Review: Jumbo Is The New Name For Hong Kong’s Yakiniku Game


July 6, 2018 | BY Wilson Fok

The Japanese import proves that grilling techniques and premium wagyu go hand in hand for the best experience

The arrival of Yakiniku Jumbo came with a rumour surfacing shortly after Sushi Saito’s opening. Opened and operated by the same company for both restaurants as well as esteemed establishments in the likes of Tenku Ryugin and La Bombance, the Tokyo-import is fast earning advanced raves from fans who previously visited the Japanese sister-restaurant.

Fans of yakiniku, or Japanese-style grilled meats will take pride in the enjoyment of premium meats, grilled in a flash and indulge in bites of wagyu, fat marbled and molten with pinkness lacing through. Yakiniku Jumbo is just the mecca for such. Taking over an enlarged space with high ceiling within the quiet Man Yee Arcade, Yakiniku Jumbo’s interiors are more simplistic and unassuming. The abundance of wood modestly line the interiors, dark frames separate seating into quarters, evenly spread across the main dining area while bigger parties are suggested to take the private quarters away from the bar.

Specialising in rare cuts of A5 wagyu beef from across Japan’s different regions, Jumbo imports its beef to Hong Kong on a weekly basis, ensuring the best quality with even marbling of fat in all beef served. The menu begins with a single-serving omakase menu which boasts of good value, covering signature yakiniku rare meat cuts, the Noharayaki, a hand cut slice of A5 wagyu sirloin marinated in a special tare sauce, as well as flash-grilled wagyu nigiri sushi. The set menu is complete with pickles, salad, cold noodles, soup, and dessert. A la carte selections are also available, with more variations in cooked dishes and carb options on offer.

Some meat cuts on offer are rather unknown, guests can be reassured by the service team on each cuts’ characteristics and optimum cooking time. It is worth noting that wagyu cooks within seconds, literally, as often a swift sear is all one needs to cook beef. Our rare cuts are generously portioned and served, each explained one by one. Misuji (oyster blade) is particularly rich in flavour, although the texture is firmer as this cut is located under the shoulder blade, and is a well-worked muscle. The Zabuton, or chuck to Western beef cut category suggests, is much rarer than other meat cuts available in the selection. The meat cut comes near the ribcage area, and upon a quick sear yields richness. Kalbi (short rib) and tenderloin in the mix are also outstanding cuts from the selection.

The highlight of the meal lies within its signature Noharayaki. The oversized slice of hand-cut chilled A5 wagyu sirloin. Served upon completion after the other rare cuts, the climax arrived to those who waited, and it was worth every moment. Quickly broiled by the service staff, the beef was lightly broiled on the grill for mere seconds before it was rolled up and served with freshly beaten Japanese egg yolk. The beef yielded to the bite, creamily melted in the egg while the sweetness of the tare sauce added depth to the buttery richness from both the beef and egg.

Those who prefer varieties can enjoy Kyushu free-range chicken thigh, sliced and grilled rather quickly, yielding tender yet meaty morsels best enjoyed with salt. While bibimbap in stone pot and wagyu beef curry rice came highly recommended, we found a bowl of steamed Japanese rice the best accompaniment to broiled wagyu slices we ordered.

Wines are in abundant supply at Yakiniku Jumbo but members of the staff were not equipped to offer pairing suggestions for our food orders. Cocktails were simple yet reliable. Served chilled and made with fruit, sours made with grapefruit or orange are popular, particularly the grapefruit variety, with tartness cut through by the tangy citrus fruit. A watermelon sour cocktail is also on offer but guests are advised to try their luck as the limited-edition sour is often sold-out at dinner service.

Reservations are never a problem at Yakiniku Jumbo and staff are keen on confirming bookings for guests. Most members of the staff team are knowledgeable on the beef cuts offered at the restaurant, though they tended to shy away from helping guests demonstrate the proper ways to prepare wagyu, leaving guests feeling confused at times. Given its premium meat cuts on offer, a meal at Jumbo came with a large price tag which may be unseemly for a Yakiniku meal where portion sizes tend to be rather petite to some.

The offerings of Yakiniku Jumbo are top-level and of good consistency from a la carte to set menu offerings. While portion sizes and service need mild adjustments, its offerings are rarely matched by many esteemed establishments in town.

Yakiniku Jumbo, Shop 302, 3/F Man Yee Arcade, Man Yee Building, 68 Des Voeux Road Central, Hong Kong; +852 2151 3887

A meal for two with one beverage and service: around HK$2,600

Rating: 4/5 

How we rate
Each of our reviewers score restaurants based on four main criteria: setting, food, service, and drinks, taking into account more than 35 different points of reference including manners of staff, usefulness of the wine list, and whether or not the restaurant makes an effort to be environmentally aware. 5/5 indicates an exceptional experience; 4-4.5/5 is excellent; 3-3.5/5 is good to very good; and 2.5/5 or lower is average to below average. Before visiting a restaurant, the reviewers will book using a pseudonym and do not make themselves known to restaurant staff, in order to experience the venue as a regular guest—if this is not possible, or if we are recognised, we will indicate this in the review.

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