Date of review: March 6, 2013 | Reviewed by: Lynn Fung
Torimen is certainly on trend: with monochrome dominating all the fashionable store windows this spring, this yakitori and ramen restaurant is also done pretty much solely in black and white, with the only splashes of colour provided by a few red chairs. Everything from the black and white tiled floor to the large cartoon murals depicting anime characters devouring bowls of ramen suggest that this is a fun and informal restaurant, a perfect place for a snack and a beer. There is a range of seating options, from perching at the counter of the open kitchen, to the large communal table in the centre of the dining room.
Torimen serves ramen during lunch, and yakitori and half-portion of noodles during dinner. The restaurant prides itself on both: the ramen broth takes a week of preparation and cooking, and is made with shrimp and seven types of miso. The yakitori, on the other hand, does not go through any marinating process, and there are also seven types of homemade condiments to go with the skewers. To start, we ordered three snacks: baked potatoes with anchovy butter; a deliciously crispy and juicy plate of fried chicken; and a baked oyster on a bed of nori risotto. These dishes aren’t perfect (apart from the fried chicken, which is), but extremely good. The potatoes could have been just a tad more cooked, but with the umami kick of the anchovy and the decadent amount of butter, this is a sidenote. The oyster, similarly, could have been just a tad more salted to bring out the brininess of the mollusc, but again, mere quibbles. From the yakitori menu, the highlights were the minced chicken sausage, tender with a delicious raw egg yolk and soy dip. We also loved the crispy quail eggs, served whole, glazed with soy and a touch of yuzu, and perfectly cooked with the yolks still oozing. Less successful were the cherry tomato wrapped with bacon, covered with an unappetising layer of sliced cheese; and the squid with yuzu wasabi. While the squid was fresh and chewy, the yuzu wasabi was too overpowering. Moving onto the ramen, we simply loved the ebi broth. It was deeply flavourful without excessive salt – a common downfall of ramen broth - and we would happily come back for lunch for the whole portion. The noodles also had a good bounce, although the slice of pork could have been slightly more tender. Finally, dessert was the signature Torimen apple pie, which was a disappointment. Not so much a pie as layers of crispy sheets of pastry with one layer of stewed apples in a sickly clotted cream and another layer of uncooked and very sour green apples, it was a poor note to end an otherwise very good meal on.
Torimen currently does not have an alcohol license, but diners are invited to BYOB at no additional cost.
Service at Torimen is a bit uneven: the waitress that initially served us was extremely friendly and knowledgeable, but some of the other waiters who brought us our dishes were distinctly surlier.
A filling dinner for two (without alcohol) comes to just over HK$600. For the quality of food, we would say this is a very good price and we would most definitely return.