Time to Ride the Culinary Bullet Train

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Wagyu Yakiniku Ichiro opens in Hong Kong complete with premium Japanese beef and a novel approach to food delivery.

Time for a little history lesson. Many of us have been to those great little sushi joints with the conveyor belt that delivers fresh nori and maki straight from the kitchen. What you might not know (and how’s this for an ice breaker) is that the original concept, Mawaru Genroku Sushi, opened in Higashiosaka in 1958. It was a time of great industrialization in post-war Japan and owner Yoshiaki Shiraishi had struggled to find staff for her sushi restaurant. He decided to create a conveyer belt after watching beer being bottled at the Asahi brewery.

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While his later innovation – robotic waiters – wasn’t such a hit, the conveyor concept was quickly exported around the world, and joined the ranks of other eclectic culinary concepts from the Land of the Rising Sun, which include a toilet-themed restaurant chain, one where you literally fish for your dinner, a cafe staffed by waitresses dressed as French maids, and even an eatery where you can pay to be cuddled by pretty lasses. Really?

Extending this innovation to the Fragrant Harbour is Wagyu Yakiniku Ichiro, a new barbecue grill where a miniature Shinkansen (let’s be honest, it’s more conveyor belt than bullet train) whisks dishes to hungry patrons. Located in the heart of buzzing Jordan, Wagyu Yakiniku Ichiro takes an unconventional design approach compared to typical ‘yakiniku’ dining spots. As well as bullet train service, the sleek minimalistic 7,000 sqft dining destination features a dramatic show kitchen and dedicated Sake Bar, as well as a VIP room.

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While the ‘train’ is a great selling point in a city that’s always looking for something new, the hero of the new yakiniku restaurant is prized Odagyu Wagyu from southern Japan’s award-winning Oda Chikusan ranch, which is designed specifically for grilling.

Wagyu Yakiniku Ichiro opens in Hong Kong complete with premium Japanese beef and a novel approach to food delivery.

You’ll be able to get your fill of that beefy goodness with six Wagyu Unlimited menus that start from HK$298 (US$38) and which include free-flow salad, drink and dessert stations. Set menus also include U.S., Australian and Kagoshima Black Wagyu; grilled Shabu-shabu beef tongue, Karubi (rib finger), Japanese pork belly; chicken thigh; and Satsuma pork sausage.

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Jet-fresh seafood includes shrimp, scallop, squid, oyster and abalone, with king crab and Japanese spiny lobster additionally available a la carte, while a selection of sushi, rice bowls, noodles and even specialty dishes from southern Kyushu is also available.

Be sure to pair your meal with the new venue’s impressive sake and sake-laced cocktail selection which ranges from Kagiya Muroka Ajikuchi Honjozo Blue and Yamanokotobuki Munakata Nihonshu Project to the Dirty Saketini with sake, gin, vermouth and lemon.

Think of it as a bar car that comes to you.

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About Author

Nick Walton is a Hong Kong-based photojournalist and Group Managing Editor for Artemis Communications, producers of Alpha Men Asia, JETSETTER Magazine, Explorer Magazine, The Art of Business Travel, Mirandus, IKHLAS, The Journal and The Edition.

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