Japanese yakitori restaurants have quickly become a hit throughout Hong Kong's dining scene within the last year or so. Keyaki, a relatively newer Japanese kushiyaki restaurant, is no exception to this trend of high quality skewers of all sorts. The dishes at Keyaki were fresh, full of flavour, and some of them even left our mouths hanging open in awe.
Keyaki is a quaint Japanese grill and sake bar tucked away in the heart of Central that delivers mouth-watering kushiyaki. Once you've tried their food, this place will be hard to forget!
What makes Keyaki different than other Japanese skewer restaurants in Hong Kong, is that it sets itself apart by using real charcoal to grill their skewers, adding to their distinct aroma and flavour.
You'll feel instantly welcome when you walk inside; their waitstaff are friendly and approachable. The restaurant is quite small, with mainly seats at the bar, making it a great place to go for a date or with a friend. Sitting at the bar is all part of the dining experience here at Keyaki, as you are able to watch the chefs prepare each dish over the large charcoal grill.
The sake was carefully chosen by the talented manager and was expertly poured, letting the sake flow over the glass and into the holder.
To start, we had the seaweed salad ($48) and dried cod strips ($45). The salad was covered with a tasty miso dressing and the cod strips were a mix of salty and sweet when dipped in mayonnaise.
Moving onto the kushiyaki was the grilled corn ($25) and tofu with onion ($28) where we got our first glimpse of how using a charcoal grill can really transform the smell and taste of a dish. The corn was juicy and fresh, and the texture of the tofu was smooth, contrasting with the grilled outer layer and onions on top.
Of the yakitori we tried were the the home-made minced chicken skewers served with a raw egg and tare sauce made in-house from scratch ($42), JP A4 Wagyu ribeye ($108), chicken liver ($34), miso pork ribs ($45), chicken wings ($38), and the spare ribs 130g ($158). All of these meat skewers were right on point: seasoned, marinated, and grilled to perfection.
You know when someone says, "that melted in my mouth!" about a piece of really good food? Well, this wagyu LITERALLY melted in our mouths. It was a truly magical food moment that will be cherished.
For the vegetable dishes we enjoyed the gingko ($28), lady fingers ($32), shiitake mushrooms ($28), little sweet potatoes ($28), grilled rice balls with soya and miso ($38), and their delightful cheese mochi ($48).
Moving onto the world down under, the seafood here was more than enjoyable. We tried the abalone ($MP), clam ($58), salmon and rice in bonito soup ($55), and a seafood/seashell special that was one of the most interesting seafood dishes we've had - after you finished eating all of the seafood inside the shell, you then poured the remaining soup base into a little cup to drink!
Skewer after skewer and dish after dish, our taste-buds were beyond satisfied. This lavish meal was finished off with a scoop of citrus ice cream ($38), which was refreshing and smooth, and had little pieces of dried citrus skin throughout.
Before we sauntered out the door with our full bellies, we were able to get our hands on a bottle of White Truffle beer. Keyaki directly imports this beer from Japan along with a wasabi and mango flavoured beer. The smell was subtle, but you could really taste the hints of truffle while drinking it.
They also have a happy hour from 6:00 - 8:00, where you'll get 3 chicken skewers and a Niigata beer for $68.
Keyaki offers its customers a cozy and authentic Japanese setting to sit back and enjoy their wide variety of kushiyaki and sake.
Keyaki; 14 Wo On Lane, Central