ToriYard is really a gastro expression for former actress Jazreel, who loves her grub as much as her tipple. That may explain the wide range of boutique sakes and excellent house-infused shochu ($13 for 15ml), aged with coffee, yuzu, grape or apple, on offer. The main focus at this grill joint in Bishan Park, which cost over $600,000 to set up, is to provide a dining experience that satiates the palate without breaking the bank. Far from being a hoity-toity establishment, the emphasis here is on comfort. You won’t feel out of place turning up in shorts and flip-flops here.
At the helm is chef Hasegawa Isao. He trained under a yakitori master in Japan and has over 40 years of F&B experience working in Japan, France and Malaysia. The cuisine here is predominantly Japanese with liberal sprinklings of French and other Asian influences, which wasn’t something Hasegawa took to immediately. “Chef Hasegawa is very traditional,” says Jazreel. “He believes that yakitori has to be done a certain way. We have to convince him to be more adventurous.”
While the flavour profile of the nosh takes some liberties, the essence of traditional yakitori remains more or less in tact. To recreate an authentic yakitori experience, the joint imported three charcoal grills from Japan as well as binchotan charcoal, which, unlike regular charcoal, burns for six hours at a consistently high temperature. The grill is housed in an enclosed glass room so diners can watch as chefs cook the meats without smelling like a chimney. Fresh chickens are delivered daily and other meats like pork and beef are chilled, not frozen. Diners can also help themselves to over 11 different sauces like mentai mayo, miso sauce and yuzo kosho from the communal counter.
Check out the photo gallery above for our take on the food here.