Nose-to-tail chicken nirvana Yardbird
still holds the honour of being Hong Kong’s trendiest table, but the quiet arrival of little sibling RŌNIN this month signals an upcoming shift in the scene – namely, from loud and bustling to atmospheric and intimate. This is not where the differences end: where bright, bi-level Yardbird focuses on fowl and boasts a notorious no-reservations policy, RŌNIN accepts weekly bookings for the 14 coveted leather seats lining the dark, ambient bar, and is an ode to only the freshest seafood available from both local and international waters.
The daily changing menu from Chef Matt Abergel lists 10 cold and 10 hot dishes, with the jet-fresh likes of Ebisu rock oysters, Saba mackerel sashimi, and sweet Geoduck clam rounding out the chilled appetisers, while daily deep-fried karaage and melt-in-your-mouth A5 Kagoshima beef with maitake mushrooms and egg yolk are served piping hot.
Dining at the bar also affords a front-row view of the impressive lineup of Japanese whiskeys, with over 50 varieties from 10 distilleries (including a few rare and collectibles, like Ichiro Akuto’s ‘Floor Malted’ 3-year single malt, and Whiskies of Mars’ 1989 ‘Komagatake’ single cask malt, of which there were but 456 made), alongside sake, shochu, Hitachino White Nest Ale on tap, and a lengthy craft cocktail list. Elevated izakaya is what this team does best, and you’d do well to book as early as possible.