Reading: The Dish With Yardbird’s Matt Abergel

The Dish With Yardbird’s Matt Abergel

What do you miss about Hong Kong when you’re away from the city?

My kids. My restaurants. The airport.

If your customer can only order three dishes at Yardbird what would they be?

Chicken Meatball (Tsukune). Chicken Heart. Sweet Corn Tempura.

How would you define Hong Kong Dining Culture?

Diverse. Fast. Layered.

yardbird hong kong yakitori

What’s one dish you miss from Canada that you can’t get in Hong Kong?

Ginger Beef.

What is your most memorable moment at Yardbird?

When my mentor, Masayoshi Takayama, came for dinner and didn’t hate it.

Biggest kitchen disaster?

H5N1 – Bird flu.

Name one person you would want to dine at Yardbird?

Toke – one of the Chefs I worked with at Masa who’s now around 72 years old and still working part-time.

Name one dish that defines Hong Kong?

Wonton Noodle Soup.

Are you a hunter or a gatherer?


yardbird hong kong yakitori grill

Hong Kong is notorious for it’s constant and high turnover of restaurants. How has Yardbird been able to sustain its success?

The secret behind any successful business is having a strong, loyal, hard-working team. The Yardbird team is a family as opposed to just colleagues and we work together to demonstrate camaraderie both in and outside of the restaurant. There’s also the high level of importance, care, and attention we place on consistency, quality, and service.

You’re stranded on a desert island. What five foods would you want with you?

Avocado, a chicken, corn, garlic, soy sauce.

What differentiates Yardbird from other yakitori restaurants in Hong Kong?  

Everything – the atmosphere, the ingredients, the charcoal, the music…

Favourite place to dine in Hong Kong (after Yardbird).

Celebrity Cuisine.

Part of the allure at Yardbird is the dining experience and atmosphere the restaurant provides, what kind of experience do you want the diner to take away Yardbird?

Our focus has remained the same since we opened: to create and serve simple, tasty and honest food in a fun and relaxed environment while maintaining the highest level of quality and service. Yardbird represents more than just the food and drinks that are served – it’s about the whole experience – and we want our guests to feel that from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave.

yardbird hong kong yakitori grill interior

You have said to have modeled the restaurant after a 90’s skate shop. What characteristics of a skate shop have you pulled into Yardbird?

Community, creativity, the “everybody does everything” mindset, free stickers, good music…

Yardbird was one of the first restaurants in Hong Kong to introduce a no reservations no service charge policy, what influenced this decision?

Yardbird is inspired by Japanese izakayas where you wait, drink, wait, drink, eat and hang out. To maintain this style of dining we had remove the formality of bookings and since day one we maintain a first come, first served policy.

Tell me a joke.

Why did the chicken cross the road…