How good is your local yakitori restaurant? Or more specifically, how good is its tsukune – grilled chicken meatballs served with raw egg yolk. That’s the real test. And judging by the number of them flying off the hot coals at Bird’s Nest Yakitori Fortitude Valley, the recently opened eatery isn’t going broke anytime soon.
For the past three years, Emi Kamada and Marie Yokoyama have built Bird’s Nest Yakitori into a humming West End institution. And like any thriving small business, the time came to expand. Another retail closure in Fortitude Valley provided the opportunity. Kamada and Yokoyama will now take advantage of the foot traffic that still floods the area most nights.
“For Marie and Emi the idea was to always have a foot either side of the river,” says long time Bird’s Nest restaurant manager, Nick Apriyan. “West End is taken care of, now it’s the Valley. They’d been looking for the past year and a half. This just turned up.”
The space is significantly smaller than its West End counterpart, but just as stylish and – Apriyan says – it can actually fit more people. The long, sleek design makes for a good night time two-hander with The Apo a couple of doors up Ann Street.
“There’s more interaction with customers here,” Apriyan says. “It gives a different feel to the venue. We can make drinks and interact with people.”
Kamada and Yokoyama have chosen to expand their menu options, too, particularly with the drinks. A number of different sakes are available, along with Japanese craft beers (including a West End favourite, the Tokyo Aged Pale, which is aged in the bottle for multiple years) and the usual Asahi on tap that complements Japanese food so well.
The food doesn’t steer too far away from the classics that have been loved over the past three years, including the famous karaage (fried chicken), a vast array of chicken skewers and, of course, the tsukune. It’s all still grilled over hot coals as it should be – the chefs meticulously fanning the flames.
“Irasshaimase!” can be heard from the kitchen as guests are welcomed and promptly seated at the bar or a table for larger groups. The service is prompt and pleasant, the whole experience a welcome addition to the Valley’s late-night-dining options.
Bird’s Nest – Fortitude Valley
702 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley
Mon to Sun 5pm–late
(07) 3257 2305