Review: Yakitori 1 – A Hidden Gem in the Bay

This week I was lucky enough to try out Yakitori 1’s fabulous menu, and boy was it delicious! When we received a DM inviting us down to the Bay, my eyes lit up at the Instagram notification. Japanese food is one of my favourite cuisines, and with the plentiful sushi options we have in Cardiff I had not had a chance to try Yakitori 1 yet – so I am very grateful for this opportunity. 

I do tend to stick to what I like in terms of sushi, so I really saw this as a chance to try some new combinations and discover some new faves. Funnily enough, the day before I opted for some sushi in my Tesco Meal Deal – let’s just say I don’t think I could do this ever again after remembering what proper sushi has to offer! 

Asahi Beer

First up were drinks – I had to go with a bottle of Asahi beer. Personally, I never usually order beer as I’m more of a cider or wine gal, however whenever I see Asahi on the menu, I have to order it! The Japanese rice style beer has a dry and crisp taste which I think perfectly complements the rich and flavoursome food we ordered. 

For our small plates to share there were so many options, we settled for three – but I would have ordered it all if I could. From tempura, gyoza and rice paper rolls to nigiri, sashimi and maki there are a multitude of combinations and so much variety in the meats and protein available.  

My first choice was the Torched Salmon Teriyaki Maki, an avocado, cucumber and crab roll topped with blowtorched salmon and sweet teriyaki sauce. These were divine. Up there with the best sushi I have ever tasted, the filling was so fresh and paired perfectly with the flaky salmon. I would recommend this to someone who is new to sushi as no one could deny the incredible flavours! 

Chicken Gyoza and Torched Salmon Maki

My friend Lauren went with the teriyaki chicken skewer (are you sensing a theme here?), the meat was cooked to perfection and was the ideal vehicle for the teriyaki sauce to truly shine. Grilled over a traditional robata flame, you could really taste the smokiness of how it was cooked. 

Teriyaki Chicken Skewer

For our third small plate, of course we could not resist gyoza. I usually prefer steamed gyoza, but these were fried. It turns out this gave it the perfect texture, the meal definitely needed some crunch to balance the softness of the abundance of noodles and rice we consumed. They came with a yummy sweet chilli dipping sauce that had the perfect level of heat.  

Now, onto the main event. Yakitori 1 offers main plates of Cha han, Yaki soba, Curries, and Ramen. We both liked the look of the Cha han, a fried rice dish with vegetables – but I went for the Yaki soba for some variety. Lauren chose grilled duck for her rice, and I chose tiger prawns with my noodles. These dishes were definitely the stars of the show. The depth of flavour to each dish was insane, the plum sauce with the duck was a highlight, and the tiger prawns were juicy and succulent. Our plates were practically licked clean. 

The price point at Yakitori 1 is a little higher than some other Japanese restaurants, however this is 100% justified in the quality of the ingredients and dishes. The prices vary throughout the menu, so it is definitely somewhere to try a few small plates even if you are on a budget. It is tucked away in a side street rather than on the front of Mermaid Quay, but that is perfect for getting away from the hustle and bustle and sitting down for a quiet meal.

It should also be noted that there is a wealth of vegetarian options with ingredients like, sweet potato, shiitake mushrooms, aubergine and tofu – which I can’t wait to try next time. 

I for one will definitely be going back for more in the future and will be bringing my friends along. I am determined to get through as much of the menu as possible, I won’t order the same thing again to push myself to try new dishes (except maybe that salmon maki – I wouldn’t be able to resist…).  

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