Here we go, review no. 1 and it’s one I’ve waited ages to try – Sumi Yakitori (炭) in Causeway Bay.
It was a normal weekday night at 7:30pm as a friend and I stumbled around Lockhart Road. It’s actually down an alley that you’d probably never go down, with the only signs outside the building lobby being for some rather shady establishments. Upon arrival we found the door closed, private kitchen style. As I was trying the door, a viewing slit slid open and we were let in.
The decor was suitably “yakitori joint”, with sake bottle labels on the walls and everyone sat in a communal space with an open kitchen to one side. All too often tables at restaurants in HK are packed shoulder to shoulder, but fortunately this wasn’t the case here. As it was a weekday night, the half-occupied tables were mostly young twentysomethings and office workers.
As time was tight, we only ordered five things:
- Grilled bacon and cherry tomato roll skewer (燒煙肉番茄卷) ($32)
- Grilled ox tongue skewer (牛脷串燒)($55)
- Grilled chicken cartilage skewer (燒雞軟骨)($28)
- Grilled chicken with shiso (perilla, a herb) and plum sauce skewer (紫蘇雞肉)($28)
- Grilled lamb chop (羊扒燒)($80)
Note that the prices for skewers are per single skewer.
We were given a compulsory starter of sorts, a small potato salad with a cherry tomato, crabstick and cucumber stick. The cherry tomato was fresh and juicy. The rest of the salad was decent, nothing extraordinary, but it did its job. What was a bit of a downer was that it was given to you but costs $28 (per head), the same price as many of their skewers.
First to arrive was the bacon and cherry tomato roll skewer. We were warned that the tomato inside was hot, and even after a while it still was. A good sign I suppose, as it was full of juice. The bacon was done nicely with just a slight charring on the edge, and the salty touch was interesting with the sweet tomato. A unique dish from this place.
Soon after was the ox tongue. This was really what I was waiting for, as out of all the farm animals I’ve made out with, ox is the best. It was thick cut and flavourful, quite firm but not so much that it was chewy. A smear of mustard added some extra kick. Good job.
The chicken cartilage came next. It was crunchy, predominantly salty and you could also taste a bit of the spices they used – more flavourful than in other yakitori places. Only downside was that there wasn’t much to go around!
More chicken followed, this time the chicken with shiso and plum sauce. The meat was plump and cooked well but it was kind of overwhelmed by the sourness.
After I think 40 minutes from ordering came the lamb rack. The size explained why it took so long, as we got two pretty big ribs with a good-sized chunk of meat (which they helped separate from the bone for us as we were sharing). It was pink in the centre and not chewy or burned, and there was some mustard to spice it up a bit as the taste of lamb can get repetitive.
So, four skewers and half a chunk of lamb later, I was at the “pleasantly satisfied” stage of fullness; scientists put this at approximately 73.5% full. Overall, everything was served piping hot off the grill and as you know you just can’t beat that fresh taste. The service was friendly and our tea was refilled constantly. However, if good value to you means being stuffed, it might be an expensive venture for you here: after 10% service it was $232 each. You may want to mix it up with some (more filling) main dishes and a surgical strike on the more unique skewers.
A final friendly warning: I read elsewhere that on busier nights there might be some smokers lighting up, and although there were no smokers that night, because of the smoke wafting from the open grill nearby, everything on you WILL smell like BBQ!
Thanks to Paul for the use of his camera as mine is still under repair.
Restaurant rating: NOM NOM NOM N- (out of five).
Address: 9/F, Evernew House, 485 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay 銅鑼灣駱克道485號恆景大廈9樓 (Google map here.)
Tel: 2980 3312
Opening hours: Mon – Sat, 7-10pm
I hope you enjoyed this first review and do come back for more next Friday! Please leave a comment below if you have any feedback, and share this post if you liked it!