“It’s all about the goose” said Anthony Bourdain on a visit to Yat Lok restaurant. He’s right, it really is.
Walking up an ever increasing gradient on Stanley Street in a part of Hong Kong that just begins to get hilly sits Yat Lok. A small, unassuming place that if you hadn’t read about it you would walk straight past it. Amongst the chinese written menu’s and information stands a sticker ‘Michelin Guide 2015’ and a star next to it. Yes that’s right, this humble roast meat shop is the proud owner of one Michelin star.
Pleasantly, the staff speak a decent degree of English and were smiling. Something that had been criticised in many reviews of this restaurant citing poor service and a desperation to kick you out of the door before having finished your last bite. We found the staff to be friendly and welcoming into their small restaurant and believe me, it’s tiny!
Seating is at a premium during peak hours but spaces were free during our visit just before the busy lunch rush. Sitting down on a tiny seat at a shared table, something very common in Hong Kong, we looked over the menu which comes in both English and Chinese. Eyeing up the roasted geese behind the counter it was a no-brainer for what to go for. One half goose please!
The clientele here were mostly tourists, to be expected really given the exposure that this place has had across social media and review sites due to its fame. The goose arrived accompanied by two little dishes of plum sauce with skin resembling glass and the scent of roasted spices. No fancy filleting needed as the chefs in the back just smash through the carcass, bones ‘n’ all.
The goose had me at the first bite, wow. What a flavour and yes it’s all about the skin. Some pieces even are just skin but what meat there is tastes succulent and melts in the mouth, it’s very very good. The advantage of having a half goose is that you get both the leg and the breast so it’s a real chance to sample the best of everything. For me the skin on the breast was phenomenal but the flavour of the leg meat was perfect so the half goose was definitely the way to go.
One thing to bear in mind is that the dish gets incredibly rich after a while. As well as being addictive with the plum sauce,meat and skin providing a taste of heaven there is a lot of it. I would advise coming before lunchtime, around 11am or after the rush around 2pm to enjoy the food here and the space on your table.
The bill arrived at $314 HKD (£31.49) for half a goose and two drinks. The half goose was probably the second or third most expensive item on the menu but there are drumstick portions with rice for $88 HKD (£8.80) with soft drinks coming in at $18 HKD (£1.80). Simply take your bill to the cashier by the exit to pay.
Does Yat Lok deserve a Michelin star? There’s no doubt that the food is very good here but is it a Michelin standard setting? Not for me. Saying that it should be on your to-do list for eating in Hong Kong with the location being ideal for central station and the goose tasting damn good.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10am-9pm