Fab news for fans of Yardbird in Hongkong: after two wildly successful pop-up stints in Singapore at meat-centric restaurants Burnt Ends and Meat Smith at Cocotte, the achingly cool mod yakitori and izakaya restaurant is opening an outlet in Singapore. “But we're still looking for a space and deciding where to be [located],” Yardbird’s Canadian born Chinese co-owner Lindsay Jang tells us. “We will most likely do another pop-up first, before we confirm a [permanent] location.” For now, Lindsay is keeping details of the next pop-up hush-hush. She had opened Yardbird with Canadian chef Matt Abergel, who used to work at famed Japanese restaurant Masa in New York City.
Just how popular is Yardbird in Hong Kong? The no-reservations restaurant is almost six years old — an eternity in the F&B world — yet our editor had to wait an hour-and-a-half for a table there just last weekend. And she's pleased to report the food and vibe remain just as cracking after all these years.
But nope, Yardbird is not partnering Unlisted Collection, the parent company behind Burnt Ends and Meat Smith, to open their first overseas outpost. According to Unlisted Collection’s owner, hotelier-restaurateur Loh Lik Peng, he is not ruling out the possibility of collaborating with Yardbird for another pop-up sesh “if the right opportunity comes along”, adding, “But no, we are not involved [with their permanent outlet].”
Unlisted Collection’s umbrella of brands also includes Restaurant Andre, which just snagged the #14 spot on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list, and the newly opened produce-driven November, which takes over the defunct Restaurant Ember within Hotel 1929.
Oh, and do not confuse this Yardbird with the similarly named Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, slated to open at Marina Bay Sands later this year. The latter will serve American southern-style nosh, and originated in Miami.
Which leaves us with two questions: will both restaurants get to keep their Yardbird moniker in Singapore? And will the HK Yardbird bring along its stylish, friendly staff and excellent meatless KFC (Korean Fried Cauliflower), Sweet Corn Tempura and Meatball Yakitori with Egg Yolk and Tare dip (see main pic) when it reaches our sunny island? We sure hope so. Watch this space.