Step off the streets of West End and into this little slice of Japan. Bird's Nest Yakitori is the suburb's best new asset – a bustling little restaurant with an adorable interior. Modern meets traditional here where antique dividers and light shades (precariously brought from across the seas) are combined with contemporary illustrations and styling.
Bird's Nest is the first traditional binchoutan (white charcoal) yakitori restaurant in the country. The owners took a leap of faith in opening the doors 12 months ago, and boy we are glad they did. The telling tale of Bird's Nest's authenticity and popularity is found in the clientele. Throughout the evening the restaurant was always filled with at least 50 per cent Japanese plus a number of regular solo diners.
As expected at any Japanese restaurant, the service was great. Within minutes we were seated with a menu and sipping away on the most delicious complimentary chicken broth. Those new to the yakitori game can do as we did and order a set. You've got a choice of the basic seven skewers set (meat/vegetarian $25/$20) or the Omakase Course ($55) that gets you 10 skewers, amuse bouche served with 30mL chilled sake, a rice course to finish plus dessert.
Alongside the skewers you're encouraged to order a few cold sides such as edamame, or the Zaru Tofu – a delicious organic silken tofu served with olive oil, Himalayan salt, soy and shallots. If you sit at the bar you can watch the chefs working the binchoutan fires. As you munch away on the sides, the skewers start coming off the grill – like a mini degustation.
Bird's Nest uses the freshest free range and organic produce it can get its hands on, and all skewers are prepped in-house each day. On the meat side, you can order everything from chicken thighs with shallots to chicken arteries and hearts. As for vegetarian skewers, the quail eggs are a must-try, and the two sorts of mushrooms, zucchini and asparagus will help you reach your two and five.
If you're yet to get your hands on some Japanese beer (and we're not talking about just Asahi) then you need to catch up. The land of the rising sun is brewing some of the finest around and Bird's Nest has a hearty list worth drinking through.
Yakitori translates to 'grilled bird' and, if you didn't notice, you'll find a lot of that here. The restaurant is at the same time vegetarian friendly, and a great place to take a group of people. Oh, and they kitchen only do one dessert – because all you need is a Japanese-style ginger-infused crème caramel. Arigato!