Descend a small, dimly lit flight of stairs and you enter a stunning open expanse that is dominated by a wooden counter that encases the open kitchen. The wood glows under the discreet but intense spot light. When your eyes adjust, you see a another couple of stand alone wooden tables, each seats about eight.
noodlies Sydney food blog is intrigued by Yu-U. They don’t advertise, the entrance is off the lane, there’s one discrete exterior sign. The only way you’d know they’re open (after finding them) is that the wooden entrance door is slightly ajar.
Yu-U, I mean even the name is intriguing, giving not much away. And they politely ask you not to film or take photos (a request I polite and discreetly ignore). Despite every effort not to promote themselves, on this bitterly cold Monday night, Yu-U is ‘packed by 6.30pm.
The staff are in dark, smart contemporary uniform and they appear from the dark recess. They are polite and move about silently and efficiently. When the paper menu is presented to you, with separate sheets for specials, standard menu and wine/sake list, it feels like you’re a spectator in a tea ceremony – each movement, exact, deliberate almost contemplative.
I quickly choose the pork belly, four thin slices of perfectly cooked pork over a bed of lightly cooked bean sprouts. The pork covered with a subtle soy based sauce that is also slightly sweet. Soft, elegant and delightful.
My eyes spot tempura corn and I order this as my second course. The main feature of this dish is actually the fish, which is thick and meaty, soft and almost flaky the tempura batter much lighter than it looks. Sweet potato is also thickly sliced, soft but not mushy. The corn is cooked but still maintains some juiciness. Everything is so minimal but at the same time so full of flavour.
Everything is delicious. The servings aren’t large, leaving you craving for more. But tonight I’m content to meditate over my meal for the rest of the night.
I leave feeling satisfied but eager to return soon and selfishly happy that Yu-U is still relatively undiscovered.
137 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
(03) 9639 7073