Yayoi Garden – Sydney CBD
Great evening at Yayoi Garden (Bridge St, Sydney), thanks to the boss! This is for our New Year dinner, as usual I was lucky enough to get to pick the restaurant again! Yayoi has really nice Japanese food. It looks like the menu has changed a lot since the last time I was there. (January 2015 for my birthday?). As far as I remember, this place used to have set meals, but I’ve been told that that’s now Yayoi Teishoku – The Galleries.
Either way, we ended up ordering from the Kayaba 8 course set in the summer menu. First 5 items are fixed and we get to pick from 2 options for the main, rice and dessert. As it was a large group, we were required to pre-order our menu selections. It would be best to ask ahead of time before arriving at the restaurant especially regarding group size.
“An assortment of delicately flavoured Japanese entrées”
For this dish, the 3 choices presented to us are: confit tomatos in white wine jelly, grilled cream cheese and beef tataki with what looks (and tastes like) jellied soy dressing. Very interesting selection indeed. Each part of the dish looks carefully prepared and we all enjoyed them very much. I could probably go for a full dish of that beef tataki, well prepared and I love the idea of jellied sauce.
“Assorted sashimi entrées”
Here we have some freshly sliced kingfish, salmon and sweet shrimp sashimi, served with freshly grated wasabi. I love the little sweet shrimp sashimi best. It was great that we had fresh wasabi served with this dish. Made everything tastes so much better.
“Deep-fried tofu in Japanese dashi broth”
The tofu is smooth and silky, and the dashi broth is quite delicate. The balance of this dish is pretty good and I really did enjoy the tofu! It was fried quite well too.
“Slow-cooked braised pork belly in a soy sauce base”
The pork itself had great flavours. I was craving a hot bowl of rice at this stage. It was cooked quite nicely, but there’s way too much pork. As the 4th course and being quite heavy, I felt rather full after this dish.
“Prawn skewer accompanied by lotus chips”
Well, I had to give it a pass (allergies). I was advised that this, unfortunately, is not the most spectacular dish of the day. I had one of the lotus chips, but it is not as crisp as I hoped it would be.
On hindsight, I should have notified the restaurants ahead of time and see if they could do a swap. I gave my prawns to my co-worker next to me anyway, she just had a baby and she gave me her sashimi. So it was a good compromise.
Black Angus Touban-Yaki “Black angus sirloin steak cooked in Japanese BBQ style. Accompanied by miso-eggplant.”
This is the dish I had. I felt the steak was too well done for my liking. It was quite a huge portion of food as well.
Kaisen Santen Mori – “A delicious assortment of three seafood dishes. Baby abalone, Saikyo-salmon and kingfish tartare”
I have been advised that this wasn’t too bad. I tried some of the kingfish tartare. It was more like strips of kingfish in a dressing. Honestly, it was quite lovely. Will love to try this the next time I visit.
Aburi Salmon Roll – “Rolled sushi with seared salmon”
It was quite a good dish. I do enjoy the rice that Yayoi serves up and this is no different. The rice was properly cooked and the salmon tasted really good. This is served with a side of miso soup. There’s onions in the soup, not my favorite thing to add into miso soup, but I suppose it did make it sweeter.
Unagi Hitsumabushi – “Savour this thin-sliced grilled eel rice bowl by pouring the dashi broth over the top”
Quite the sight, to pour clear soup into a bowl of rice. It has the feeling of a ocha-zuke (tea-rice porridge). rice is good and the eel looked like it was prepared well too. I love the little strips of egg topping on the rice.
Matcha Ice Cream – “Green tea ice cream”
Pretty self explainatory. The ice cream did arrive a little melted. It isn’t me who went nuts over taking pics of the ice cream till it melted. Most of the ice cream for the table arrived pretty firm, but there were a few melty ones and it just happened that the one my co-worker (seated right in front of me) received a semi melted ice cream. I love the edible flowers. Served with hot green tea.
Matcha Warabi Mochi – “Warabi mochi, a jelly-like dessert made from bracken starch”
My choice! I love my mochi! this is pretty good as well. Powdered matcha dusted on top of pieces of warabi mochi. This is more jelly-like/starchy than the chewy glutinous rice flour type of mochi. Still good. Served with red bean paste, sliced strawberries and edible flowers. Yum! Served with hot green tea.
Our very generous boss got us some Dassai 50 for the table. This is one of my favourite junmai daiginjo sake. Could easily be my favourite of course. Light refreshing flavour that is smooth and quite palatable, with a sweet ricey finish. This here is served cold. Daiginjo is preferably served cold as not to overwork the flavours.
We had a wonderful time at dinner, and will probably return again! I would give Yayoi Teishoku at The Galleries a go next time. I do miss the steamed rice there.