Dinner @ Toriki とり喜 (Tokyo, Japan)

November 17, 2016 in Japanese by thywhaleliciousfay

And through Instagram (Yes, Instagram again. Ha), I got to learn about a new (yakitori) dish; Chochin which is chicken with egg yolk. It was the one dish I had to have in Japan cause it’s not available in Singapore at all. And along with wanting to try the unfamiliar dish, I wanted to dine at a Michelin-starred yakitori joint too. =p

However, I faced 2 challenges. I bought my flight ticket only 2.5 weeks prior to flying. So by the time I did my research, I was left with only 1.5 weeks. And the 2 Michelin-starred yakitori joints which I was interested to check out are known to be notoriously difficult to make reservation at cause they are very popular. And yes, famous too.

My other challenge was making the reservation. Cause even if there was a slot, they don’t speak English and I don’t speak Japanese. I made an overseas call, but was rejected politely with “Sorry, no (understand) English”.

But I was fortunate my friends had (Japanese) friends living in Japan who assisted to call the 2 yakitori joints and secured a slot for me at Toriki. Yeah! =) And I was updated that it was a course menu which would stretch over 2 hours. No issue with me!

Google map is definitely my best friend when I am abroad. I relied heavily on it to find my way to the restaurant. And the good thing about first seating was that I got to be seated even though I arrived 10 minutes early. One had to wait for customers from the first seating to leave if one belonged to the second seating.

After being shown to my counter seat, chef Yasuhito Sakai san took out the English (food) menu (pages 1, 2). That’s when I realised the dish which I came for was not part of the course. So as I placed my order for my drink sake, I told chef Yasuhito Sakai san that I wanted to order additional sticks. And with that, I started my dinner with:-

1) Set course, ¥4000 comprised of:-


(A) Pickled vegetables (left) & grated radish (right)

(B) White breast with wasabi (above) – Sabiyaki.

(C) Chicken thigh (above) – Kashiwa.

(D) Petit onion (above) – Kotamanegi.

(E) Liver (above) – Chigimo. This was so huge that when it was served, I thought it was chicken meat. Haha. And it was creamy good!

(F) Chicken meatball (above) – Tsukune.

(G) Small aubergine (above) – Konasu.

(H) Tofu pouch (above) – Kinchaku. Instead of the usual rice cake (mochi) filling, Toriki’s version was of vegetables.

(I) Chicken gizzard (above) – Sunagimo.

(J) Quail egg (above) – Shiratama.

(K) Chicken skin (above) – Kawa. It was mentioned on the menu that it’s grilled till crispy. But I guess that’s where our definition of crispy don’t align. This was probably the only stick I didn’t really enjoy. Skin was really fatty. But that said, I finished everything. Ha.

(L) Cold tomato, Complimentary (above) – Hiyashi tomato.

(M) Wings with bones (above) – Tebayaki. And when this was served, chef Yasuhito Sakai san asked if I knew the proper way to eat. I shook my head. To which he took my plate, held the stick down with one hand, and pulled the bones out effortlessly in an upwards motion with his other hand. I watched in amazement. Haha

(N) Gingko nut (above) – Ginnan.

(O) Shiitake mushroom (above) – Shiitake.

(P) Chicken soup (above)

(Q) Green tea ice cream (above) – I was told to squeeze some lemon juice over my ice cream. Now, that’s something new. The effect the lemon juice had on the ice cream was almost akin to putting salt in milk.

2) Chicken tail, ‎¥270 (above) – Bonbochi.

3) Chicken with egg, ‎¥320 (above) – Chochin. When I was told to eat everything in one go, I was a little worried. I wasn’t confident I could fit the 2 yolks into my mouth. And it would be a disaster of the yolks broke outside of my mouth. But of course, my worries were unfounded. And I really enjoyed this dish. In fact, I noticed all the other (Japanese) patrons had also ordered this as an add-on to their courses.

It was a memorable 2.5 hours dinner. Especially because it had many ‘first’ for me. My first meal upon touching down in Japan for my first (and definitely not last) solo trip. =)

I was lucky to be seated directly opposite chef Yasuhito Sakai san’s work station at the counter even though the stacked plates that were placed in front of him blocked my view of the grill. I enjoyed watching him fanning hard away in a rhythmic manner. It was that which kept me entertained throughout my meal.

And I must had caught chef Yasuhito Sakai san by surprise when I promptly stood up to make my exit after making payment. Cause he hastily put down his fan just to pass me his business card. “Hope to see you again,” he said sincerely. I was genuinely touched.

I definitely recommend Toriki!

1-8-13 Kinshi, Sumida, Tokyo, Japan (東京都 墨田区 錦糸 1-8-13 小坂ビル)
+81 3 3622 6202, Tablelog
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Fri : 17:30 – 22:45 (L.O.)
Ambience: 7
Sat : 17:00 – 22:45 (L.O.)
Value: 8
Service: 8
* Closed on Sun

UPDATE 1: Restaurant was awarded 1 Michelin star by Michelin Guide Tokyo 2018.
UPDATE 2: Restaurant was awarded 1 Michelin star by Michelin Guide Tokyo 2019.