Yummy yakiniku

The social spectacle of sizzling oil and smoking meat has been sorely missed since the suspension on dining out.

But now that the restrictions have been lifted slightly, yakiniku grills are being fired up again.

Soon after the government loosened social-distancing restrictions, Yakiniku Jikon at K11 Musea – an offshoot of omakase kaiseki spot Tominokoji Yamagishi – held its opening night.

The Japanese tenet of treating guests with great politeness is taken to heart. Using wagyu from a Tokyo supplier that has been in business for over a century, the ingredients are chosen and tasted by the team before being put on the menu.

Highly recommended are the three dinner set menus (from HK$688) – served at the eight-seat VIP area and cooked by the okami, or beef master, Hiromi Nomura.

Having trained and worked under yakiniku masters in Tokyo and possessing experience gained from wagyu farm and auctions, Nomura has mastered the art of cutting and grilling the meltingly soft meat.

“Weather and even slight changes in temperature or humidity can affect the quality of the meat,” she said. “So we should try our best to choose the most appropriate way to grill the meat so it is served to our guests in the best condition.”

To best savor the master’s cooking, go for the 10-course Jikon dinner set menu (HK$1,288). The comprehensive meal featuring daily special wagyu also comes with salad and soup, a choice of three mains and a homemade dessert.

Among the signature dishes is the first starter of smoked beef with caviar, served with a glass shield that gives off a tempting smoked cherry aroma when opened. Slow-cooked for two hours and simply seasoned with salt and garlic before being slightly roasted on the surface and garnished with a generous amount of caviar, the slices enhance the smoky flavor and are sure to whet the appetite.

Another favorite is the Beef Dog, a re-interpretation of Tominokoji Yamagishi’s must-have Uni Dog. Originally a roll of two layers of sea urchin, the new version contains an additional slice of wagyu served with barbecue sauce.

To get the full flavor, the chateaubriand, part of the sixth course, is a must-try. Nomura suggests kissing, not biting, the rolled-up meat as it melts immediately upon touching the lips and tongue.

There are 17 more affordable lunch set options (from HK$180) available, including A5 wagyu beef sukiyaki set (HK$290) and A5 wagyu beef cutlet set (HK$320).

All-you-can-eat yakiniku has always been popular and Yaki Oni in Causeway Bay has just upgraded its menu by adding an array of premium ingredients, including US prime beef hanger steak and Kagoshima red satsuma chicken.

Spanning 33 kinds of meat options, seafood, sushi and sashimi, hot dishes and mains, the menu allows guests to choose three levels (from HK$228) based on your appetite and budget.

A new highlight is the wagyu sushi in three sauces, including yuzu soy sauce, yuzu pepper sauce and a luxurious black truffle sauce.

Yakiniku doesn’t have to be enjoyed with a big party. It can also be a one-man affair, like at Yakiniku Like in New Town Plaza.

The city’s first solo yakiniku restaurant originating from Japan, Yakiniku Like offers eight affordable set menus (from HK$48) and 10 add-on meat options (from HK$28) – all of which are available in two or three portions.

The karubi set (from HK$48) is really good value for money, offering a high-quality beef short plate with fine marbling in an irresistibly great deal. The ultimate indulgence set of wagyu steak (from HK$158) features evenly marbled Australian wagyu that is tender, juicy and aromatic when grilled, delivering a gourmet pleasure.

(This article was published at The Standard on March 12, 2021: Weekend Glitz: Yummy yakiniku )

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