It took me several visit to Japan before I realized how ubiquitous wagyu beef was, and how widely it was used in different applications. Although eating it as a grilled steak teppanyaki-style is still probably the purest and most traditional way to enjoy the rich meat, there are also many other classic applications, such as shabu shabu, sashimi, and yakiniku.
Therefore, it's no surprise that when Wagyumafia decide to branch out beyond their original concept, their second restaurant in Hong Kong focused on yakiniku, another beautiful way to enjoy wagyu beef.
Yakinikumafia Hong Kong - First Location Outside Tokyo
Yakiniku means "grilled" (yaki 燒) "meat" (niku 肉) and originally started in Korean restaurants in Osaka and Tokyo around 1945. The concept involves diners grilling their own meat and eating it with a variety of different accompaniments.
At Yakinikumafia, diners get to grill their own special Ozaki wagyu beef, which comes from a single-breed, sustainable producer in Japan.
Yakinikumafia Hong Kong, the first one outside of Japan, has an airport theme. It is modeled off of the Copenhagen airport and is a nod to the city that was the first importer of wagyu beef.
Very special beef!
The feel of Yakinikumafia is casual and carries a lot of the same crazy "Irrashai!" antics over from Wagyumafia (though on a more muted scale). Furthermore, the meal is simpler, more DYI, and much, much more reasonably priced. The Combo Plate is only HKD480 per person, while the Omakase is HKD980.
Unlike Wagyumafia, you don't have to be a member of the club to make reservations at Yakinikumafia. They currently take 250 bookings a month, the times of which will vary wildly depending on the latest government COVID-19 restrictions in place.
Yakinikumafia Combo Set
Yakinikumafia actually recommends that if it's your first visit, you should try Yakinikumafia Combo Set (HK$480). The Combo Set features three wagyu cuts (150g) ranging from fatty, medium fatty and lean. It also comes with their signature Wagyu Bone Broth, Koshihikari Rice, pickled daikon with yuzu, and pickled cucumbers.
Optionally, eat with one of their "I'm not Tabasco" Wagyuosco hot sauces.
Yuzu IPA is refreshing on the palate, and they restaurant also offers cocktails on tap and small batch sakes.
Signature "Big Eye BBQ Sauce".
We ended with a delicious soft serve ice cream (I couldn't say no), and they offered some free limoncello to finish off the meal.
Yakinikumafia Hong Kong - General Thoughts
Yakinikumafia Hong Kong offers a nice, introductory way of trying Wagyumafia's famously sourced Wagyu beef. Of course, the cuts that are offered at Yakinikumafia are not the top cuts that are offered at their higher-end sister restaurant (self-described as "affordable cuts"). Nevertheless, the beef is still delicious, the yakiniku is good, and the overall experience is fun. In some ways, I prefer the bright, airy and less intense (loud) environment of Yakinikumafia.
However, the experiences at the two restaurants are really quite different and it doesn't quite make sense to do a direct comparison. They are trying to reach different markets, different price points, and they are offering a different product overall. For a casual meal of delicious Ozaki wagyu, it's still fantastic. Just don't expect the top of the top, choicest meats. Those will most certainly be reserved for customers who are willing to pay at Wagyumafia.
Having said that, I will conceded that I have not tried the Omakase yet, which costs more than twice the amount of the Combo Set. The Omakase includes a tasting of six rare and special cuts of meat, as well as (only available in Hong Kong), wagyu keema curry and goma dressing salad.
I really enjoyed my first visit to Yakinikumafia so I definitely plan on going back and trying the omakase sometime when evening dining opens up again in Hong Kong.
Yakinikumafia Hong Kong
2/F Hollywood Centre
233 Hollywood Road Sheung Wan