KUNSTKAMMER | CABINET OF CURIOSITIES | 25th Aug 2013
Traditionally, Yakitori-ya are small restaurants or stands that purvey delicious grilled skewers over ‘binchotan’ – white charcoal.
They are often found clustered in alleyways or streets, and are particularly popular amongst office workers to snack on the way home.
Yakitori means skewed chicken, but the term has come to represent all types of skewers (poultry and non poultry!)
Just like tapas – these little bites are designed to go with a crisp beer and or sake / shochu!
On our recent trip to Tokyo our friends took us to these little hidden nooks cramped with over 10 little grills (some were hidden under old train tracks!)
So. We were thrilled to hear that a new yakitori-ya Birds Nest has nestled up in West End!
Bookings are highly recommended as they fill up quite quickly (in fact when they first opened their doors it took me two weeks to get a booking for a Sat night lol!)
We sat at the counter and was very close to the action just like in Japan, the customers would cosy up to the fire and you can see a yakitori-ya from the distance due to the smoke the white charcoal effectively absorbs odours (we didn’t really smell after eating!)and supposedly charcoal has a lot of health benefits (thus you will find a lot of beauty products in Japan that contains charcoal).
We watched the chefs (side note – the head chef is gorgeous) fan the grills and prepare the skewers, and they handed us the skewers on a slate slab over the counter,
patiently explaining the different ingredients and preparation methods of each dish!
Their skewers are prepared in ‘shio’ Himalayan salt or ‘tare’ – a Birds Nest secret sauce I loved all the chicken innards (mmm) as well as the fresh Shiitake and King Oyster mushrooms