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Proud Tsukune 正! 当店自慢 的雞肉軟骨串
Apr 10, 2012
This was the second time my wife and I came here. This shop had apparently been established in TST east for at least 18 years.
We tried this the first time more than 1/2 a year ago in my quest to find Japanese restaurants which could cure home-sicknesses (for my wife) and could quell the urge for Izakaya (and sochu, for me.)
This shop did not disappoint.
The restaurant really made it easy for customers to order their signature yakitoris by having two dinner courses to choose from, namely, the simply named yet effective: 11 skewer set, and the equally concise: 12 skewer set. Priced at HK$300 and HK$330 respectively, accompanied by a simple vegetable salad, miso soup, Japanese rice and preserved vegetables.
A quick look at the simple menu confirmed that the set was indeed a bit, and I stress just a little bit, more value for money (about 8% cheaper with a salad, a bowl of rice, miso soup and a little bit of preserved vegetables).
The menu had some cold appetizers, many traditional cold dishes, a lot of yakitori (which was the main theme of the restaurant), some rice bowls (dons), a full page of alcohol and some udon and soba.
We ordered a 12 skewer set, other a la carte skewers, as well as a kawaponzu.
First came the salad and some beans. The salad was a standard vegetable salad with some Japanese vinegar dressing. The beans were marinated with white miso as well as a bit of pork. It's quite sweet and the taste was quite interesting. What's noteworthy was the plate of grated turnip placed next to the bean. So far, this is the only yakitori shop which I know served grated turnip.
The purpose of the grated turnip is for you to eat it together with the yakitori. Somewhat similar to the function of the grated turnip with the tempura, so it would be less hard on your throat the next day as it "reduces heat". A very good idea indeed.
Note the turnip 蘿蔔絲與燒物同吃可清熱氣
Then came the kawaponzu, which means chicken skin marinated in Japanese vinegar served with spring onion. It's about $40 or $50. The quantity was really small. It's refreshing but overpriced.
Then came the negima, which meant chicken meat grilled with leek. A typical Japanese Izakaya dish which could easily be overcooked and is perhaps not such an easy dish to do well, despite its simple appearance. The negima here was done very nicely.
The chicken was tender and juicy and matched well with the slightly crispy leek:
The cheese shyudou, shishito (green pepper) and the piman (green bell pepper) also arrived very shortly afterwards:
The cheese shyudo, like other dishes meant to accompany beer, sake or sochu, was quite small and quite expensive.
The shishito, that is, green chilli pepper, was quite nice. Average standard so nothing to complaint about. By the way, I'd recommend ordering a shishito whenever you're having yakitori or a lot of fried food as it also helps to reduce your "body heat" according to Chinese medicine theory so you wouldn't have headaches or sore throat...etc. afterwards.
The piman, green bell pepper, was quite good. It was quite sweet and juicy. What distinguished the piman here from other yakitori shops was that they grilled it together with quite a lot of salt and as a result, it was quite refreshing. The sea salt mixed well with the liquorish taste of the piman.
The Negi, "Leek", was part of the dinner set and was perhaps served to stimulate the taste buds a bit ? I wouldn't go out of my way to order it though:
We also ordered grilled garlic and onions (tamanegi):
Onion, Green Chilli 蒜頭, 洋蔥: ok
and mushrooms, Pork Belly (Buta Bara), Chicken Kidney and Chicken Heart:
Mushrooms, Pork Belly, Chicken Kidney & heart
The chicken kidney was a bit tough. The chicken heart was excellent. The heart was a bit small compared to what I sometimes have. The good point about the chicken hearts here were that they were completely cleaned and marinated so it tasted fresh as well.
The Pork Belly was pretty good. The pork belly had the right balance of fat and meat. The timing was good so it was crispy but not dried.
All these vegetables were nothing to complaint about. The onions was a bit oily though. When it comes to grilled vegetables, like shishito, piman, onions, garlic, sweet corn...etc., I find the yakitori shop "Jun" a lot better than most yakitori shops. The chicken kidney at Jun is also better.
bonjiri with daikon 雞尾: 燒得香口, 不太油
I am quite a fan of Bonjiri, "Chicken tail". Some may find it a bit fat but it feels like a fatter version of grilled pork cheek. Not many yakitori shops could do it well. The important point about bonjiri is to make sure it's grilled a bit longer than other chicken parts in order to reduce the excess fat and to make it crispier. It was nice and crispy here.
Then came the tsukune:
Tsukune "当店自慢" 的雞肉軟骨串! 好正!
This was apparently the signature dish of this restaurant. You could notice from the "antique" wooden menus hanging on the wall. The tsukune was "当店自慢" - which means "the shop's proud offering". I am a great fan of tsukune and I expect quite a lot from a restaurant. This was well done. The minced chicken meat must have been from a very good source. It had a very strong "chicken" taste, i.e. fresh. I believe the meat was a bit marinated in mirin, the Japanese sweet marination, and possibly with a bit of sake as well.
There were chicken cartilage inside. The chicken cartilage was just the right texture - not too hard nor too soft. Just crunchy enough to enhance the overall texture of the whole tsukune.
Definitely one of the best I've had, whether compared with those I had in Japan or in Hong Kong. Highly recommended.
The Shiso Maki was not bad either. It was a bit of Shiso leaf wrapped with minced chicken meat. Both components were just as important. The Shiso leaf, which was a bit tangy, matched well with the slightly sweet (possibly also mirin marinated) mince chicken. This is also worth a try.
Since the chicken in this shop was of very good quality, we could not help but ordered another minced chicken themed dish. This time we ordered a minced chicken ball nabe. (I can't remember the Japanese name.). The cuttlefish which the other table ordered also looked good so we also ordered it as well.
Cuttlefish Chicken Hotpot 魷魚鬚:一般 雞丸子鍋:正
The cuttlefish was standard stuff. It was slightly tough. Nothing special.
The soup base of the nabe was standard dashi, fish broth. However, the minced chicken balls were nice and tender. It had a fresh chicken taste as well. Some chopped onions and pepper were also mixed into the chicken balls. At about $68 per pot, it's quite reasonable given the quality. This is also recommended.
To celebrate such a good meal, I've ordered a glass of sake - kubota senjyu (HK$90):
That's the way I like it. This is called a masu cup. The waitress poured the sake in front of the customer until the sake glass inside the masu was completely filled up and then let it overflow.
[Compare this to my review of "Sakaegawa" 榮川
and you'll see the difference.]
We've ordered three glasses of sochu and two draught beer (one Asahi and one Tsing Tao) for the night.
The interior of the shop was a bit dated, like most Japanese restaurants in the TST East area. There was one or two fruit flies flying around at the end of the dinner and I suggest the shop get rid of those as soon as possible.
Nevertheless, the restaurant had a very comfortable and calm ambiance. The tables were placed wide apart. Most tables could see the streets of TST East as well. The counter seats were suitable for single diners as well. The ceiling was high and the ventilation was very good. It wasn't smokey at all despite the chefs constantly grilling something.
The staff and the chefs were all very friendly and polite. They were very attentive and most of them could speak Japanese and Cantonese. Even the Japanese boss, who was the main chef, seemed to be able to utter a few words in Cantonese.
The bill came down to about HK$500 per person (drinks inclusive). If you're not into drinking - not a lot anyway, you could get a very decent yakitori meal at about HK$330. All in all, other than the over priced dishes used to accompany alcohol, the chicken dishes were all reasonably priced and of great quality.
I'll return here again and again.
If you like the tsukune, the bamboo minced chicken meat served at "Jinya", Mong Kok, was also very good, to my utter surprise. The tsukune at Hataka dojo is not as good but close (it's not consistent enough).
Table Wait Time:
Date of Visit:
Mar 31, 2012
Spending per head:
Value for Money
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You know what,
Apr 14, 2012 01:14
Seriously after trying most Yakitori or Kushiyaki shops (Japanese run ones) in Hong Kong, I will give here at least the Top 2 spot.
My other favourites are Beco and surprising to many, Torishin.
I've been to all the recent hyped up ones like Ippou, Yardbird, Nagoya too, the biggest problem with those is they either are missing chicken taste, the right sauce balance, or right texture (esp in the tsukune), or aren't grilled until they have developed that aroma!
Went to Take-Ya again last week, despite the Michelin mention, it was average at most and the menu small.
So that's it - my favs in town are here (only when Japanese owner is grilling it) and Beco (expensive). Not much options woo woo >.<
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