This is the thing, walking into a restaurant with no booking found when a confirmation was sent and followed by a telephone call days before arriving is rather disgusting. We always wonder why restaurants tend to encourage prior bookings and yet they are not looking into it with serious care. Trying to safe guard their head counts for the Chef with a more superlative kitchen management if the restaurant is in high demand but on the contrary, why bother? mylifestylenews writes.
That was our first impression when we stepped into Nan Tei that tucked away on the second floor on Yiu Wah Stree, Causeway Bay – this alley way is renown for its various restaurants and bars hangouts and even post-dinner light supper quick bites. Communication had surely broken down, as it was already 8pm and only one table was filled. No booking was found despite numerous voice messages left to the Public Relation with calls unattended. It would be nice if a table would be offered right away since this little eat out is barely empty but to no avail. 15 minutes of wait to have them clarify that the message wasn’t clearly passed on while the reservation was made, thanks to their internal communication when the right hand doesn’t speak to the left.
We were escorted to a carte seat by the window, the décor is dulled with no exciting or eye catching ornament on display, perhaps it was the intention for keeping a rustic Japanese village expression. There are a few bar tables with seats facing the open kitchen for those who like to watch live action. Quite a few used sake bottles as decorative were mounted in between the carte seats bamboo panels to provide privacy as well as to create the Izakaya dining mood. The dimmed lighting may be another challenge to read the menu unless further lighting equipment is provided.
Nan Tei specializes in Japanese Yakitori skewer dishes and strives to offer an up-stairs Izakaya to satisfy mid night diners as they are open till 2am in the Causeway bay precinct. With service not so attentive, despite only two tables (including us) during our visit on a weeknight, it doesn’t really sound promising especially when you have to wave at them to catch their attention while they were grouped at the corner of the open kitchen at all times. Without much further recommendation or introduction by the wait staff, we started with one of the Top Ten popular dishes <Beef Tongue> skewer, lightly sliced beef tongue and grilled to right texture and not over powering by its seasoning was a good start for our meal.
The signature <Cheesy Chicken Wings> was rather Cheesy, not because it has enough cheese for the palate but rather plain in taste. Melted cheese fillings are supposed to be well coated by crispy batter for a double savory delight and the minced chicken and cartilage stuffing also didn’t really stand out for what it shall be and the skin wasn’t at its light crispiness either. A rather disappointing dish with great expectation, especially as it is one of the signature dishes.
We moved on to <Asparagus Wrapped with Pork>, the thin sliced pork belly saturated its fat around the juicy asparagus to make a well balance combination. The <Cherry Tomato wrapped with Bacon> *cover image is another alternative or repetition of the above but to no surprise when the latter came after the asparagus wrapped with pork skewer.
Next comes <Chicken with Japanese Long Onion>, the dried and poor marinated chicken meat was nothing compatible with the Japanese long onion that offers a strong pungent palate. This classic Yakitori should be a stand out dish for any Izakaya.
We ordered a <Cold Soba> as an add-on to cleanse our palette. The soba was chewy, slithery and grainy. To our delight, the chef didn’t kill it and turn it to a slimy texture which was a plus.
<Japanese Shitake> came as our last order, this Yakitori needs good skill to grill and handle with care in order not to burn the fragile fragranced mushroom and so it came perfectly done. Nan Tei has its way to keep it just fine. All Yakitori serves in Nan Tei comes with their premium’s homemade red miso sauce, which is made with a mix of fresh vegetables, red miso, sesame, Japanese soy sauce and some fermented seasonings from Japan and all these condiments make the best compliment and savor the best of yakitori. We have some expectation for Nan Tei in this Causeway Bay Izakaya especially when their SoHo branch gained some good reviews in the past. Food here is like a roller coaster and service seriously needs to get upgraded in order to regain their reputation from what it takes, as we all say, there is always rooms for improvement and we look forward to what Nan Tei can bring next.
Tried & Tested:
Design & Decor: 2.5/5
Food & Beverage: 2.5/5
Value For Money: 3/5
2F, ZING!, 38 Yiu Wah Street
Causeway Bay Bay, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3118 2501
Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated.