Address: G/F, Greenville, 2 Glenealy, Central 中環己連拿利2號翠怡閣地舖
Telephone: 2388 7717
Toritama, an authentic “neighbourhood Yakitori joint” from Tokyo which is immensely popular over there, has just opened their first outlet in Hong Kong on Glenealy, right next to Fish and Meat. This Japanese chain is famous for their menu which offers skewers of over 20 different chicken parts and their special seasonings.
The Hong Kong outlet is brightly lit and inviting, comprising a semi-open kitchen where the skewers are carefully grilled before you and around 20 or so bar table seats. As I have not been to any of the Tokyo outlets before, I decide to have the full experience by ordering the Omakse Course at $588 per head, which comes with 12 skewers, Chef’s recommendation of sides and rice, chicken soup and an ice cream.
After we order, we are asked whether we are fine with eating chicken internal organs, and we reply in the affirmative. On the back of the menu are diagrams showing you the different cuts of chicken meat and the various internal organs, so that you can understand exactly which part of the chicken you are eating!
We are served with some vegetable sticks, grated daikon with raw egg and a small seasonal salad. These are light and refreshing, and are a great precursor for our meats-filled meal to come.
The chicken meatball arrives, which is beautifully grilled on the surface and has a great bite.
This is followed by the root of chicken tail (left of 1st photo below), liver (right of 1st photo below), heart (2nd photo below) and gizzard (3rd photo below). The chicken tail is surprisingly delicious, covered in a layer of marvellously grilled, fatty chicken skin. The liver and gizzard have an attractively firm texture, but the heart is a tad too pungent for me.
The Japanese green pepper offers a nice break from the intense chicken feast, but is a tad too salty.
The thigh with leeks is fantastically juicy, tender and well seasoned.
The chest soft bone and the oesophagus both have an interesting soft-crunchy texture, but the flavours are not particularly memorable.
The asparagus is impressively delicate and fresh.
The shoulder skewer is clean-tasting and is seasoned with a delicious spicy paste, and the ginko nuts, minimally seasoned with salt, are enticingly soft and have an irresistible natural flavour.
It is worth clarifying that there is certainly enough food on the Omakase course, but after we see the diners sitting next to us order the Provolone cheese ($58) and chicken wings ($42), we decide to order them as well and these turn out to be worth both the calories and the stomach space! The Provolone cheese is unforgettably crispy and flavour-packed, and the chicken wings taste fantastic.
The Omakase course also comes with a large chicken and egg rice bowl, which is hot and satisfying, and a bowl of deeply flavoured chicken soup.
The meal is rounded off with a scoop of soy sauce ice cream, with a hint of saltiness which helps the dessert go a long way. The only other place in Hong Kong where I have tried a soy sauce ice cream is Mott 32, and I definitely prefer the version here at Toritama.
The food at Toritama is overall delicious and well-executed, and the service is courteous, helpful and friendly. My only complaint is that the restaurant uses an electric grill as opposed to an open-fire grill, therefore the skewers are less char-grilled than I would like, but on the upside there is much less smoke within the restaurant! We are being adventurous in ordering the head-to-tail chicken Omakase course, but on hindsight, I would recommend trying more of the other skewers (e.g. pork belly, Provolone cheese, etc.), which might be tastier than some of the rare chicken bits!