“If you have any questions, hit the call staff button – that’s like a dog whistle for me,” my affable waitress jokes as she leaves me to my own devices with a printed and an iPad menu. She’s also very clear that the signature steamed rice – Kama Daki Gohan ($8) – cooked tableside, will take 25 minutes. It’s a small price to pay for a fluffy pot of freshly steamed rice and a bit of table-theatre while you decide on your “teishoku” (meal set). As this, the first Australian venture of a Japanese chain called Yayoiken, does balanced home-style Japanese meal sets, you don’t actually need an entrée. Regardless, a pretty plate of Gyu Tataki ($16) – seared waygu with asparagus and ponzu jelly – will keep you entertained, without adding too much bulk. Discussing the various merits of three sakes in the Premium Sake Selection ($10) should see you through (or not, booze is cheap) until it is time for table Tetris. Don’t take it to mean I don’t appreciate the detailed ceramic tableware, it’s just arranging two trays of it, our rice, the iPad and assorted drinks on the table takes skill. Tuck into a comforting wagyu beef hotpot – Wagyu Sukiyaki ($33) or use the balanced sides as an excuse to dabble in deep-fried Pork Fillet Katsu ($27).
Shop 2, 38-42 Bridge Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9247 8166 yayoi.com.au