Monday, 23 April 2012

Still Ruling the Roost

Chicken oyster skewers with lemon wedges
Yardbird opened a year ago and it fast became the trendiest joint in town.

The concept is yakitori, as the vast majority of the skewers are around parts of the chicken, from wings and hearts to knees and necks.
The sweet corn tempura were a hit -- twice!

Every morning the restaurant gets fresh local chickens and the staff spend most of the day carefully carving them up so there's hardly any wastage. Also once an item on the menu runs out that day, that's it. You just have to come back again.

Oh and did I mention there's no reservations?

New York style, it's first-come-first served and you can wait by the bar and ply yourself with drinks before having any food, or you can eat at the bar or stand by a counter and eat with friends.

The place is so friendly and casual, most customers don't seem to care where they are as long as they have their drinks in hand.

Brussels srpouts with fried garlic flakes
My friend YTSL really wanted to try Yardbird and I was worried we wouldn't be able to get a seat; we had a plan B and C in mind.

We strategically chose a Monday -- tonight -- and were impressed to see it already busy after 7pm.

At first we were told we'd have to wait about 45 minutes to which my friend thought we might as well stay and had a drink.

Then we noticed there were open spots by the bar and asked if we could sit there.

Gizzard skewers topped with more garlic flakes
No problem -- except it can be really noisy there so you have to almost shout to your dining companion. But the friendly service staff make up for the loud volume and of course the food.

We quickly ordered and soon they arrived. First came the sweet corn tempura, the corn niblets shaped into balls that were coated in batter and deep fried. They are the perfect accompaniment to beer. And they were so good my coworker had to have another plate.

Then came one of the specials, stirfried brussels sprouts with soy sauce and topped with fried garlic chips. I have to say I dislike brussels sprouts with a passion, but here they were more bearable thanks to the garlic. YTSL just wanted to eat the rest of the garlic... like chips.

The grilled tail for curious diners
Next came the grilled gizzard and boy they were delicious! We savoured each bite, also topped with garlic chips and I had an order of the tail which was a bit fatty, but also chewy. Another plate of oysters came -- chicken oysters -- which are round pieces of dark meat on the back of the bird near the thigh. These were meaty and flavourful, accompanied with lemon wedges for an extra zing.

And we also had another special, of asparagus with an onsen egg, or slow-poached egg. The server broke the yolk and mixed the asparagus with sesame seeds, seaweed and bread crumbs. It was a great play on textures, crunchy, hard and soft.

Hitachino Nest pale ale
Oh and yes the beers. YTSL started with a Sapporo draft and then we moved onto the Hitachino Nest pale ale in bottles. She was quite impressed with the selection of microbrews, as well as the restaurant's own sake.

The place was still hopping when we left after 9pm... and we pondered when would be the next time we'd visit Yardbird...

Yardbird
33-35 Bridges Street
Sheung Wan
2547 9273
www.yardbirdrestaurant.com

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