Climb the stairs of the 20 Donghu Lu villa, leaving behind ‘mini France’ in the form of Cellar to Table and Blaz, and you enter the dimly lit Hundo – where you’re instantly transported out of Shanghai and into a bustling yakitori joint in the heart of Tokyo. Your field of vision takes in a dark wooden bar lined with chefs scoring sashimi, slicing steaks and serving sake and shochu all while the aroma of roasting snapper, charred chicken skin and a hint of yuzu fill your nostrils – the authenticity makes you feel like you should be paying in Japanese yen.
The warming atmosphere is emphasized by the overly friendly staff and controlled chaos within the open kitchen. Here you see dozens of skewers, holding every part of a chicken you could possibly think of (and even some you can’t) roasting on an open binchotan charcoal-grill flame.
Although much larger than Justin Xu’s previous projects (Nakama – now closed because of landlord issues and reborn from the ashes like a phoenix as High Yaki), because the space is split into two main rooms and further sectioned off with private alcove-like seating, the feeling of exclusivity still remains. And for those, like us, who are increasingly interested in both the pleasure of a meal and the process behind it – you can sit barside to be closer to the culinary sorcery, and the sorcerer himself.
The walls are lined with sake bottles and wines from around the globe, but your eyes are immediately drawn to the dry aging fridge stocked with Mayura Wagyu Ribeye, Dry Aged RV Full Bloody M5 Tomahawks, Uruguay M9 Short Ribs and the likes – a reminder that this is not your average yakitori restaurant.
February 18, 2021
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