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Tokyo

Yakitori Kumawaki

焼鳥くまわき

Newly opened inside the Azabudai Hills complex, Yakitori Kumawaki is the latest endeavor for Toshiyasu Kumawaki, the mastermind behind the empire of members-only restaurants including Kuma no Yakitori 106. Serving Kyukyoku-dori, or “Ultimate chicken,” an original Kagoshima breed raised exclusively for the group, signature dishes from chicken tartar to fugu-mune breast skewers convert first time guests into devoted fans.

Yakitori Kumawaki joins an array of famed restaurants opening their doors inside Azabudai Hills, the new state-of-the-art development in the heart of Tokyo. Featuring expansive green space, luxury condos, digital art museum and high-end stores, the new “city in a city” is expected to attract waves of visitors.

As the newest addition to the expanding restaurant group, Yakitori Kumawaki offers a satisfying grill course, showcasing the full potential of the premium chicken that you can’t savor elsewhere. Their vision is to transform yakitori into a fine-dining experience with dishes made with the highest levels of craftsmanship.

“I wanted more people to enjoy our very rare Kyukyoku-dori, a breed that we offer at our members-only clubs in Osaka and Kyoto,” Kumawaki says. “I also wanted to offer a place where the trained chefs of Kuma no Yakitori can move on and shine.”

Stepping inside the restaurant from the bustling hall of the luxury shopping complex, the atmosphere is elegant and tasteful. The wooden counter set around the open kitchen sits 12 guests. From every seat, you can see the main grill where the chefs perform their craft. There is also a private room that can accommodate up to 6 people. The exquisite tableware is all a part of the collection the owner has procured over the years.

To lead the new team of staff, Shoji Kotaki has been appointed head chef of the new restaurant. Internalizing Kumawaki’s vision, the young chef is committed to pleasing every guest with his excellent food and warm hospitality.

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CUISINE

Ultimate chicken

Previously available only at Kumawaki’s two exclusive restaurants, Kyukyoku-dori, or “Ultimate chicken,” is an original breed raised in Chiran in Kagoshima Prefecture. Perfected by the chef’s craftsmanship, the omakase menu takes you through a decadent full course that shows off the quality of premium Japanese poultry.

The meat has this incredible flavor and texture that you can’t forget, the chefs say repeatedly. The meal begins with a couple of appetizers that give you a taste of the meat. Some of the chef’s favorites include chicken yukke tartar and chicken flakes, made just like fish flakes.

Each skewer is cooked in their own special way that brings out the flavor of the ingredients. The custom-made grill is designed specifically to have depth so the melted fat drips onto the scorching binchotan charcoal. The rising smoke adds a layer of flavor to the succulent meat. The chicken skewers are typically cooked rare but if you prefer it well done, don’t hesitate to ask.

The signature fugu-mune is a skewer of Kyukyoku-dori breast meat. The name, meaning blowfish breast, comes from its unique texture. The meat at the tip of the skewer is firmer and muscular, the chef describes. The second piece is softer and more tender. Grilled with a little grain of salt, each bite unleashes a burst of umami in your mouth.

The dakimi skewer has Kyukyoku-dori breast meat wrapped around with crispy skin. Served with fresh wasabi, the combination of flavors is superb. The negimi skewer, playing on the word negima, uses Date chicken thighs and green onions. Other skewers include the heart, tsukune balls and liver, where some are served with sauce and others with just salt. The chef likes to serve a few non-chicken skewers as well like quail eggs and eel.

Yamato-niku-dori chicken wings are grilled slowly while all the other skewers are cooked and served. The extra cooking time allows the meat to be smoked for its aromatic flavor. The condiments on the table - black shichimi spice and Budo sansho pepper powder - let guests add some spiciness and extra aroma as they please.

The warm chawanmushi custard is made with fresh Okukuji eggs, cheese and cream. Served with tonburi, or land caviar, each spoonful melts gently on your tongue. For your final course, you can choose from oyako-don with egg and chicken, soboro-don with ground meat or nyumen noodles.

INGREDIENTS
At Yakitori Kumawaki, guests can savor three kinds of high-quality chicken brands: Kyukyoku-dori, Date-dori and Yamato-niku-dori, each of them unique in flavor, texture and aroma. In particular, Kyukyoku-dori holds a special place for Kumawaki. Collaborating with a poulterer in Kagoshima Prefecture, they have created a special breed used exclusively for his yakitori. The birds are matured for as long as 180 days, slightly longer than a typical breed, until they are as heavy as 9-10 kg. “The texture is just incredible,” he says.

Yakitori Kumawaki cuisine #0
Yakitori Kumawaki cuisine #1

CHEF

Toshiyasu Kumawaki & Shoji Kotaki

Toshiyasu Kumawaki was born in Osaka in 1977. He began working at yakitori bars when he was in high school and fell in love with the cuisine. He was just 20 years old when he came across an opportunity to take on a yakitori restaurant and run it himself. The restaurant ended up bankrupt four years later.

“I ended up with a huge debt,” he recalls. “It was the failure that fueled me with the energy to push myself to where I am now.” He later joined a yakitori chain run by a family relative and worked there for the next 9 years until he felt ready to own a restaurant again.

The first Kuma no Yakitori opened in 2014 serving high-end yakitori. The following year, he introduced the membership system to lure customers looking for an exclusive experience. He now manages a total of 12 restaurants.

Shoji Kotaki was born in Kagawa Prefecture in 1986. He moved to Osaka at the age of 18 and started working in restaurants. He later took a job with a company that worked with different industries, offering him an experience to see a variety of cuisines and styles. He joined Kuma no Yakitori as a chef and began mastering the art of charcoal grilling. Thanks to his excellent culinary skills and customer service, he was appointed to head their Osaka and Fukuoka branches. He now lives in Tokyo for the first time to head the new restaurant.

VISION
“Now that I operate 12 high-end restaurants, my next move is to introduce a second line that has a lower price range,” Kumawaki says. “I have restaurants in Thailand and China. I hope to expand in the U.S. where we’ve already registered some trademarks.” Kotaki’s vision is to focus on the foundation of the new restaurant while showcasing the potential of their cuisine to guests from all over the world.

FLAVORS

The salt plays an important role in bringing out the chicken’s umami, the chefs explain. The recipe remains secret but they use a special blend of 4 different types of salt to flavor the raw meat. They use a different salt to season the cooked yakitori.

Newly made when Yakitori Kumawaki opened, the pot of yakitori sauce is placed close to the chef by the grill. He dips the skewers into the dark sauce multiple times as he carefully cooks them over the burning charcoal. As the batch gets used over time, it will continue to mature with the aromatic smoke and hints of sansho peppercorns.

Course

Dinner
Yakitori Kumawaki Omakase course
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
¥19,500
¥19,500
Reservation Request

Tokyo

Yakitori Kumawaki

焼鳥くまわき

PRICE
¥19,500
~
CHILD
0
& UP
PRIVATE ROOM
For 3-6 people
MIN GUESTS
1
PERSON
~
GENRE
Yakitori, Azabudai
ADDRESS
Azabudai Hills Tower Plaza 3F, 1 Chome-6-19 Azabudai, Minato City, Tokyo 106-0041, Japan
OPEN
5PM-8:30PM (LO)
CLOSED
Irregular
URL
NA
PHONE
NA

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