A high-end restaurant that’s big on beef but lean on service
It’s been a busy few months for local restaurant group Global Link. After bringing Tokyo’s three-Michelin-starred Sushi Saito to our shores in March, the F&B team recently launched the first overseas outpost of Yakiniku Jumbo – a grilled meats institute with more than 30 years of history in Tokyo.
Located in a prime spot close to the Central–Mid-Levels escalator, the Hong Kong venue is simple and sophisticated, dressed in blacks and natural woods in an understated manner. In this comfortable space, which seats about 50, guests can enjoy some of the finest grades of wagyu, sourced from all across Japan. The meat is flown in daily from Jumbo’s Tokyo store, chilled and never frozen, to ensure minimal changes to flavour, freshness and texture.
During the early stages of its opening, Yakiniku Jumbo only offers omakase for dinner ($1,280). On the night of our visit, this nine-courser begins with a beef yukke. Made with raw meat from the inner thigh and dressed in tare, it’s a simple but thoroughly satisfying way to start the meal. We also try the wagyu nigiri, featuring a slice seared ever-so-slightly so that the fat melts into the rice below. Another highlight is the sextet of grilled wagyu rare cuts. They’re all hand-sliced by Jumbo’s experienced chefs, who ensure that every piece that makes it to the grill boasts just the right amount of marbling without being too fatty or sinewy. Every cut boasts its own distinct texture and flavour profile. The kalbi is rich while the zabuton chuck flap is incredibly fatty; the ankle and rump steak boast the deepest and beefiest flavour; and the oyster blade is melt-in-the-mouth tender after being swept over the fire for four seconds on each side. There’s also a cut taken close to the heart, which is adorned with a sliver of uni. It’s a fine concept on paper, but in practice, the sea urchin’s delicate sweetness is overshadowed by the meat. Thankfully, this slight disappointment is more than made up for by the noharayaki – a Yakiniku Jumbo original creation that involves a hand-sliced A5 wagyu sirloin marinated in the restaurant’s signature tare sauce before its briefly broiled for no more than the count of 10. Eaten with a beaten egg yolk, this is tender, juicy, beefy deliciousness at its finest.
Cattle aside, other dishes such as the snow crab salad and chicken cold noodles are also executed with finesse. But while the food leaves us with no complaints, the same can’t be said for the service. Some of the staff show very little knowledge regarding the prime cuts they’re serving and prove unable to answer basic questions asked of them. But perhaps the most grating part of the experience is its hurried speed. Dishes are served and cleared in a frantic manner, with dessert brought to the table before we even finish the preceding course. Apparently, Yakiniku Jumbo has two dinner seatings – something we were not made aware of any time from booking to arrival – and each are limited to only two hours. The fact that Yakiniku Jumbo’s nine-course, thousand-buck, premium beef omakase needs to be scoffed down with the rushed pace of a two-hour all-you-can-eat barbecue is the only thing that we can’t help but have a cow about.
|Venue name:||Yakiniku Jumbo|
Shop 302, 3/F, Man Yee Building
68 Des Voeux Road Central
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 12pm-2pm, 6pm-9.30pm (last order)|
|Do you own this business?|