Monday, October 22, 2012

Hong Kong - Chikayaki 千賀燒

This place certainly has a lot of mixed reviews and a lot of one-time reviews on the Openrice machine, that you have to wonder how much of it is actually based on actual eating experiences.  I've been on 2 occasions in the last couple of months and only because I happen to be in the CWB area, and old favorite Rakuen is hard to get into without a reservation.  There is a lot of apprehension walking into Chikayaki because it is just so quiet.  On my first visit, there were just 2 tables (including mine).  On the second, it was a little more boisterous (5 including mine).. 

But the food isn't bad.  Well, it won't be the best Japanese restaurant you've eaten at in the CWB area, but you won't come away feeling like you've had a bad meal.  And the big plus is not having to fuss about getting in nor getting a reservation.  And it's quiet so you can actually have a decent conversation unlike most low-ceilinged Japanese eateries. 

Fish salad
The menu is pretty wide and you can order a good range of things depending on what you're in the mood for.  I am pretty fussy about my sashimi and sushi so I won't go overboard here since it's not going to give you a lot of satisfaction. 

Pacific Saury (if you can spot them underneath the garden)
But they do some creative work with the fish they have, which makes it pretty tasty since it not all just about the fish.  So you do cut them some slack.

Soft boiled egg with Uni and salmon roe
This is one combination which you cannot get sick of.  In this case, this was the only hiccup with service we faced, which was otherwise friendly and competent.  We were told that they couldn't serve this because the chef let the egg overcook and that it would take too long to make another one.  When we said we could wait for the next egg, they were almost disappointed and had to have a mini conference with the chef before agreeing to make another order.  A little bizarre since it wasn't that late but we were served this towards the end of the meal. 

Grilled chicken "knuckles", squid "mouths" and minced chicken
Japanese Shishitos, cod fish and Wagyu beef
Grilled items lived up to the "yaki" in its name and are enjoyable even if just a tad over salted.  The minced chicken and cod were most enjoyable of the choices we got.  Perhaps the salt factor was the ploy to get you to load up on beer or sake.  But I was quite happy with my Kyoho grape calpis soda and downed a couple easily. 

Inaniwa udon in fish soup
To end, this bowl of rich fish broth loaded with lotsa veggies was a comfort send off.  Hearty but not heavy, this was goodness in a bowl.  

This is not a bad alternative to Irori in the same building even if it's not as good but perhaps budding establishments just need that second chance.  After all, competition keeps everyone honest and the consumer is the ultimate winner. 

7/F, Bartlock Centre
3 Yiu Wa Street
Causeway Bay
Tel: +852-2156 0503

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