A JAPANESE restaurant based on Barry Island is expanding.
Tokyo Nights, which has been based in Barry Island since July 2020, is currently the only UK restaurant focused specifically on Japanese yakitori – but plans are in place to open a stall in Cardiff market next month (subject to coronavirus regulations).
Other locations for Tokyo Nights are on the cards, including the possibility of one in Swansea.
Tokyo Nights in Barry Island was created after local chef, Oliver Bryant, travelled to the Rugby World Cup in Japan in October 2019 – he and his friends quickly because passionate about yakitori.
For those who don’t know much about it, yakitori are perfectly formed and grilled chicken skewers which go perfectly with ice-cold Japanese beer. Yakitori literally translates to grilled chicken.
Chef Bryant, who also owns South Wales street food company Puckin Poutine – said:” I saw an opportunity in Wales as yakitori was pretty much unknown.
“I had a contract signed with a new development to open a Puckin Poutine shop in Barry but after my experience at the Japan World Cup I told them I wanted to open Tokyo Nights instead, and so I opened it in July last year.
“I spent most nights during lockdown practising my Japanese chicken butchery skills from watching YouTube videos and cooking up the skewers on a rubbish electric grill I bought on eBay.”
What makes yakitori so special for Oliver is the craftmanship that goes into each skewer; the fresh, free range chickens are butchered differently to the way they are in the western world.
Each skewer is prepared and cooked to give the perfect texture, appearance, and flavour. For example, the thigh is often cooked slightly longer than the breast because there is more fat and connective tissue.
“In Japan the breast is often cooked medium-rare or even rare, which is a bit of a shock the first time you see it but is delicious,” added Chef Bryant.
“The skewers are then flavoured with either salt or a sweet, umami marinade called tare. Some less flavourful cuts like breast or inner fillet might be served with a smidgen of wasabi or pickled plum.”
For more information about Tokyo Nights visit www.goodshedsbarry.co.uk/containers/tokyo-nights/