4/F Soho Square
21 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central
Tel: 2164 8008
Cuisine: Japanese, specialising in robatayaki
Price: HK$250, not including drinks or the service charge.
Ambience: the outdoor terrace has a romantic vibe, with votive candles twinkling on bar-high tables. Inside, there is an open kitchen, partially screened with glass, around which is a counter that seats 10. Dark-mirrored panels and contemporary furniture give it an urban-chic appearance.
Pros: service with a smile made up for small bloopers. We appreciated our waiter's description of portion sizes, which stopped us from over-ordering. Dessert - a small scoop of mochi ice cream with fruit cut into floral shapes - was complimentary.
Cons: service was a tad slow, despite there being only two other tables occupied on the weeknight we were there. A waiter forgot to deliver the simplest dish - chilled tofu (HK$40), imported from Japan. The mixed tempura (HK$100) was neither light nor crispy: it was oily, probably because the batter wasn't ice cold when the morsels were fried. Wonderful typos in the menu abound, including lamb crop and cheery tomato.
Recommended: we picked clean the horse mackerel (HK$110), one of the half-dozen specials. The fish, simply grilled and seasoned with salt, was served whole, with a wedge of lemon. A thick chunk of black cod (saikyo yaki, HK$80) provided an interesting contrast in taste and texture: sweet, with a hint of charcoal-charred bitterness. Both dishes came with cucumber flavoured with a sublime topping of minced chicken mixed with peanut and sesame sauce. The grilled squid, another popular robatayaki dish, was a generous portion served with a dollop of mayonnaise. A surprise was the softness of the meat.
What else? Sake fans can indulge their taste for the rice wine. Piyo Piyo also serves shochu and Japanese whiskies. One floor below is sister restaurant, Yachiyo Ramen.