Press

That is why, eight years after opening, Yardbird remains one of the most popular and influential restaurants in Hong Kong, a city with no shortage of amazingly delicious food. Chefs from all over consider Yardbird their clubhouse when they visit the city: It’s a place they often say they wish they had opened themselves.

Yardbird in Hong Kong is ingredient-obsessed (it’s all about chicken), democratic (it doesn’t take reservations) and design-centric (it celebrates skateboard art). And chefs around the world are paying attention.

When [Masa] Takayama was asked to name the best up-and-coming chef in the world, it was a surprise to hear his choice was Matt Abergel, the owner of Yardbird, a hip spot in Hong Kong that specializes in chicken. It turns out, though, that Abergel and Takayama share the same culinary philosophy (use the freshest ingredients and express them cleanly and simply), and both value attention to detail in every aspect of their restaurants.

“Sharing is caring”, according to this trendy yakitori restaurant, where diners are encouraged to order small plates to be split across the table. Canadian head chef Matt Abergel takes a beak-to-tail approach in the kitchen, skewering every part of the chicken to make his yakitori, from neck and heart to knee and tail. Throw in great cocktails and excellent beers, hip young staff and loud music and it's no surprise that Yardbird has been a smash hit with Hong Kong's in-crowd since day one.

It’s very much considered a hot spot and it's quite the scene—but not in a distasteful way... As for the food, the dishes are damn good. Flavorful yakitori skewers are the highlights—but the salads and rice options are not to be underestimated. Beyond that, the extensive sake, shochu, and Japanese whisky selection truly blows my mind. Very few Stateside establishments offer what Yardbird does.

The creation of Matt Abergel, formerly of Masa in New York and Hong Kong's Zuma, Yardbird is a self-described Japanese gastropub and has won rave reviews for its nose-to-tail chicken yakitori. But it's worth a visit for the drinks alone. Once you've downed a Bloody Kim Jong Il - a Bloody Mary spiked with kimchi - don't be surprised if you find yourself calling out for a few of its celebrated skewers.

Don't expect a table at Yardbird, the buzzy no-reservations yakitori joint of former Zuma chef Matt Abergel. Arrive early (it opens at 6 p.m.) and perch barside for the sublimely turned-out skewers and serious drinks—the Whiskey Lemonade is not to be missed.

It's just good food, professional service and a relaxed atmosphere. Yet, eating there feels like nowhere else in Hong Kong.