Newly opened Jan Jan Kushikatsu in Wan Chai – tasty grilled and fried Japanese skewers

Friendly staff and good prices, but lack of ventilation means this is an experience that lingers – on your clothes

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 March, 2016, 12:30pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 March, 2016, 11:51pm

A restaurant specialising in kushikatsu (fried skewers) that has branches in Osaka and Tokyo has opened in Wan Chai near Pacific Place Three. Jan Jan Kushikatsu offers value for money, but beware – unless the ventilation is improved, you’ll end up smelling like the cooked food when you leave.

Jan Jan Kushikatsu is minimalist with a bar table running around the small kitchen, a few tables off to the side and a semi-private room that was filled with boisterous Japanese diners the evening we went.

We put our coats and bags inside wooden boxes that doubled as our seats, then examined the menu, which is written on small sheets of paper. Staff are friendly and helpful in giving suggestions.

The menu lists appetisers, kushikatsu [fried items], kushiyaki [grilled ones], mains and desserts, all moderately priced. While we waited for our food, we were given a plate of cabbage to dip into a thick flavourful soy sauce, which balances out the richness of the grilled and deep-fried food.

Japanese tomato (HK$44) is served on a leaf on ice with some salt. But we found the tomato so sweet and refreshing, there was no need to add extra seasoning.

Next came the daikon salad (HK$43), a medley of greens and cherry tomatoes topped with thin slices of the white radish with a soy dressing and bonito flakes.While it had a nice presentation, the salad was not very interesting.

Then our kushikatsu items began arriving.

The prawns (HK$25 each) were overcooked and tough, but we liked the taste of the chicken wrapped in shiso (HK$24), the green leaf adding a sharper flavour to the meat. The chicken meatball (HK$27) is good, too.

The half-cooked egg (HK$22) is a fried egg roll that comes in a rectangular cake shape with grated radish. While it was nicely presented, the portion is a bit too much for two people.

We liked the grilled chorizo (HK$25) skewers, but the beef (HK$38) ones didn’t have much taste. Deep-fried chicken wings (HK$22) topped with sesame seeds were delicious.

The chef invited us to try the deep-fried kisu fish (HK$32) on the house and we were glad we did. It was cooked just right, a crisp coating surrounding the tender fish meat.

For dessert, the yuzu sherbet (HK$27) hit the spot, though the castella cake (HK$35) looked tempting.

Afterwards, though, we could really smell the food on our clothes, and we hope the ventilation is improved soon.

Jan Jan Kushikatsu, 2/F, 100 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, tel: 2157 1408