Sunday, 16 September 2012

Yu-U - Melbourne - 137 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

I am showing my age here but I do remember when Yu-U first opened.

It was one of those trully Melbourne Japanese gems at the foot of a cobbled pathway, in a basement of a dodgy door which barely opens properly.

I recall eating set lunches for around $15 including miso, sushi and soba noodles - I think this is the first place I tried soba. We are talking around gosh I don't know 13 years ago maybe.

I recall getting in once for dinner but have not been back for so long. This is not a place where you can just walk in and get a table, you do have to book in advance.

Had a friend coming into town and luckily I managed to score a special dining room for 6 people 3 weeks in advance. I felt like I had won the lotto.

The first thing that smacks you in the face at Yu-U is the impeccable service and presentation of everything. From the delicate poise of the hand of the waitress as she directs you to the room, to the perfectly placed plates and placemats, to the efficiency and rate at which food is delivered to the table without hearing a footstep on arrival.

Everything here is so quiet and feels so distant from the Western world.  The waitress even failed to understand what gluten free means for my friend who can't eat soy - I love that.

Yu-U has a big menu and we tried to eat our way through as much as we could.

The kingfish and tuna sashimi is delicate and probably the best around town.

The squid with asparagus in ginger sauce cooked to perfection and my favourite dish of the night.

I could even eat the agedashi tofu which I normally hate, but this was lightly crisp on the outside and quite edible.

The snapper in dashi broth, prawn dumplings, wagyu filled with spring onions, wagyu skewers, chicken terriyaki skewers, sashimi with avocado and soba noodles - all food treated with a lot of care, delicate and not too oversauced but interesting enough to make you want more.

My friend also told me to make note that the Elderton Shiraz is a two thumbs up and really the whole wine list is good, a bit too good for a Tuesday night.

So what are you going to write asked my friend - that everything tastes so good?

What I will say is this - I had a great time because I was in a room in another world with a bunch of great old-time work colleagues covering just about every topic imagineable - politics, how glad we feel to have left our last mutual employer, Jessica Alba versus Drew Barrymore (women like Drew, men prefer Jessica), the mark of a good God Parent is how well they gift, people we know who have punched above their waistline and how one of my friends would only ever have children so she can have a topic of conversation to discuss with clients. In a nutshell, friends who keep everything and everyone honest and real.

8/10
Yu-U on Urbanspoon
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