We actually wanted to have a fairly simple dinner at Chikuwa-Tei tonight, but when we called to make a reservation in the evening, they only had a table for us after 8.30 pm. Not wanting to wait, we decided to try Yumeya, another Japanese joint just down the road that came recommended by one of A’s friends.
Unlike Chikuwa-Tei, where their standout items are clearly their chawanmushi and their sashimi (particularly the salmon sashimi), I’m not sure that Yumeya has any specialties. We tried to order a fairly wide range, just to see if any particular category jumped out at us.
We tried their sautéed mixed mushrooms, which were a mix of shitake, enoki and shimeji mushrooms. They came in a buttery white wine sauce which was good, but they were a bit too heavy handed with the garlic, which overpowered the flavour of the mushrooms.
The grilled chicken wings were quite good, but the Asparagus Butter Yaki (asparagus grilled in butter) wasn’t what I expected. I thought it would be a clean tasting dish, with asparagus just grilled with some butter brushed on top. It turned out to be almost a stir fry, with onions and some garlicky minced meat topping that again just overwhelmed the asparagus.
The scallop grilled with mayonnaise arrived with quite a fanfare of flames, but I’m not sure that the dish lived up to its presentation. It was as good as you would expect from scallops drenched in mayonnaise and grilled, but it just met those expectations and didn’t really offer more.
One of their more oft-reviewed dishes is the beef tataki, which again was decent but not outstanding. Rare slices of beef in a black pepper sauce, this was something that could be quite easily done at home, perhaps without the black pepper sauce which I don’t much care for anyway.
We figured we should also try some of their raw fish items, but these really didn’t come cheap. We ended up with the mixed sushi, which wasn’t too bad, but I reckon we could get just as good sushi at Itacho.
Finally (yes, we overordered again...), A’s choice (it figures) was a really weird rice with ume (sour plum) and green tea. I don’t think he expected it to be some sort of porridge. I wouldn’t order this again, though the sour plum did provide a refreshing change to the fairly heavily seasoned other dishes.
Prices aren’t low here, and the food, though perfectly passable, isn’t distinctive enough in my opinion to warrant spending that much, not when with a bit of advance planning, a simpler but much more satisfying meal can be had at Chikuwa-Tei.
Unlike C, I really liked the food here. The service is excellent as well. But I have to agree with C that comparatively speaking, I’d rather go to the slightly cheaper and more casual Chikuwa-Tei.
Yumeya Japanese Restaurant
33 Mohamed Sultan Road
Mon–Fri: 12 noon – 2.30 pm, 6 pm – 12 midnight
Sat & Sun: 6 pm – 2 am