Friday, April 26, 2019


I have been itching to check out this new yakitori place named Birdie at a new building that seemed to have sprout up out of nowhere in the middle of Central. A few friends have eaten there and liked the food, so we finally managed to get a booking to go one late evening on a weeknight.

We walked in to the restaurant just as many customers for the earlier seating were finishing up their meals and soon we were seated at the counter right in front of the chefs working hard inside the open kitchen. I love the casual décor and ambience of the place, with the centrepiece being the open kitchen, with a dozen or so counter seats formed in semi-circle surrounding. Right in the middle of the “kitchen stage” was the long charcoal grill, with a couple chefs manning the food. It was a pleasure looking at them in action from our seats right in front. On the side there were tables by the window for those who prefer a different kind of view or setup.

Of course, just like any legit yakitori joint and as the name of the restaurant suggests, chicken skewers is their specialty with a wide selection of different parts being offered. And one could also opt for a few alternative choices including beef, pork and vegetables served on skewers, or a few other snack-sized dishes. We started with the Potato Salad, which sounded ordinary but surprisingly good. Smashed potatoes were mixed in with bacon bits and served with a half-boiled egg on top in a glass bowl. The egg was perfectly cooked and the bright orange and runny yolk mixed well with the salad.

Soon, the chefs began passing our skewer order to us and they timed the cooking well so the food came in sequence and reasonable pace. The chicken wing was among the first to arrive, grilled with the skin crisped and turned golden brown with just the right seasoning. I loved the neck with the slightly charred crust and soft but gently bouncy texture. Kawa, or chicken skin, was carefully folded side by side into a wooden skewer and slow-grilled so they came perfectly crisped with just the right amount of burnt edges. Not the healthiest dishes I am sure but certainly one of the most delicious.

The one we loved most of the evening was the liver, well-seasoned with the best texture, soft and delicate. It showed good control of temperature and cooking time. I personally like the tsukune, or minced chicken meat, skewer to have more cartilage added in for the bite and served with egg yolk dipping sauce, but the one at Birdie was decent with good, tender texture and well balanced with the rich sauce basted on top right before being served. The other meat skewers fared well too – including the wagyu harami, the fatty bit near to the brisket, served with cherry tomato and a dab of wasabi, and the cute pieces of pork belly rolled up with shiso leaves in the middle.

We saw the order of pickled celery from other customers around us and so we asked for the same in the middle of our meal. Thought it was excellent as a refreshing appetizer to start, with the slight acidity from the celery marinated in vinegar, and also the ponzu jelly and bonito flakes served on top. I also loved the few vegetable skewers we picked, including the daikoku shimeji mushrooms, kinshinsai and (less so) corn with butter.

To finish, we ordered the onigiri, cooked on the grill with shiso leaf on top and also a bowl of chicken soup with somen. Love the onigiri with the crispy and aromatic crust, and the soup was comforting, except I expected it to be slightly richer. There were a choice of 2 desserts, and the sesame pudding was nice, served with a simple drizzle of syrup on top.

The restaurant ran a special promotion on Aramasa sake at the time of our visit - we just went for one of their bottles. The bottle of Junmai of the current vintage (branded Ecru) has a rounded texture with floral and vanilla aroma, slightly off-dry and refreshing - the contemporary type of sake by my favorite brewery that I enjoyed.

When? April 15 2019
Where? Birdie, 9/F H Code, 45 Pottinger Street, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? All the yakitori dishes
Drinks? Aramasa Ecru 2017 Junmai Seisei, Aramasa Shuzho, Akita Prefecture
新政酒造生成Ecru 生酛純米BY29 - 秋田県 新政酒造

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