New & noted: Yakimon in Central – Japanese restaurant wows away from the grill
While the venue prides itself on its grilled food, the real winners of the night were the mizuna salad and matcha crème brûlée dessert
The restaurants in the building at 8 Lyndhurst Terrace in Central seem to change quite frequently. Yakimon, on the third floor, occupies a space that previously housed an Italian restaurant, and before that, a yakiniku restaurant. Yakimon’s speciality is grilled dishes, although they weren’t necessarily our favourites.
From the list of daily specials, what was listed as chicken kidney (HK$38 per skewer) was actually the giblet. It had been trimmed well, so the chewier pieces were removed, and the meat was moist and crunchy. Chicken liver with sauce (HK$38/skewer) was not the best version we’ve tasted; the organ meat was slightly overcooked. Chicken skin with salt (HK$35/skewer) was crunchy and addictive.
Japanese eel kabayaki (HK$178) wasn’t as fatty as other eel that we’ve tasted but the tare sauce was appropriately lighter, and the dish had a good amount of char.
Thick-cut ox tongue steak (HK$98), available in limited quantities, was slightly pink inside; the meat was succulent and tender, and the crisp garlic on top added flavour and texture.
The ‘impromptu smoked mentaiko’ (HK$138) wasn’t at all impromptu: our friendly waitress warned us to get our cameras ready as she served it. The cod roe came covered with a glass cup, which the waitress lifted away to reveal a puff of smoke. It came with what she called potato pancakes, which, with their oily, slightly chewy texture, somewhat resembled pan-fried neen goh served at Chinese New Year. It was an interesting combination but seemed a bit pricey.
We disliked the deep-fried tofu with garlic miso butter (HK$68). The bean curd was dry, and would have been better with a light sauce. The garlic in the miso coating tasted too raw.
Our favourite savoury dish was the mizuna salad with mixed mushrooms, black figs and ponzu sesame dressing (HK$98). The salad had a great mix of flavours and textures: bitter and crunchy (from the mizuna), sweet and soft (from the plentiful amount of peeled figs), and umami (from the mushrooms), with the creamy and rich dressing bringing everything together.
The tsukune don (HK$158) – minced chicken rice ball over rice with steamed egg and foie gras chawanmushi – was a delicious, comforting bowl. Unfortunately the yaki chicken onigiri (HK$108) was served at the same time, and the rich chicken broth, poured into the sizzling hot stone pot, was absorbed by the rice before we had the chance to eat it, turning it into a thick and pasty congee.
Dessert was the best course of the night. Matcha crème brûlée (HK$78) isn’t original, but it was very well done, with just the right balance of bitterness from the matcha and sweetness from the burnt sugar. The various shades of green – green tea crumble, green tea biscuits, green tea foam – were offset by the white tofu ice cream.
Yakimon, 3/F, 8 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, tel: 2896 1838. About HK$365 without drinks or the service charge.
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