Robata Zawazawa

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 June, 2011, 12:00am


LG/F, 41 Wyndham Street, Central
Tel: 2536 9898
Open: Monday-Thursday 5pm-midnight (last order at 11pm), Friday and Saturday 5pm-3am (last order at 2am)
Cuisine: Japanese robata and kushiyaki (skewers)

Price: about HK$320 without drinks and the service charge.

Ambience: it's a tiny restaurant with only 10 counter seats around the open kitchen and three two-top tables. It's so small that you only have to look up briefly to catch the eye of the friendly servers and main chef.

Pros: on the night we visited, women were given a complimentary drink - cocktail, beer or soft drink - so I had a refreshing yuzu bellini. Besides the cocktails, the drinks list has interesting sake (including fruit-infused flavours) and shochu available by the glass and bottle.

Cons: the skewered guts (large intestines) with teriyaki sauce (actually, it seemed more like miso), HK$25, were tough and chewy. An appetiser of ebi shinjo (fried pork dumpling with yuzu lemon miso sauce, HK$55) was dull after a few bites.

Recommended dishes: the same shrimp and pine nut combination that went into the ebi shinjo was used in the chef's special of green chilli with shrimp filling (HK$40), in which it was far more interesting because it contrasted with the flavour and texture of the grilled chilli. From the grill came sunagimo (chicken gizzard, HK$25), which was tender, while the buta ume shiso rolls (pork with plum paste and perilla, HK$35) were juicy bursts of intense flavour. We thoroughly enjoyed the light Japanese cabbage salad with onsen tamago and sesame paste dressing (HK$55) as well as the slightly sweet, mildly flavoured hand-made fish cake (HK$60). The Japanese guest sitting next to me ordered the tanuki udon (HK$50) and ate it with such relish that I wanted to have a bowl. It was a great way to finish off the meal - the thick, chewy noodles came with flakes of fried tempura batter and dried sakura ebi, all of which softened in the broth, with a small blob of intense yuzu kosho (yuzu and green chilli paste) that the diner can mix in as desired.

What else? The entrance to the restaurant is down a set of steep steps leading off Wyndham Street.