Yakiniku Yazawa

As earlier mentioned, Yakiniku Yazawa is our favourite Japanese table barbecue restaurant. While it may be the pricey (and I hear several times more expensive than its Tokyo mothership...yikes!), the food is top-notch, with choice meats of the finest quality.

Their wagyu, both of the Japanese and Australian varieties, are the main draw here, but there's now a gamut of non-meat options, including an array of fresh vegetables, to detract from artery-clogging, sinfully-decadent fatty red meat. And on closer inspection, the menu now comprises a number of Korean influenced dishes. No wonder I frequently see a few Koreans dining at Yazawa too.

The limited tables at the grotto of a restaurant makes reservations a required-must, but because we regularly dine at the most inopportune times, we usually walk in without any fuss. Service is generally cordial, and speedy, but the front desk can get a little surly (though I've noticed she's preferentially nice to us habitu├ęs). Another thing, unlike before, they no longer offer table-side cooking assistance, so you'll have to barbecue your own food. The ACS-brat of a Hubs was, in his own words, "perturbed" when they abolished that service.

I've recently acquired a love for Japanese-style soup rice, and here at Yazawa, the Yukkejan Zousui ($22) was a spicy beef and rice soup that evidently drew its inspiration from Korean yukkaejang. And Teochew porridge. The addition of miso was a distinct Japanese touch though. Brimming with scrambled egg, shitake, spinach, carrots, daikon and mung bean sprouts, this had a subtle kick, which complemented the sweet umami-ness of the miso.

A child-and-vegetarian-friendly version, and one that evoked the Hubs' childhood memories because his mom used to make it all the time, the Tamgo Yasai Zousui ($16) was a delicate egg and vegetable rice soup, chockfull of spinach, sukju, daikon, carrots, shitake, and oodles of egg scramble.

But if you don't fancy soupy rice, there's the Claypot Beef Rice ($26) juggernaut. Served sizzling in a clay pot, the sticky, almost glutinous-like rice, will be tossed with seasoned beef and maitake, and slicked with Japanese soy sauce. So damn good, the Hubs usually finishes this on his own.

If you're not keen on rice, there's the glass noodle variation, a Japanese take on Korean japchae, the Yazawa Chapchae ($16), laced with shredded cabbage, shitake mushrooms and beef strips. It's a little sweet, which was surprising, but the cabbage helped make this balanced.

And there's also soupy noodles here, the Beef Niku Udon ($20), which broth was sweet with the essence of beef and sweet caramelised onions. This was a smidge too sweet, and needed a little kick to round that out, so I dunked in a whole lotta sansho pepper.

A must-order, but one that we do so sparingly (because cholesterol), is their Yazawa wagyu, which is so marvelously marbled it's really more fat than meat at this point. One of our favourite cuts is the tri tip, or the Yazawa Beef Tomo Sankaku ($56). It's incredibly flavoursome on its own, so a light sprinkling of salt, or shio, should suffice to season this.

The alternative to Yazawa wagyu is the Australian Wagyu Jo Karubi ($28), a premium chuck-rib that was just as delicious but with a smidge less resultant guilt for company. Its fuller body meant that we could get this marinated in tare.

We also usually get the Tontoro ($16 x 2 portions), a wonderfully exquisite and silky pork neck, flavoured simply with shio.

Another standard order of ours, the Tori Momoniku ($16) of chicken thigh steeped in tare, was succulent and juicy.You'll need to pre-order this when making reservations, as they run out of this super duper quickly.

I love grilled capsicums, and we often find ourselves loading up on Green Peppers ($8 x 2 portions), lightly drizzled with tare, for a little fibre and heat.

Our favourite salad here, if only for its scrumptious sesame oil dressing, the Yazawa Salad ($14) of mesclun greens with cucumber makes a refreshing counter to the smoky char of the meats.

Another vegetable we love to grill is the Cabbage with Miso Paste ($10) which we used to swaddle the barbecued meats with.

And because we really reallyyyyy love our greens, we got the Sanchu ($10) of fresh lettuce leaves, also to swathe the meats in. Here, they served ssamjang for dipping.

Yakiniku Yazawa
11 Unity Street #01-01
Robertson Walk
Tel: 6235 2941
Open daily from 6pm to 11.30pm
Website: www.yazawameat.com

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