The first in an occasional series in which I document things I find/try whilst out and about in Dublin. As a non-native Dubliner (and indeed an Englishman!) my view might prove interesting or it might prove to be rubbish, but it’s my blog and you don’t have to read. Subjects will be varied and the stuff I decide to write about will depend largely on if I have a particular opinion on it or not.
Let’s start by stating one thing. I am not a food critic, and never will be. I like food, and I like wine, but I profess to not know anything about them beyond being an average punter. So take any restaurant reviews with a pinch of salt (see what I did there?)
Yamamori Noodles is located on South Georges Street in the city centre, a short walk away from Grafton Street. It’s a Japanese noodle restaurant, somewhat similar in style to a typical Wagamama but much, much better and certainly more authentic. We visited it for lunch on a Saturday afternoon when it was busy but not crowded and we were seated immediately. The menu is fairly standard and includes sushi and sashimi selections, a range of side dishes and a very decent variety of mains. Daily lunch specials took the form of bento boxes consisting of a selection of sushi a main and a side.
I had the sashimi starter platter to begin with, which consists of eight pieces chosen by the chef (presumably depending on what’s available) Salmon and Tuna were present, as was another non-descript white fish which I didn’t identify but eat anyway. No prawns. It all tasted lovely and I’m not suffering any aftereffects so one presumes that they are able to source nice and fresh fish and know how to prepare it. Certainly, it compared favourably to any sashimi I’d had before, but then that only includes one other Japanese restaurant in Southampton so I am no expert. Lana chose to have a side of Ebi Katsu (deep fried prawns) which came with a lovely sauce, much nicer than the standard sweet chili one you would get with the same dish in Wagamama.
For mains I chose Yaki Udon which again compared very favourably to the same dish I’m used to in Wagamama. Lana chose Tempura and rice, which arrived to gasps as a delicately arranged plate of prawn, plaice and vegatable tempura placed in such a way as to form a wig-wam type shape was put in front of her. The tempura batter was done to perfection and melted in the mouth.
One thing worth definitely worth highlighting was Iki beer, which was a new one on me. I’m used to drinking Asahi or Kirin in Japanese restaurants, but Iki was wonderful. If I were to try and compare it to any other beer the closest approximation would be Hoegaarden, and in fact it is subsequently unsurprising to discover that Iki is brewed in Belgium. However, unauthentic as it may be, the combination of brewed beer and green tea along with citrus Yuzu fruit is very thirst quenching and eminently drinkable (much more so than Hoegaarden which let’s face it is something that you start of drinking because it is different and cool, but quickly realise tastes very similar to what it looks like…)
Enough about the beer, what about the service? Well it was efficient, friendly and without problem. We were attended to quickly for drinks and food ordering and the dishes arrived without delay. They gave us green tea without asking which is always a nice touch. One thing I was particularly pleased about was that they allowed a gratuity to be given using the EPOS machine when I paid by card. It really annoys me when places skip past the option before handing you the machine to enter your PIN. If I had cash on me I’d be paying with it and then leaving you a cash tip. If I want to pay by card then let me pay everything by card. I know that it is probably much easier to share tips out amongst staff when they are all in cash form but don’t forget the customer is still the most important part of the deal. Without them there would be no tips! Talking of money, the prices were excellent certainly much cheaper than I was expecting given the quality of the food. Our lunch including drinks came to a very tidy €45.
So, overall Yamamori gets a very definite thumbs up from us, and the next time we are in town and looking for some Japanese food we will walk right past Wagamama and onto here. I’m also looking forward to trying out their sister restaurant Yamamori Sushi down on the Quays.