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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.