuffed bell pepper skewers ($26) with an evenly charred skin provide an acerbic flavour to balance the rich pork. We also sample the beef diaphragm dipped in the house-made sauce ($40); it’s comprised of a marvelous cut, but the sauce is strong and overwhelms the meat.
The use of superior ingredients in its skewers makes Yayakiya a solid choice if you’re in TST and seeking tasty skewers with a friendly ambience. Yet there’s no speciality here. We’d really want to see an outstanding sauce or side dish to tempt us out of our caves again. Lisa Cam
Yayakiya 10-12B, G/F, Windsor Mansion, 29-31 Chatham Rd S (on Hart Ave), Tsim Sha Tsui, 2723 9833.
Dinner for two $500.
10-12B, G/F, Windsor Mansion, 29-31 Chatham Rd S (on Hart Ave), Tsim Sha Tsui