Yayoi, The Galeries

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Yayoi is not just another Japanese restaurant. Yayoi is a restaurant specialising in Teishoku - a Japanese set meal that consists of a number of smaller dishes, often served on a tray with steamed rice and miso soup.

The restaurant sits on the upper level of The Galeries, with large windows framed by timber beams overlooking the shops below. If you have been up there during meal times, you will have come across the queues that gather around the restaurant's entrance. The wait is often quite lengthy, so if you are not prepared to queue, it would be best to arrive outside peak dining hours. 

There is an extensive list of teishoku offered on the menu at Yayoi, which come with a choice of main meal along with set side dishes. Options include salt-grilled mackerel, chicken namban (fried chicken with tartare sauce), pork tonkatsu, grilled unagi (eel) and tororo nabe (chicken, pork and dashi hotpot). One can choose to upgrade their teishoku by adding littleneck clams to the miso, or a side of salmon sashimi. Many of the main dishes offered as teishoku can also be ordered a la carte, and there is also a small number of don and jyu boxes which can be ordered separately.

The inside is not quite big enough to accommodate for the restaurant's popularity, making the queues a little more understandable. Once you sit down, much of the dining experience is self-managed, with ordering completed via iPads mounted onto each table. They're easy to navigate and items are divided into smaller categories: drinks, sides, teishoku and a la carte.

Yayoi Gozen ($30)
The Yayoi Gozen is Yayoi's signature set meal that gives you a taste of all of the restaurant's recommended dishes: pork loin cutlet, salmon teriyaki, wagyu sukiyaki and salmon salad. This box is perfect for those who like a try a little bit of everything. As with the other teishoku, it comes with rice, miso, Japanese pickles and a side of cold sesame spinach salad.

The salmon teriyaki is delicate but flavoursome, with a sweet, thick sauce that coats the fish, oyster mushrooms and small piece of lotus root. 

A miniature version of sukiyaki is tasty, but lacks the tenderness of the larger hot pot version that we also order in teishoku form. 

The salmon salad is fresh and comes dressed in a light sesame dressing, while a small piece of fried pork cutlet is tender and cooked to a golden crisp. 

Wagyu Sukiyaki Teishoku ($25.80)
Wagyu beef hotpot is imbued with the sweet flavours of soy and mirin. The sauce is not as sweet nor as rich as teriyaki, with more of a soup-like consistency that is perfect when paired with the slippery, thick udon and flavour-absorbent soft tofu. 

There is lots of thin, tender wagyu beef in the sukiyaki bowl, which is boiling hot and packed with knotted, jelly-like konnyaku noodles and a bonus plump shiitake mushroom. Pour a little of the liquid sauce over the accompanying bowl of steamed, short grain rice to fill you up. 

This teishoku comes with a side of spinach gomaae - a cold, salad-like dish of blanched spinach mixed with a rough, nutty sesame mixture.

Asari Misho Shiru (extra $3 with any teishoku)
The addition of miniature clams gives miso soup a luxurious upgrade. Nestled in their shells, they add a delicious seafood-like flavour to the soup; we love picking up the shells and sucking each out one by one.

We also add a side of fresh, silky salmon sashimi.  

Miso Pork Loin Katsu Teishoku ($19.80)
In this hearty set meal, tender pork loin cutlet is deep fried, tonkatsu-style, and served in a simmered miso sauce. The sauce is on the richer side and can be easily tempered by being mixed with the perfectly-cooked rice. 

Dipping the juicy pork into the soft, silky egg that comes on the side adds extra lusciousness. The only downside to this dish is that the pork loses its crispy outer as soon as it's placed into the sauce, so a soggy loin cutlet is almost unavoidable. This comes with a palate-cleansing a side of cold, silken tofu, carrot, shiitake and edamame that is a great palate-cleanser. 

If you can get past the long wait and embrace the self-directed dining approach, Yayoi provides a good option for a slightly more relaxed, high quality Japanese meal in the heart of the Sydney CBD.


YAYOI Japanese Teishoku Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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