Japanese food culture is something which would never end you up, bored, thanks to the broad range of flavours it comes with. Few years back, there were no many Japanese restaurants in Sri Lanka, but must be due to the huge demand by sushi lovers like us, pretty good places have come out to the lime light.
Today’s Cookie Diary by OLANKA is about YUMI-Taj Samudra, one of the most popular restaurents at Taj Samudra which is undoubtedly a must-try place to give a go, especially if you prefer an authentic Japanese cuisine spiced up with exquisite Japanese interior decoration and soothing music.
At-a-glance-ambience was pretty warm, especially with the seating-setting and the hint is, you wouldn’t ask for more, in a rainy day to spend few hours in a tranquilizing milieu! Slow-flow Japanese songs, played in the background of course gave us goose bumps, just as we walked in, as it was definitely, a lovely welcome, under the moon-like lighting.
The prolix and well explained Japanese food menu came just as we settled down and yes, the staff was full of charming smiles on their faces, and that is an absolute plus!
Appetizers and Soup
Unlike what we have seen in most of the Japanese restaurants in Sri Lanka, the choices included both hot and cold appetizers to choose from. We gave a go to Tuna Salad (cold) and Rock Corn tempura (hot) which were some pretty good selections, as we realized with the first bite.
Tuna Salad (Rs.1350.00)is a dish made of Fresh Tuna, Panko Crunch (break-crumbs) flavored with a special sauce made by the chef (must be with a secret recipe), Trying out a cold appetizer on a rainy day, may not be the best decision, but this salad was amazing, especially if you are a lover of Tuna!
Rock Corn Tempura (Rs.450.00)-was superb and we were wondering why we had never tried it anywhere before. The recipe seemed to be quite simple, as corns we usually eat had been battered up and tanged with Mayo sauce, but the finishing and presentation were excellent!
Sesame lovers had been given a bonus-by having several sesame flavored dishes to the set of appetizers which included, Chicken Karage (crispy fried chicken with spicy sesame sauce-Rs.550.00), Sawara Karage (crispy fried seer fish with spicy sesame sauce-Rs.950.00). Yasai Tempura (Rs.390.00) with vegetables or non-vegetables tossed with tempura sauce was an excellent choice for vegetarian tempura fans.
The soup we tried, Miso Shiru (Rs.380.00) – with Tofu (bean curd) and Wakami (a subtly sweet flavored sea weed) was ALRIGHT but we were wondering if we could have made a better choice by choosing a creamy soup instead of this one with a clear salt-watery texture.
‘Maguro’ (Rs.1850.00), the dish of Sashimi (a Japanese dish of bite-sized pieces of raw fish eaten with soy sauce and wasabi paste) we chose, was pretty decently arranged in an eye-pleasing way. Made with fresh tuna, fresh horseradish and pickled ginger had an overall pickle-taste (salt and sour like) and out-look of the slice of fresh Tuna was so tempting, fresh (translucent red) and of high quality! My other half, wanted the fresh tuna to be bit cooked and the response was highly admirable. (Double plus points!)
The good news is, even if you are not a fan of traditional raw Japanese cuisine, the staff at Yumi Taj Samudra would always respect your choice, and might go out of the recipe to satisfy your taste buds-Hats off to the YUMI chef!
Out of the options including Modha Nigiri (Fresh Modha fish), Unagi Nigiri (fresh eel fish on seasoned ball of rice), Salmon and Tuna Nigiri, we went for Ebi Nigiri (Rs.690.00) – a seasoned rice ball, with fresh prawns laid up on it, was one of our favorites in the list and it was not only succulent but also gave this satisfying feel of ‘Sushi-fication’ on trying with Wasabi and soy sauce. The dish was not outstanding among the rest of the same traditional recipe we had tried out at other Japanese restaurents, but there wasn’t anything to complain at all!
Maki, the best creation of Japanese food, according to me was delicious and went well with Soy sauce. The super lengthy range of MAKI options available on the Menu, made us bit shocking and tempting at the same time, to try out at least a few. However, after spending few minutes of twisted thoughts, we went for Tekka Maki (Rs.1190.00 for 8 pieces), fresh tuna in a roll of seasoned rice wrapped in Nori-the sea weed was what we tried and the portion of 8 pieces was well-enough to be shared by two. If you are a lover of Maki like me, 2-3 portions could have been tried despite the full-tummy, but the price was quite high (Rs.1190.00×3), so maybe NOT!
Yumi-Taj Samudra, is well known in town for the Teppanyaki A La-carte menu it offers!
A must-try Japanese dish of meat, fish or both, with fried vegetables on a hot steel plate usually marks a prominent place on a traditional Japanese dining table. ‘Yumi Tasting Meat Max (Rs.4480.00)’ we tried was a mixed platter of Australian fillet mignon, lamb chop, chicken, duck breast and a pretty good range of eenie-meenie vegetables. The presentation of the dish was catchy and tempting and the portion was pretty large for at least 3 people to share it!
As far as the range of Japanese restaurents in Colombo is concerned, Bento boxes are served only in few places. Tori-Teri Bento-at YUMI Taj Samudra (Rs.1900.00), is an excellent choice we made, and if you choose to lunch at this place, Bento box only would fill your tummy up without any question! Offered with Miso soup, Yumi Salad, Sashimi (of chef’s choice-we had TUNA sashimi), Teriyaki cooked chicken, Sticky rice and pickled cabbage, Tori Teri Bento came in an elegant black box, which looked more or less like a pretty Jewelry box in handy! Sadly, this is only available for lunch.
When the Mains just went in to our tummies, the question, which popped up next was, do we really have some space for desserts? Well, in that case, Wasabi crème Brulee (Rs.610.00) of a scoop was highly effective, even if chose it blindly just because the name sounded sweet and lovely. The flavor of Wasabi lodged into cream was absolutely yummy and definitely a pleasing way to end the meal if you are a fan of WASABI, the ‘magical paste-of-joy’ according to me!
Other options available included, Maccha green tea ice cream (Rs.625), Bitter warm chocolate tart (Rs.625.00) and Fruit Moriawase (Rs.560.00) and we decide to try all of them out during our next visit.
The Service at Yumi Taj Samudra was brilliant, friendly and professional! Waiters carried themselves really well and fulfilled almost all the requirements in a spur of a second, as we went along. They were not reluctant to explain what food consisted of in a clear-cut way, thus giving us the opportunity to choose the best try-outs in the menu according to our necessities.
This appreciable feature, we significantly noted at most of the Taj Samudra Restaurents should be mentioned with multiple plus points!
In a nut shell
YUMI-Taj Samudra, is a luxury Japanese restaurant in Colombo, unquestionably one of the ideal locations to carry out business meetings and professional chit-chats! The ambience is welcoming and meets almost all the expectations of a modern Japanese restaurant setting and food is amazing! The price is bit towards the high end, but if you are wise enough to make the right decisions on the menu, the tummy and wallet both would be pleased for sure-without any food related regrets!