Yamato 2

Name: Yamato
Location: 223 Exhibition St, tucked into the laneway near corner Lonsdale/Exhibition Sts
Price: Mains $10-20, Dessert $4-7
Price score: 4/5
Overall score: 8.5/10
I really enjoyed Yamato’s ambiance the first time, so I came back a second time with more people. I also wanted to show you better pictures of Yamato’s interior, and here they are.

Noren cloth curtains/ A wall scroll with 'Yamato'/ We're in the right place

Does this room seat four?/ No, it actually seats six./Suspicion confirmed.

TOFU STEAK
Cost: $14?
Taste: 9.5/10
Would I order this? Yes.

Witches of Macbeth/ Double toil and trouble/ Hot tofu bubbles

It’s a vegetarian dish comprising of deep fried tofu, mushrooms and a deeply flavoured sauce. It’s a great umami hit. The tofu is sizzling in the sauce when it is plated for you. You allow it to cool just enough so you don’t burn your mouth, and the tofu absorbs the sauce to become sponges for delicious sauce. I heart sauce. One of the things that disappoint me whenever I order deep-fried tofu is how dry it can be. It really needs to be reconsituted in advance, and then drenched in sauce. But I wasn’t disappointed here, because there is sauce. The serving is quite sizeable too.

KATSUDON
Cost: $11
Taste: 9/10
Would I order this? Yes, I would order it again, but only if I had to. Not because it’s bad, but because I need to exhaust the entire menu before going back to it. There are other foods to be explored here.

Generous topping size/ But rice serving is quite small/ Up to perspective

The portions for their dons (rice with toppings) are fairly small, so beware. I wouldn’t say I have a large appetite, but this serving size leaves me -just- satisfied. But I could go a sushi roll afterwards, maybe two. But occassionally, one should only eat til satisfied. Think of it as the samurai experience.
Apart from my problem with serving sizes, their katsudon is good! The chicken is crispy, and there is egg to bind the chicken together. It’s a lot of chicken for the amount of rice given to you. But you don’t hear me complaining about that.

TENDOJI DON
Cost: $13?
Taste: 7/10
Would I order this again? No.

Hello portmanteau/ One of my favourite word kinds/ Many words in one

Tendoji don is a portmanteau of tenpura, tonjiru and donburi. Tempura are deep-fried small pieces of vegetables or seafood in a light batter. Tonjiru, also known as butajiru, a pork-based soup. It’s thicker than miso soup, and commonly has deep-fried tofu, tubers or a seaweed in it to make it an even heartier soup. Donburi is a rice bowl with toppings. Combine all three words together, and you get ‘tendo-ji-don’.
The fried seafood and vegetables are crisp, but I think the batter was a bit heavy-handed. To me, tenpura should only have a very thin, very crisp layer of batter. But in the Melbourne scene, tenpura seems to always be heavy-handed. This would be in the medium-thickness category of things. The thickest tenpura I have been and eaten was a tempura prawn. It had a diameter of a 20c coin, and the prawn in the middle wasn’t even 5c-coin-sized in diameter. Refer to the picture and judge for yourselves for batter thickness. It includes tempura prawn, white fish, sweet potato and green capsicum.
In the other vessel, there is a very salty pork soup with egg stirred through it. It’s so-so. The saltiness blankets over any other flavours, which is disappointing. I like eggs, but I would also like something else in the pork broth, such as sweet potato, or seaweed, or even just chopped spring onions.

DAIFUKU
Cost: $3.80
Taste: 10/10
Would I get it again? Yes.

Cut into three bits/ I can cut eleven bits/ By force of habit

I’ve already reviewed this, but here’s a better picture.

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Yamato

Yamato is a cosy little place we stumbled upon when looking for a place to eat. I am glad I found it. It is in a little alleyway (as with many restaurants around this city) near a looming szechuan chinese place. If you brave the prickly-but-eventually-numbing spiciness of the air surrounding the szechuan place, you are granted access to Yamato.

Inside:

Inside Yamato/Check out paper lantern lights/A world of its own

The first thing you’ll probably notice in the photo is the feature wall. But in real life, the first thing you will notice is how incredibly small the place is. (The largest table was for 4. Maybe 6, if small people squeeze in the sectioned off room and figure out a way to not elbow others in the ribs.) It’s a cosy kind of small. I like the paper screen windows, and paper lanterns. I also like the raised platform with a table behind the feature wall. It doesn’t smell of numbing spicy food inside. It doesn’t remind you it was raining outside either.

Beers for you and I / With teriyaki chicken / Drink the night away

The beer flags and pictures are a nice touch too. They say ‘Beer’ and ‘Peace’. Bottom left says ‘vacation’, and the fourth is self-explanatory.

Only the dregs left/ Take photo before eating / Otherwise all gone

We ordered Ishikari-nabe (regional specialty of Hokkaido, so you can expect food with substance in it), and tsubu-an daifuku (glutinous rice cake with smashed red bean paste— it has smooth red bean paste with bits in it). Above is a picture of the dregs of the nabe/hot pot.

It had fatty salmon, thinly sliced pork belly, tofu, carrot flowers, daikon flowers, spring onions, shiitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, homemade fish balls, homemade surimi (white fish made into a paste) tubes coated with egg, chinese cabbage, onions, and vermicelli noodles on the bottom. Served in a pail. On a portable stove. There was plenty to be had. (I could do with a bit of sweet miso, but the soup is fairly rich already from the fish and pork.) (Damage is $16.80/pp, minimum 2 people. It is a pail, afterall.) The dregs would be better if they gave us a raw egg to stir through. Still good though. I just like to eat a lot of food, even when I am full. Is this what they call gluttony?

After that, there was mochi to be divided and devoured. It’s still warm from the portable hot stove. It’s also very good. One second it was in my hand, the next it was gone, and left me wanting more. The red bean paste (an) wasn’t too sweet, and there were enough whole beans for my liking. The mochi itself (Mochi is the rice part, and daifuku is ‘stuffed mochi’.) had a good texture, and a high water content so it dissolves quickly. (Damage for daifuku was $3.80 eaach, size of a digestive biscuit.)

Got to come back for more nabe, and daifuku. There are also other things on the menu, but it is Winter now.

 

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