With the winter weather in full flow in Hong Kong, it’s hard not to want to stay at home in your PJs with a cup of hot tea and a good movie! But having bummed at home throughout the CNY holidays, I finally got my butt out of bed and headed out for some trusty yakitori at Torimen on Elgin Street.
If you haven’t had much yakitori in Hong Kong, then this is definitely the season to get into it! Opened by the same team behind whisky bar Banker, Torimen is a fun and casual space, decked out largely in monochrome but with some cool Japanese anime-style art to add interest on the walls; take your pick between normal seats, the large communal tables in the centre or bar stools at the open kitchen. This is a great place to sit down with delicious skewered food and a cold beer after a hard day’s work, where the aromatic smokiness of the grill is certain to lure any hungry (and cold!) passersby.
Those who have read my reviews will know I’m not much of a drinker and any indulgence in alcohol is a rarity – but I simply could not resist the cocktails at Torimen! The first was a special cocktail with homemade rosemary syrup, passion fruit, lemon and Bacardi rum – and I hope the photo speaks for itself! The second cocktail was a ridiculously yummy concoction of Japanese candy grape sweetness – definitely one for those of you with a sweet tooth.
Our meal started off with the onsen tamago salad – loosely translated as the “hot spring egg” salad. Once the beautiful slow-cooked egg is broken, be prepared for all your veggies to be coated with creamy smooth eggy goodness. With some truffle sprinkled on top, this was one of the yummiest salads I’ve eaten in Hong Kong!
I’m a big fan of squid, so I literally gobbled up our next dish! Sweet and hot from the yuzu wasabi, this also had a lovely smoky flavour thanks to the charred exterior of the squid. This dish hit it on all points!
Two staples in a yakitori meal for me are the ox tongue and kalbi (beef short ribs). While the ox tongue at Torimen was a bit too tough for me, the kalbi was succulent and wonderfully marinated.
A more surprising choice was Torimen’s apple pork dumpling, and the contrast of the smoky pork and crunchy apple proved incredibly moreish.
We then had a bit of a break from the meat with Torimen’s veggies. My favourite by far were the tiny sweet potatoes, which were wonderfully starchy, with little gingko nuts adding perfect pops of chewiness.
A Torimen signature is their minced chicken stick stuffed with cheese. It wasn’t my pick of the night and I wished it had come out hotter – but if you’re a fan of all things eggy, cheesy and chicken-y, this is your must-order for the night!
However, the shredded eggplant, although not the most photogenic of dishes, was a real winner, thanks to those smoky grill marks and a generous handful of bonito flakes (my fave!) over the top.
After yakitori overload, we wrapped our meal up with Torimen’s ebi ramen. This shrimp based soup with “Level 1” spiciness was incredibly rich and dense, and a pleasant change to the usual tonkotsu or shoyu ramen that seems to be everywhere else in Hong Kong. I’d definitely come back to Torimen for this alone!
For yakitori that’s simple and flavourful, Torimen will definitely hit the spot. Skewers range between $30-80 whilst ramen is around $70, so depending on your mood and hunger levels, you could spend merely a little or quite a lot here! The surprise of the night were definitely the delicious cocktails which kept me happy all night long. If you’re looking for someplace new for an after-work gathering or some delish smoky snacks, then Torimen is a place to count on for some yummy-tori!
Torimen Shop 1-2, G/F, Soho, Central, 1-5 Elgin Street, Central, Hong Kong
2546 8008 www.facebook.com/…