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Yu-U - Nondescript Entrance into a World of Bliss
Classy Japanese in uber setting! Yu-u is a one hat (The Age Good Food Guide) restaurant in iconic Flinders Lane and thoroughly deserves its acclaim! This place is just so good at every level, yet hidden away in a basement off Flinders Lane. There is a big difference between average Japanese food and ‘all class’. Yu-u is full of imagination and creativity and skilful cooking and exudes class.
First of all you have to find it! There is not much signage apart from a small sign inside the non descript entrance leading down the stairs off the laneway. Once inside you are greeted with a warm atmosphere with mood lighting – from candles, studio down lights and lamps.
I love the use of timber as you step down to the next level. A waitress shows you to your seat. Most people sit around the huge bar area (another impressive use of wood). But seating is not on stools as is usually the case – but on impressive large chairs (so you can even recline if you consume too much). The large chair made me feel like I’d been upgraded to first class!
I so recommend the lunch special for $18 for a quick amazing lunch! The value is incredible as portions are generous and the options innovative. You just need to choose your main from the six or so exciting options presented. For example Deep Fried Marinated Chicken or Pan Fried Tofu Steak! Or the amazing Sashimi! I ordered the Pan Fried Pork Scotch Fillet and Onion with Home Made Worcestershire Sauce. Wow! And some rice tea.
The lunch box came with a wonderful soup (not miso) which was full of vegetables (including tasty slips of carrot)and the broth was full of flavour. Not too salty and the vegetables cooked perfectly not soggy. The pickled vegetables (mainly cabbage) were also sublime. As was the cute little bowl of seaweed.
The Pork Belly Scotch Fillet was absolutely sensational! A large portion of sophistication and finesse! The pork was tender and melted in the mouth. The home made sauce was a triumph! What I didn’t expect was the potato mash on the side which was amazing. Under the pork was a stack of something akin to Japanese coleslaw. The onion was also a triumph, nice and caramelised. Once again, it was the combination of flavours which produced a knockout blow!
I ordered the steamed rice (as opposed to the flavoured rice) and once again it was perfect – served in a large bowl. I transferred my pork into the rice bowl, as I keep assuming I am meant to do! Today was a good chopstick day! And to end the meal was a fresh slice of rockmelon! Just to cut through the already clean flavours and provide a sweet ending!
Even the rice tea was impressive being poured into an attractive looking tumbler then given a large plunger full of tea. I love rice tea – generally get a blend of it at T2 and drink it in the office.
This place has two kitchens with the main one behind a black curtain to the side, but also a steaming pot on a stove behind the bar. So I guess there’s partly an open kitchen.
Love the ambience! Cool jazzy music – was that Dizzie Gillespie? The large arrangement of flowers at the end of the bar was a nice touch. Both times I’ve arrived at Yu-u I’ve noticed business types and Gen Y chic. Love it!