Tuesday, September 30, 2014

YAYOI Restaurant. Sydney.

Earlier this year I was honoured to be asked to MC the launch of Yayoi Restaurant in Sydney - the first of the famous Yayoi family to open oustide of Asia. 

It was a pretty exciting time for both the family owned company and for the Sydney market who were introduced to Teishoku style dining which loosely translates as a 'set' of dishes. That is - you order a meal which generally contains a main protein dish, and a couple of sides - usually a selection of vegetable dishes or perhaps tofu for example - plus rice, soup and pickles.  It's Japanese home cooking - nothing too tricky - just tasty, filling and feel good!  Teishoku meals are well-considered and nutritionally balanced with a range of flavours and textures  - plus, at Yayoi they are attractively presented on trays and it's bloody delicious.  While Teishoku meals are the focus at Yayoi - you can order individual dishes for yourself, or sharing, too - like we did on this occasion.

Yayoi also happen to have quite a few sakes (and boy did we taste some!) and Japanese Beers which adds to the experience of course! And the rice, which they have grown just for them, is a hybrid with the appearance of white rice but the nutrition of brown - and it is very good.  Win Win. Plus it gets cooked at your table in a mini version of a traditional rice cooker. As it takes about 20 minutes they suggest ordering it straight away so it can cook away at your table while you peruse the menu and order everything else - which comes out very quickly.
 The restaurant has been packed for lunches and dinner since it opened and I wouldn't be surprised if we saw another one popping up in Australia in the not too distant future... so keep an eye out for a Yayoi near you! 
Last week I was finally able to return to Yayoi and relax with a Japanese friend and her husband and enjoy a few old favourites. Fortunately we were all on the same wavelength with the favourites...  ie the stuff we can't usually get here, the comforting grub from our other 'home'  - the expertly fried stuff we don't normally cook for ourselves - the likes of Tonkatsu and Chicken Nanban for example, done really well.  Oh...I could do with a bite of this deliciousness right about now.
It was really nice, several months after the glamorous opening, to see first hand how well the place is running - I've never been served so quickly and seamlessly in  my life (you order by i-pad and your drinks are with you within a minute or so and your meal very shortly afterwards!) and the food we ate was so authentic that it really was like being back in Japan - rarely do I experience that here in Australia.  

Well done Yayoi! I'll be back again soon with the boy who missed out and is VERY cranky about it!

Oh and if you want to hear a little bit more here's me gasbagging about Japanese food on 2GB 

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