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Yardbird – Hong Kong

Posted on Saturday, 22nd April 2017

YARDBIRD

Yardbird in Hong Kong ranks as one of the hottest restaurants in Hong Kong. It’s a perpetual hit with the Hong Kong in-crowd, helped in no small part by the slick urban design and the all too-cool wait staff. Yardbird has a no booking policy and given its popularity, this often means that there is a timely wait. But notwithstanding its coolness, it’s popularity is understandable when one comes to learn that the head chef at Yardbird is Canadian Matt Abergel who has previously cooked at leading Japanese/Japanese-fusion restaurants such as Masa in New York and Zuma in Hong Kong.

The menu is fashioned on the Japanese style of “izakaya” casual eating with small plates for all to share. Predominating Japanese in flavour, Abergel also draws on other Asian influences, bringing in items such as KFC, a dish of Korean fried cauliflower (yes cauliflower and not chicken) which was an absolute treat.

Yardbird makes good use of the chicken, endorsing a head to tail concept of eating. We saw just about every part of the chicken on the menu, with the thigh, breast, wing, heart, liver, gizzards, you name it, all being skewered for yakitori grilling. Of these we tried the Chicken meatball yakitori served with egg yolk (HK$48 – about £4.80).

Yardbird - London Food Blog - Chicken meatballs

Yardbird – Chicken meatballs

These were divine. Wonderfully moist, there was oodles of flavour bouncing off these meatballs which had been perfectly grilled to give off a lovely caramelisation. The egg yolk in a sweet soya sauce rounded off the succulence of these meatballs by giving these an added dimension.

Liver mousse with milk bread and crispy shallots (H$150 – about £15) was also supremely tasty. Rich and luscious, these were nicely seasoned with the crispy shallots providing a crunchy contrast against the soft smoothness of the mousse. The bread, lightly toasted, was soft and sweet and worked nicely with the flavour of the liver.

Yardbird - London Food Blog - Liver mousse

Yardbird – Liver mousse

As mentioned earlier, I particularly enjoyed the Korean fried cauliflower (HK$110 – about £11). This is one of the signature dishes on the Yardbird menu and it’s easy to understand why. Original in concept, it proved to be a really interesting dish to try and not something that one comes across that often. The cauliflower was ever so slightly crunchy and was perfectly cooked throughout – neither too soft nor too firm. Coating the cauliflower was a sticky sweet, slightly acidity and hot yuzu and chilli sauce which worked a treat in this dish.

Yardbird - London Food Blog - Korean fried cauliflower

Yardbird – Korean fried cauliflower

Sweet corn tempura with sea salt and chilli (HK$110 – about £11) was also good to try. The corn had almost “popped” and was very crunchy, and it worked well with the salt and chilli. This was a well-made dish, but it probably wouldn’t be something I’d order again as over time the corn became a little dry on the palate.

Yardbird - London Food Blog - Sweet corn tempura

Yardbird – Sweet corn tempura

Fried chicken with garlic and Kewpie (HK$165 – about £16.50) was just really, really good in the way that fried chicken ought to be. The batter was delectably crunchy and well seasoned, and the chicken was moist and juicy. And all of it was made all the tastier with the hints of garlic and the Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise for dipping.

Yardbird - London Food Blog - Fried chicken

Yardbird – Fried chicken

The food at Yardbird was, simply put, really delicious. The menu wasn’t extravagant or particularly fancy, but it was nevertheless very interesting. And everything was cooked with skill, care and precision. Surprisingly, for a menu designed with small plates in mind for sharing, we didn’t end up ordering as much as what I thought we might have done. With lots of fried items, everything proved to be really quite filling.

Yardbird is worth a visit – but you just have to endure the queues. Our wait on a Thursday evening was about two hours.

Summary Information:
Likes:

1) The Korean fried cauliflower
2) The chicken meatballs
3) The fried chicken
4) Welcoming, relaxed yet professional service


Dislikes:

1) The long queues

Food rating:
4/5
Service rating: 3.5/5

Price: About HK$350 to HK$450 (about £35 to £45) a head, excludes drinks and service.

Website: http://yardbird-restaurant.com/

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