Brisbane Times | 21st July 2014

Fresh, bold and original – that’s the aim of stall holders at the Night Noodle Markets.

The 11-day event, presented by Brisbane Times Good Food Month, has given a number of Brisbane restaurants a chance to streamline their menus to suit the grab-and-go nature of street food eating.

Among them is Bird’s Nest Yakitori, which opened in West End last August and has been practically full every night since.

Owner Marie Yokoyama said it had taken time to educate diners about her restaurant’s particular specialty.

“People do tend to come through the door and ask for sashimi and sushi, so we’re just trying to cross that barrier,” she said.

“There’s much more to Japanese food.”

Yakitori translates as “grilled bird”, and at the Bird’s Nest stall diners can sample the restaurant’s signature dish – chicken thigh skewers roasted with shallots over specially imported white charcoal to seal in flavour.

But thighs are not the only part of the bird used. Ms Yokoyama said Bird’s Nest was one of the few Brisbane restaurants that did not freeze its chicken hearts.

“Our rule is after three days we chuck them in the bin and that’s it, so we only provide fresh hearts to our customers,” Yokoyama said.

“It’s a meaty texture, less chicken-like… done fresh there’s absolutely no bitterness to it, and it just tastes I would say like lamb.”

Other menu items included tomato and pork belly, as well as deep-fried tofu, supplied twice a week by an organic grower on the Gold Coast.

“It’s all about slow food,” Ms Yokoyama said of the benefits of Asian-style eating.

“In Western culture you get one big plate of food, whereas here you have a few skewers, a few drinks, see how you’re feeling, have a few more.”

The first weekend of the Night Noodle Markets broke all expectations, with Saturday night drawing 25,000 people.

The feast in the Cultural Forecourt continues until July 27.


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