Review: Nan Tei
2/F Bigfoot Centre, 38 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay
Tel: 3118 2501
Open: noon-3pm, 6pm-2am
Cuisine: Japanese specialising in yakitori and kushiyaki
Price: about HK$200 without drinks or the service charge.
Ambience: dark and noisy. Except for some booths along one wall, tables are very close together.
Pros: prices here are reasonable and skewers are served in pairs, unless otherwise noted.
Cons: service was friendly enough, but rather shambolic. There's usually a system in place that lets the cooks know which dishes for each table have been cooked, and the servers know that each dish has been brought to the customers, but that seemed to have broken down. On two occasions they brought us the same dish twice, one dish we ordered never came (despite us asking for it again), and they tried serving us one dish we did not order. The fish in salmon with bacon (HK$56) was overcooked. The sweet corn (HK$40) was not sweet.
Recommended dishes: there's an art to eating tomato wrapped with bacon (HK$42) so that you don't burn yourself - carefully bite the tip of the tomato to let out some of the steam, let it cool, then eat. The smoky flavour of the bacon went well with the sweet, juicy tomato. For the same reason - avoidance of second-degree burns - care must also be taken with the mochi stuffed with cheese (HK$42). It sounds an unlikely combination but it was our favourite dish of the evening. The molten hot cheese was encased in the chewy mochi, and the whole thing wrapped in a sheet of nori, which added a delicate crunch. We also liked the nicely charred chicken wings stuffed with cheese (HK$60). The grilled rice ball with cod roe (HK$42 for two) was good for its different textures.
What else? Branches in Soho and Happy Valley.