Saturday, July 25, 2020

Late Night Yakitori

I almost forgot my booking at Toritama until a few days ago before the meal when I received their message reminder. With they still going strong when business got tough elsewhere, I made a reservation for one of the nights in July almost a month ago and it has since slipped through my mind. My craving for yakitori has somewhat satisfied by another meal I had in late June, but of course I didn’t mind another yakitori meal at arguably one of the best specialist restaurant in town. 

My now much-longer commute to and from work meant our 8pm dinner reservation was just perfect – that’s about the time I managed to get back in town from office. Not so much a pleasant crawl up to The Glenealy where the restaurant was located, but they seated us straight away at the corner of the long counter in front of the open kitchen so we could settle down from the uphill hike. 

Their menu was straight forward – three different sets which they recommended us to start with, followed by a la carte menu in case we wanted to anything more. So we went with the omakase course with 12 skewers and some additional courses, and a few more a la carte. And oh, a bottle of Junmai Ginjo which I thought went perfectly well with the food, with dry, balanced flavor, rustic but with a hint of sweetness. 

Chef began to work right away for our order at the grill right in front of us – we didn’t get the best view in house for the counter as we were sitting on the back side, but food was delivered to us right after they were done. We started with a simple raw vegetable platter with miso dip, and then it’s the 12 skewer dishes – they were either various chicken parts or vegetables. 

Tsukune was the first, with minced chicken meat formed into small meatballs and grilled. It’s well seasoned with a soft interior but firm, charred crust. This classic yakitori dish was decent but this time I was more impressed with the other chicken parts, including some uncommon ones such as bonjiri (chicken tail) and soriresu (chicken oyster). I also liked the gingko nuts which were two of the non-chicken skewers we had, seasoned simply with a pinch of salt with its classic bitter aftertaste combined with a hint of sweetness. 

We asked for a couple more as encore, and they brought us the Kanmuri (crown) and Hiza-Gashira (knee gristle). Both were brilliant, and I especially loved the kanmuri, well-seasoned and with the slightly crunchy texture. 

We finished with the usual – a choice of rice, which I chose the Oyako-don, a small bowl of soup loaded with intense chicken flavor, and their signature soy sauce ice-cream dessert. Wish I could eat more on that night but I think we have reached our limit with more than a dozen dishes, and it was a fun weeknight out in this place with excellent food and vibe. We should be back more often, when and if we were allowed to dine out at night and managed to get a seat here. 

When? July 9 2020
Where? Toritama, G/F 2 Glenealy, Central, Hong Kong
Highlights? Soriresu (Chicken oyster) and Kanmuri (chicken crown)
Drink: Shimeharitsuru Jun Junmai Ginjo - Miyao Shuzo, Niigata Prefecture

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