Yayoi Japanese Teishoku Restuarant, Sydney

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Teishoku is a bal­anced set meal in Japan, usu­ally con­sist­ing of a soup dish, a main dish, two side dishes and a bowl of rice. Yayoi-ken is a chain in Japan spe­cial­ising in teishoku. Opening its first store dur­ing the trans­ition peri­od fol­low­ing the Meiji Restoration, when nation­al seclu­sion was elim­in­ated and cuisines from many dif­fer­ent coun­tries entered Japan and gradu­ally merged with its own tra­di­tion­al cuisine, Yayoi-ken intro­duced many to a new world of food.

The suc­cess of Yayoi-ken in Japan has seen it expand to Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand and now Sydney. So when D and I caught up with DT and his girl­friend, we were keen to see the dif­fer­ence between their Sydney store and those in Japan.

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This is D’s Mix Toji Teishoku ($19), a set meal with pork cut­let, deep fried prawn and wagyu beef topped with egg. It comes with sides of miso soup, tsuke­mono (pickles) and hiyayakko (chilled tofu).

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This teishoku had a good vari­ety of pro­tein, which appealed to D. Overall, he found the pro­tein tasty — the prawn had good fla­vour, although its egg bath had rendered its panko coat­ing com­plet­ing soggy, the pork was a tad tough, and the beef was tasty, although it wasn’t imme­di­ately obvi­ous as being wagyy. I’d say that the heat from the clay pot the dish sat it likely con­trib­uted to the pro­tein being a tad over­cooked, gen­er­ally. From my taste, the egg coat­ing had a deli­ciously more-ish fla­vour from the dashi. D missed the free rice refills in the Japanese stores.

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Having been crav­ing kara-age for some­time, I had the Chicken Kara-age Teishoku ($17.50) a set meal with deep-fried chick­en, served with ponzu cit­rus-fla­voured soy sauce and grated diakon radish.

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Good kara-age has a light and crispy bat­ter hid­ing juicy cuts of chick­en. While the chick­en itself was juicy — indeed, it was just cooked — the bat­ter itself was thick, soft, oily and not crispy in the slight. The ponzu soy sauce could’ve used a much big­ger cit­rus kick.

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And for dessert, we had the Matcha Warabi Mochi ($4.00). Warabi mochi is a jelly-like dessert made from brack­en starch. It’s usu­ally covered or dipped in kinako, but here it’s replaced with matcha powder and drizzled in kur­omitsu (black honey, or a dark sug­ar syrup).

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The war­abi mochi had a soft, chewy tex­turethe chewy but soft tex­ture, while the sharp veget­al notes of the matcha powder cut through the intense sweet­ness of the kur­omitsu.

Overall, their Sydney store is much less cas­u­al than it’s Japanese coun­ter­part. It’s a des­tin­a­tion res­taur­ant, rather than some­where akin to a diner that you might pop into for a quick, afford­able and healthy meal as in Japan.

Yayoi Japanese Teishoku Restuarant is loc­ated at Level 1, The Galeries, 500 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000.