Rating: ★★★★☆

Address: Niseko-hirafu ski ground, Kutchan, Hokkaido 倶知安町ニセコひらふスキー場(ひらふ坂)

Telephone: +81 136-22-1480

http://niseko.or.jp/bangbang/?page_id=209

Bang 2, sister restaurant of the popular Bang Bang, is an izakaya (“居酒屋”) located very close to the Hirafu ski ground in Niseko. For those of you who are not familiar with the term, an izakaya is a place that serves drinks and accompanying foods at night, most popularly, yakitori. Bang 2 is famous for their mouthwatering ramen served at lunch, and for their tasty yakitori served at dinner. The restaurant was small but cosy, with many paintings decorating the cream-toned walls of the restaurant. Seemingly uncomplicated, each yakitori was a product of love and dedication by Saito san, the chef at Bang 2. We were really impressed by how much focused and devoted Saito san was while preparing the food, and it definitely inspired me to reflect on my own work ethics… As for the bill, we had a lot seafood and yakitori and a bit of sake and it came to around HK$800-900 per head, but I thought it was definitely worth the price!

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(1) Even though the restaurant was not known for sashimi, we had to seize the opportunity to order some toro just because we were in Japan and toro is simply shamefully overpriced in Hong Kong. There were some veins in the toro which made it a bit more chewy than we would have liked, but otherwise the rest of it melted adoringly in the mouth and the heavenly fattiness lingered for a long time.

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(2) We also ordered some uni sushi. There was no seaweed in it, just some uni on sushi rice – and it was the best thing ever.

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(3) We ordered some raclette-style grilled cheese on potato, and the cheese was grilled until gorgeously crispy on the surface. I tried very hard not to eat too much of that so I could save some stomach face for the yakitori that was to yet to come!

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(4) The lightly seasoned grilled potatoes were fluffy and enticing, but again I tried hard not to eat too much of them.

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(5) The grilled meats at Bang 2 were scrumptious. The grilled chicken and grilled pork had a fabulous smoky flavour, a fresh meaty taste and were tender and juicy.

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(6) The grilled mushrooms looked dark and wrinkly, but they tasted amazing, and were pillowy and bursted with juices when you bit into them.

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(7) The grilled cheese on courgette was very similar to the grilled cheese on potato (above), and the richness of the cheese perfectly complemented the lightness of the courgette. I managed to eat quite a few pieces of them as they were less filling than the grilled cheese on potato!

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(8) This grilled egg looked plain and I almost wanted to skip it when there were so many other choices on the table, but I decided to try a bit and it turned out to be marvellous! The eggs were wondrously soft and juicy on the inside, and the mild sweetness sent the taste buds onto an enjoyable ride.

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(9) We had some grilled spider crab and they definitely lived up to Hokkaido’s reputation for its pristine seafood. The crab meat was butter-smooth and toothpaste-white, and were bursting with fresh flavours of the sea!

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(10) The best thing about grilling food is that the juices will all be sealed, and this characteristic was epitomized by the grilled fish we ordered. The skin was delectably crispy and thin, but it was the meat inside that produced some happy faces at our table – it was incredibly moist, soft and juicy. A minimalistic sprinkle of salt was all that was needed to bring out the flavours of the fish.

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(11) The vegetables in the salads tasted natural and fresh, and we particularly adored the refreshing crunch of the bean sprouts.

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(12) This was the bacon wrapped grilled aubergine, wrapped with a delightfully thin piece of bacon. As I was very full already, I was thinking whether to stuff myself with more food, but thanks to inherent greediness I tried it in the end. The bacon was so beautifully grilled and crispy that it tasted like a piece of savoury wafer, and formed a lovely contrast with the soft, warm aubergine in the middle.

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