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為何世界級大廚們都偏愛Yardbird?

Where the World’s Chefs Want to Eat
為何世界級大廚們都偏愛Yardbird?

HONG KONG — Yardbird is not the world’s best restaurant.

香港——Yardbird并非世界上最好的餐廳。

But if you were to pool the world’s best modern restaurant trends and traits — the polished technique of Tokyo, the sophisticated warmth of Sydney, the design acumen of Copenhagen, the nose-to-tail ethos of San Francisco, the tattooed bartenders and strong drinks of Berlin, the beautiful people of Los Angeles and the global culinary mix of New York — Yardbird is pretty much the restaurant you would end up with.

但如果你把世界上最現代的餐廳潮流和特征集中起來看——東京的精湛技藝、悉尼的周到熱情、哥本哈根的敏銳設計、舊金山“從頭吃到尾”的理念、柏林的文身酒保和烈性飲料、洛杉磯的高顏值人士以及紐約的全球薈萃美食——Yardbird基本上就是你最后會選擇的那種餐廳。
That is why, eight years after opening, Yardbird remains one of the most popular and influential restaurants in Hong Kong, a city with no shortage of amazingly delicious food.

正因為如此,開店八年之后,Yardbird依舊是香港這個從不缺精彩美食的城市最受歡迎、最有影響力的餐廳之一。

Chefs from all over consider Yardbird their clubhouse when they visit the city: It’s a place they often say they wish they had opened themselves.

世界各地的大廚把Yardbird當成他們訪問香港時的俱樂部會所:他們常說真希望這個地方是自己開的。

“It occupies that rare sweet spot,” said Corey Lee, the chef at In Situ in San Francisco. “It’s just progressive enough, just traditional enough and just affordable enough that it satisfies a huge range of diners.”

“它罕見地做到了一種不偏不倚剛剛好,”舊金山In Situ餐廳的大廚科里·李(Corey Lee)說。“它剛好足夠前衛,剛好足夠傳統,又剛好足夠平價,可以滿足許多形形色色的食客。”

The two owners — Matt Abergel, the chef, and Lindsay Jang, the business manager — grew up in Canada. Like droves of other expatriates, they are entirely at home in this multinational city, where both Chinese and English are official languages and the food is multilingual.

兩位店主——大廚馬特·阿伯格爾(Matt Abergel)和商務經理林賽·張(Lindsay Jang,音)——都在加拿大長大。像大批其他外籍人士一樣,他們在這個中英同為官方語言、有著多元美食的國際都市倍感親切。

Later this year, the partners will expand to the United States, opening a Yardbird spinoff in Los Angeles, a city that has proved itself as an early adopter of Asian dining trends.

今年晚些時候,兩位合伙人將拓展至美國,在洛杉磯開設Yardbird分店。這座城市已證明了自己亞洲飲食潮流嘗鮮者的身份。

On its face, Yardbird is a chic and modern Japanese-style izakaya — a casual restaurant where drinking is as central as eating — with a specialty in yakitori, charcoal-grilled chicken skewers. (The same combination is easy to find in Japan, at places like Toridori in Tokyo and the Michelin-starred Torisho Ishii in Osaka.)

表面上,Yardbird是時髦現代的日式居酒屋(飲酒與吃飯同樣重要的休閑餐廳)——以烤雞肉串為特色菜。(同樣的組合在日本很容易找到,比如東京的Toridori和大阪的米其林餐廳鳥匠石井[Torisho Ishii]。)

But in other ways, it’s a restaurant that could be anywhere — and be cool anywhere — right now.

但從其他方面看,如今它是一家可以位于任何地方——并且在任何地方都很炫酷的餐廳。

It has a crisp, black-and-blond visual identity, from the custom-designed chairs to the labels on the house line of Japanese whiskey. The partners have collaborated with streetwear brands like Vans, Carhartt and Stüssy. Staff members gather for yoga stretches before the dinner shift. There are Mexican-style beer cocktails and Korean-style fried cauliflower. On any given night, the servers, cooks and customers have arrived here from all over the world.

從特別定制的座椅到日本威士忌上的酒標,它有著明快的黑配金的視覺身份。合伙人曾與Vans、Carhartt、Stüssy等街頭服飾品牌合作過。員工晚班前會一起做瑜伽拉伸。既供應墨西哥式啤酒雞尾酒也烹飪韓式炸菜花。任何一個晚上,都有世界各地的服務生、廚子和食客慕名而來。<紐約時報中英文網 http://www.zvkdrb.live/>

As at other modern classics like the Momofuku restaurants and Relae and Joe Beef, the food is unfussy, the room is bustling and there is not a tablecloth or chef’s toque in sight. (Abergel usually wears shorts and a T-shirt in the kitchen; the 6-foot-long grill filled with binchotan, Japanese charcoal that burns bright red and superhot, is relentless.)

和Momofuku、Relae、Joe Beef這類現代經典餐廳一樣,這里的菜品去繁就簡,店內其樂融融,沒有桌布也看不到廚師帽。(阿伯格爾在廚房一般穿短褲T恤;6英尺長的烤架填滿備長炭和日本木炭,炭火通紅、熱度超高,且毫不間斷。)

“The secret is that it created a community that everyone wants to be part of,” said Richard Ekkebus, the Dutch-born head of culinary operations at the elegant Landmark Mandarin Oriental hotel in Hong Kong. “The vibe is addictive, the food is delicious and unpretentious, and who doesn’t like grilled chicken? But it’s all done with a high level of technique.”

“秘密在于它營造了一種每個人都想置身其中的群體氛圍,”李察(Richard Ekkebus)說。他生于荷蘭,是雅致的香港置地文華東方酒店(The Landmark Mandarin Oriental)廚藝總監。“這種氛圍讓人欲罷不能,況且食物那么美味低調,誰不喜歡烤雞肉呢?但這些都是以高水準的技能做出來的。”

Abergel’s signature dishes nod to international classics: a cool tomato salad with tofu skins and shiso leaf that is a play on the ubiquitous Caprese; French-style chicken liver mousse with toasted Japanese milk bread; a Caesar salad seasoned with dried seaweed, miso and fried baby anchovies.

阿伯格爾的招牌菜呼應了國際經典菜品:清涼的番茄沙拉配豆皮和紫蘇葉——對無處不在的卡普里沙拉(Caprese)的演繹,法式雞肝慕斯搭配日式牛奶面包,凱撒沙拉佐以干海帶、味增和干炸小鳳尾魚。

But in the realm of yakitori, grilled chicken skewers, he hews strictly to Japanese tradition. Every part of the bird, from Achilles’ heel to soft knee bone to neck, is used, each one butchered, skewered and seasoned in a specific way.

對于燒雞肉串,他嚴格遵循日本傳統。從雞的阿喀琉斯之踵到雞腿軟骨,再到雞脖子,每個部位都可以用得上,每個部位都被切好了穿成串,并且用特定的方式調味。

“You can train someone to use a knife, but it’s hard to train someone who doesn’t have heart,” chef Masayoshi Takayama wrote in an email. Abergel worked for him at Masa, in Manhattan, New York’s most elegant sushi temple. “Matt understands that it’s important to dig into tradition, to know why something needs to be done a certain way.”

“你可以教一個人怎么用刀,但很難教會那些不用心的人,”主廚高山雅氏(Masayoshi Takayama)在電子郵件中寫道。阿伯格爾曾在曼哈頓的瑪莎(Masa)為他工作,那里是紐約最優雅的壽司殿堂。“馬特明白,深入挖掘傳統很重要,你得知道有些東西為什么需要用某種特定方式來做。”

Most important to local customers, the birds are the famously fatty Chinese breed called “three yellow” (skin, beak, feet) that arrive, alive and squawking, each morning at the nearby Sheung Wan wet market.

對當地消費者來說,最重要的是,原料使用的是著名的中國品種三黃雞(黃羽、黃喙、黃爪),每天早上它們被送到附近的上環菜市場時,還活蹦亂跳咯咯叫著。

Since most Hong Kong cooks and chefs shop daily and expect extremely fresh ingredients, the city has multiple hubs for vendors who sell — and butcher and trim and chop — produce, fish and meat on site. (They’re called “wet” because the sidewalks and floors are constantly hosed down to remove scales, leaves, blood and other debris.)

紐約時報中英文網 http://www.zvkdrb.live/

由于香港大小廚師大多每天都要采購,希望獲得非常新鮮的食材,所以香港有多個市場,專供商販現場銷售、屠宰、處理和切割農產品及魚肉類生鮮。(它們被稱為“濕貨”,因為那里的人行道和地板要不斷沖洗,清除鱗片、葉子、血跡和其他垃圾。)

“Until Yardbird opened, expat chefs would come here and dismiss the quality of local products,” said chef Jowett Yu, who runs a similarly informal restaurant nearby with a Taiwanese-inspired menu, Ho Lee Fook. “But philosophically, Matt just didn’t believe you had to fly in frozen chickens from France that took two days to arrive, instead of using fresh chicken raised 30 kilometers from the restaurant.”

“在Yardbird開業之前,來到這里的外籍廚師對本地產品的質量不以為然,”大廚喬伊特·余(Jowett Yu)說,他在附近經營一家同樣隨意風格的臺灣風味餐廳口利福(Ho Lee Fook)。“但是從理念上來說,馬特就是不信,你不能使用餐廳30公里外生產的新鮮雞肉,非得花兩天時間從法國空運冷凍雞肉。”

Abergel and Jang have a strong restaurant philosophy, summed up as excellence without pretension. They arrived there after decades of restaurant work, both together and separately.

阿伯格爾和林賽·張堅守著一種餐館哲學,可以總結為卓越而不做作。他們開辦這座餐廳之前,都在餐飲業工作了幾十年,有時合作,有時各自經營。

Instead of going to culinary school or college, Abergel spent months traveling in Asia, then did a long stint at an izakaya in Vancouver, British Columbia. Jang was drawn to the service end of the business; she was working as a captain at Nobu Fifty Seven in Manhattan when she persuaded him to join her in New York. They spent their nights off eating yakitori and talking about the different kind of restaurant they would open someday. “When I left New York I never wanted to work a restaurant again unless it was mine,” Jang said.

阿伯格爾沒有上過烹飪學校或大學,而是在亞洲旅行了幾個月,然后在不列顛哥倫比亞省溫哥華的一家居酒屋工作了很長時間。林賽·張對餐飲業感興趣是從侍者服務開始的;她當時在曼哈頓的Nobu 57當店長,并且說服阿伯格爾和她一起去紐約。他們晚上總是出去吃烤雞肉串,討論總有一天他們要開一種完全不同的餐館。“離開紐約的時候,我再也不想在餐館工作了,除非是我自己的餐館,”林賽·張說。

They ran out of time on their United States work visas around when Jang was pregnant with their first child, so when Abergel was offered a job running a vast restaurant in Hong Kong’s swankiest mall, he took it, and they moved here together. But the corporate feeling of the place didn’t work for him.

林賽·張懷上兩人的第一個孩子時,他們的美國工作簽證到期了,所以阿伯格爾接受了一份在香港最豪華的購物中心經營一家大型餐廳的工作,兩人一起搬到香港。但他不喜歡那個餐廳的整體氛圍。

“I knew that there could be a restaurant that was fun,” he said. “Even if I had to build it myself.”

“我知道這個地方可以誕生一家很有趣的餐廳,”他說。“哪怕必須由我親手來打造。”

He was right. Yardbird was an instant hit in 2011, stayed popular, moved to a larger space last year, and has proved surprisingly influential.

他是對的。Yardbird在2011年一炮而紅,一直很受歡迎,去年搬到了一個更大的空間,并被證明極有影響力。

“Yardbird has really changed the way front-of-house works in Hong Kong” said Yu, the chef, who is originally from Taiwan. Before, he said, service here was stuck in an old-fashioned mode: either too deferential and formal (at expensive restaurants) or indifferent bordering on neglectful (at cheap ones).

“Yardbird真的改變了香港餐廳堂食的方式,”來自臺灣的廚師喬伊特·余說。他說,以前香港的服務都非常老式:高檔餐廳過于恭敬和正式,廉價餐廳冷淡到近乎無視顧客。

“Yardbird was the first restaurant that made you feel like going to someone’s house party, " he said, “where the waiters call you by your first name and give you a high-five and a hug.”

“Yardbird是第一家讓你覺得好像是在參加派對的餐廳,”他說,“那里的服務員會直呼你的名字,和你擊掌、擁抱。”

Another regular, the British chef Daniel Calvert of Belon, said that Yardbird is so popular among visiting chefs that he wonders if Yardbird is now creating, not following, food trends.

另一位常客、貝隆(Belon)的英國大廚丹尼爾·卡爾弗特(Daniel Calvert)說,Yardbird在訪問香港的大廚中非常受歡迎,他覺得Yardbird可能不是在追隨潮流,而是創造了新的美食潮流。

“Maybe it does reflect the way the whole world wants to dine,” he said. “Or does the world reflect how Yardbird wants us to dine?”

“也許它確實反映了全世界喜歡什么樣的用餐方式,”他說。“又或者這個世界反映了Yardbird希望我們怎樣用餐?”

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