A modern Japanese restaurant specializing in the Hakata food of Fukuoka.
Yoka Yoka is a modern Japanese restaurant specializing in the Hakata food of Fukuoka.
Decorated in a loft-like mix of bricks, wooden furniture and colorful paintings, the restaurant’s first floor serves dishes like Hakata motsu nabe (entrails hot pot with three choices of miso shio and shoyu soup, B380), tori no sumibi (charcoal-grilled chicken with yuzu sauce, B185) and honeymoon oyster (oyster with ebiko, uni, ikura, quail eggs and ponzu, B280).
The second-floor sake bar does cocktails and other spirits, and also offers private rooms, while the third floor is yet another concept, The Circle, with live bands every Thursday from 9pm-12am.
This is one sleek Japanese restaurant: not super high-end, but carefully designed (an elegant blend of blonde wood with patterned fabrics) and with regional touches to its menu. It’s just enough to make Yoka Yoka stand out amid Bangkok’s very crowded Japanese dining scene. Local Japanese expats have taken notice, and make up more than half the clientele—always a good sign.
The menu is very wide reaching, so that Yoka Yoka’s supposed focus on Hakata cuisine (Fukuoka’s oldest ward) is somewhat lost among a lengthy parade of all the usual suspects, from sushi and tempura to salads and steak. If you do want to stick to Fukuoka classics, make sure to order some spicy, salted cod roe (mentaiko, B280)—the stuff here is definitely a notch above some of the ones we've had in dingier izakaya.
Despite its sub-tropical weather, Fukuoka also seems to like its food hearty. Have a small sampler with the Hakata tonkotsu ramen (B180), which sees slices of pork in a rich, fatty broth, or bring your pals to share the real signature dish, a Hakata hotpot, which comes either with chicken (Hakata mitzutaki, B380/750) or wagyu beef offal (Hakata wagyu motsu nabe, B420/800). Execution is excellent across the board.
Another Hakata classic, the pork trotters with zingy yuzu relish have perfectly crispy skin and moist, tender meat. The sashimi is fresh and elegantly plated—we tried some beautiful hamachi on our last visit (B500). And the salads pack plenty of crunchy veggies, such as in the towering Nagasaki salad (B280). Our biggest let-down comes courtesy of the dedicated black pork menu: a “buta fillet ippon age,” which was dry and flavorless despite heaps of ponzu sauce and sliced onions (B360).
Order enough and little extras will come out from behind the bar, while servers strike the right balance between diligent and unobtrusive. In line with the place’s modern vibe, the drinks list reaches beyond sochu and sake, with a global selection of wines that allows you to pair an Alsatian pinot gris (Trimbach Reserve 2005, B2,500) with your fatty tuna. The second-floor sake bar does cocktails and other spirits, and also offers private rooms, while the third floor is yet another concept, The Circle, with live bands every Thursday from 9pm-12am.
|Address:||Yoka Yoka, Ruamrudee Village, 20/27-29 Soi Ruamrudee, Bangkok, Thailand|
|Open since:||January, 2015|
|Opening hours:||daily 11am-11pm|
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