One of these days we’re going to get to Japan, amongst the many other destinations that we are itching to head to, but for now we’re content with new discoveries like Bird’s Nest Yakitori Bar in West End.
The restaurant opened last year, modelling itself on the many yakitori (serving grilled skewers) bars in Japan, bringing something a bit different to the Brisbane dining scene. Yakitori is traditionally cooked over white charcoal (Binchoutan), which the restaurant has specifically imported straight from Japan to get that authenticity. White charcoal has an incredibly high burning point, and imparts great flavour onto the food. All skewers at the restaurant are grilled to order. We found a very busy, vibrant restaurant awaiting us as we entered on a Saturday evening.
There are several set menus available but we decided on the smaller 7 skewer set ($25 each) as we wished to have a few other side dishes to try.
We ordered a beer for L, he decided to try Orion, a beer from Okinawa, and I ordered a Yuzu shu (Japanese citrus wine) for myself, but there is also an extensive sake menu available, Asahi draft on tap, Shochu cocktails and then traditional red and white wine suspects.
We were presented with a little amuse bouche of a small bowl of Chicken broth, which looked clear and delicate but upon sipping it, we realised it was absolutely packed with delicious lipsmacking chicken flavour!
Our first order arrived; we decided to go with a side of Zaru Tofu, organic silken tofu with dressings of Himalayan salt, soy sauce, olive oil and shallots. The tofu was cold and fresh, deliciously simple topped off with a slight sprinkle of plain salt, but I did enjoy adding soy to it for additional flavour.
Our skewers started to arrive in quick succession; firstly was Chicken Tenderloin with wasabi mayonnaise (one of my favourites of the evening) and Chicken thigh with shallot which was crispy and flavoursome.
Then Chicken Thigh with lemon arrived: a simple skewer of chicken thigh with cracked pepper, it came with a small wedge of lemon to squeeze over. This skewer really showed off the smokey flavours of the white charcoal.
Chicken wings which again had lemon and cracked pepper were arranged with precision on the skewer. We were instructed to hold onto the bone with one hand as we ate, these were crunchy and moreish.
Chicken tail had a strong flavour of sesame oil to it, and was the only skewer in the set that used “interesting” chicken meat. Other skewers that can be ordered separately include; chicken heart, chicken liver, chicken arteries and chicken cartilage.
Tomato wrapped in thinly sliced pork belly was one of our favourites, although we had to wait a bit for it to cool, scared of hot tomato juices burning our mouths. This one was absolutely delicious, I love tomato!
Chicken meatballs were the last skewer; I am not a normal fan of chicken mince, but these meatballs were deliciously juicy, and had great flavour.
We also ordered a side of the house specialty, Yaki Onigiri, Rice balls (or triangles rather) brushed with tare and grilled to a crisp. They were dense, but had a real sweetness and caramelisation to the exterior. I thought they would have been rather boring, but we loved these!
We finished off with dessert; a small jar of Ginger creme brulee that was a little eggy but provided a sweet ending to a great meal (not included in the 7 skewer set).
Bird’s Nest Yakitori & Bar is such a special dining experience that we are glad to have enjoyed. Next time we might order from the menu as we go, and try some of the other interesting skewer options!
CBird’s Nest Yakitori & Bar Shop 5, 220 Melbourne Street South Brisbane Ph 07 3844 4306 Open 7 Days for Dinner and also Friday for Lunch www.birdsnestrestaurant.com.au