Monday, March 12, 2007

Yu-u and me

Address: 137 Flinders Lane (enter from Oliver Lane)
Phone: 9639 7073
Cost: the dishes are reasonably priced but many are very small, so you need to eat a lot of them. The wine list is reasonable. With wine $50-70 per person depending on appetite and thirst.

So much has been written already about the anonymity of this eatery. It’s Melbourne. We have laneways. This is a modern take on hunting and gathering so enjoy the search for you will be handsomely rewarded in the end.

Once you push open the rather heavy door, you know you have entered a different world. Furnished with sparse elegance, the jarrah bar such a nice change from the usual chunky pine furniture that haunts Japanese establishments. There is a kind of hush, a reverential atmosphere – though depending on the clientele this is not always true. Do not be fooled, no matter how hopeful you may feel about spotting an empty seat at the bar or a space at the table, it is rare for you to be seated at night without a booking.

For the first time I could enter the place with confidence. Yes, we had a booking and our chairs awaited us at the end of the u shaped bar. We had arrived!

The menu is very reasonable, but this is mainly because some of the dishes are mere mouthfuls. But as each tastebud is stimulated with every morsel, it doesn’t matter. You can always order more.

Slowly assemble a selection of little dishes to share. Try to remember to get at least one item from the lovingly fanned char grill in front of you.

Don’t skimp on the wine. Though a small list, it a carefully assembled and very reasonably priced.

So what did we eat?

Kingfish sashimi - 6 little triangles of tender wonderment.

Avocado and salmon sashimi in sweet miso dressing – a very modest mouthful, but every little bit of it was wonderful.

King George Whiting tempura – once more minimalist, but up there with the finest mouthful of fish that I have ever experienced.

Prawn dumplings – not encased in your run of the mill wrapper, these were crafted in ribbons of flat noodles. Sensational.

Agadashi tofu – a perfect version of this classic dish with the best dried bonito flakes in the city.

Salmon on rice in a green tea broth – there was the slight bitterness from the tea and a hit of wasabi – an interesting combo.

Char grilled rice cake – well we wanted something from the rake thin yakitori chef’s fine fan waving hands and as 99% of it was chicken, a little bit of ballast seemed like a fine idea. It was deliciously char grilled and tasty.

We drank: 2005 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Riesling. Sublime and affordable at less than $40 a bottle.

Yu-u is not the place to eat if you have a huge appetite or don’t like Japanese food. It is a temple of taste and a true Melbourne Foodie experience. Take a note from the Japanese diners who remember to order some greens with their meal and a little soba, to make it more balanced.

And don’t forget to book!


Marie for taking the photos and her sparkling company.

The bankrupt business man for providing the unexpected entertainment.

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Anonymous cin said...

what a great place this is! I have to try their bento box for lunch some time too.

6:03 pm  
Anonymous frogpondsrock said...

Thankyou :) My 16 y/o son is a foodie and would love this place. His girlfriend is just discovering proper food. So I think we might give it a try.

2:50 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

It really is fab (though can't assure you will/won't be seated near a very drunk Melbourne identity who'll shout at you about the welfare of your husband (sic) while you are out on the town.)

But BOOK IT NOW!! A month in advance is probably about right for a mid week dinner.

3:09 pm  

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