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Yummy Yakumi |

Food and Leisure

Yummy Yakumi

FOOD FOR THOUGHT - Millie and Karla Reyes - The Philippine Star

MILLIE: Karla and I rarely dine at places offering lavish buffet spreads unless we are invited or are celebrating a milestone. Since we are both seriously trying to lose weight, we normally just have a sandwich or salad at lunch and sometimes go for shabu shabu for dinner. But last week, on our way to work at the MOA Arena where we have a food stall on the second floor called Chick-A-Go, we found ourselves enjoying Japanese food buffet-style for lunch! We initially wanted to have a quick meal of yummy beef rendang at the food court of Solaire but when we learned that the Japanese restaurant Yakumi had launched their weekend buffet spreads, we took a peek and allowed our appetites to change our minds.

As soon as we were ushered to our table, I immediately headed for the buffet area, where I noticed several chefs were actually preparing the food selections a la minute. While Karla went around the station to have a look-see before diving in, I grabbed a plate and was actually drooling as I scanned the sushi and sashimi section. I was stunned because, spread out right before my eyes were my favorites: fresh hamachi or yellow-fin tuna slices, salmon and tuna both looking so pink, healthy and delicious.

KARLA: As soon as we entered, I saw from the corner of my eye the sous chef Shinobu Endo torch the salmon roll and got so excited. Before grabbing a plate at the buffet, Mom and I always make our rounds to check one by one what is being offered, then we plan out what we will get first.

My first stop was the sushi bar, of course. I asked the sous chef to torch another salmon roll so I could take a photo of him and he gladly obliged. While this was happening, executive Japanese chef Norimasa Kosaka showed off fresh wasabi being grated on the spot. The chef also personally prepared sukiyaki for us. I also went for the shrimp tempura, which was crusty and crunchy. I always feel that tempura is my personal test for Japanese restaurants. If a restaurant serves very good, crunchy tempura, then other dishes may be good as well. I cannot stand soggy tempura or tempura with more batter than shrimp. My mom says that the secret of a good tempura is to chill the batter. She learned this from my Lolo Joe’s friend, who taught us to put ice in the batter to help keep it cool as one dips the shrimp right before frying it.





MILLIE: I could not seem to get away from the sushi bar and went back thrice, blaming it on my small plate. I was curious about the torched salmon roll and the two-toned California roll and loved the salmon sashimi, which was so very fresh. I also tried some broccoli with marinated konbu seaweed and deep-fried eggplant with tofu. What caught my eye were the salmon pieces cooked and wrapped in cedar sheets, which had a very distinct taste. It reminded me of my master-griller brother, Raymund, whose pride and joy is salmon cooked on cedar planks. He has perfected it in such a way that now he shows off several flavors. But going back to my story, from the teppan grill I could not resist the US prime tenderloin, cut into bite-size pieces, again freshly cooked, tender and so very juicy, best eaten with its partner of stir-fried vegetables called yasai itame.

But what I surprisingly enjoyed the most was the Japanese curry with beef, carrots and potatoes over a bowl of delicious Japanese rice. It just made my day!

KARLA: Just like Mom, I enjoyed the beef teppanyaki and couldn’t help eating it with steamed white rice. It also helps that the beef is cooked on the spot so you actually can watch and salivate as the chef grills the beef. I also got a piece of the braised Berkshire pork belly called buta kakuni and somehow wished I had some steamed buns to eat it with.

On my next round, I got a bowl and filled it with steamed white rice, added two pieces of tonkatsu or pork cutlet topped with curry sauce. I also could’ve eaten the curry sauce with the black tiger prawns and it would have been great. I must have gone back at least four times to the buffet, mixing and matching my food, but went back for the beef teppanyaki twice. I honestly had no space for the other dishes like the stir-fried noodles or the salads. Then again, I never really go for salads in buffets.

Dessert selections on display were wasabi panna cotta, green tea chocolate cake, refreshing lemon tart topped with fresh strawberries, mango and kiwi, Makan crème brulee, and Sakura or cherry blossom cheesecake, which was so light and not too sweet.

MILLIE: I was so stuffed I had to pass on the sweet stuff so I ordered a cup of coffee to end my gorgeous meal and had the green tea macaroon that came with it. With a wink, I told Karla, “No more dinner!”

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Yakumi is located at 1 Solaire Boulevard, Entertainment City, Metro Manila. Visit the Yakumi weekend buffet every Saturday and Sunday, or call 888-8888 for inquiries and reservations.

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