Japanese food lovers, rejoice! There’s a restaurant that flies in the freshest seasonal fish and seafood from Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market to the Philippines–twice a week!
We couldn’t believe it ourselves. So we took time to visit Yakumi, Solaire’s fine-dining Japanese restaurant, and here are the reasons this restaurant got us drooling in an instant.
Fresh Seasonal Fish, Seafood, and Ingredients from Japan
Yakumi offers its guests the most exotic Japanese fare without having to fly to Japan. Instead, they fly in the ingredients every Tuesday and Saturday to make sure they have the freshest offerings for their discriminating audience.
On top of this list is the deadly fugu or puffer fish. Fugu is laced with tetrodotoxin, the deadliest poison found in nature. Only licensed fugu chefs like executive chef Norimasa Kosaka are allowed to handle this exotic fish.
At this time of the year, the seasonal offerings are awabi or abalone and sawara or Spanish mackerel. It was my first time to try abalone sashimi, which tastes of the sea. If you’re a fan of uni, then the awabi will be a curious find.
A special sashimi moriawase with awabi and sawara in the middle, hotate to the left, and zuke bonito at top-left.
Perhaps my favorite in the sashimi moriawase offered us was the hotate or Hokkaido scallops. MY GOODNESS, those scallops were exceptional! They also have zuke katsuo, which is bonito marinated in soy sauce before the fish is lightly seared. Zuke is the traditional method of preparing sushi when refrigeration was still non-existent.
Speaking of preservation techniques, Yakumi prides itself in offering only fresh, never frozen, sushi to their guests.
Of course, you have to pair the best sushi with authentic condiments. Yakumi flies in their sushi rice, soy sauce, wasabi and other such ingredients from Japan. In fact, servers prepare fresh wasabi in front of their guests! Genuine wasabi is only mildly spicy. The incendiary ones we’ve been accustomed to are actually horseradish substitutes that have been artificially spiced.
Helmed by a Japanese Head Chef
Along with the fresh and authentic Japanese ingredients, Yakumi is manned by a team of dedicated chefs who trained under executive chef Norimasa Kosaka and sous chef Shinobu Endo. Each chef is assigned one and only one station to focus on. I mean, just look at how bombastic the sashimi platter the sushi chefs prepared for us!
Extensive Buffet Stations
Yakumi offers a Saturday brunch buffet at 2,688++. Admittedly, it’s not bargain price, but if you’ve read up to here, you should understand why: exceptional quality and unparalleled service.
Now, let’s have a quick rundown of the buffet stations and some must-tries.
As you’re seated, the server will offer you a complimentary Sumo Sour, which is a sake-based drink with orange and lemon. Very refreshing!
Start things off with some appetizers at the Cold Salad Station. Try their Seafood Nanbanzuke – cold, crispy fried fish in vinegar and onions – which, based on the description, doesn’t seem much but absolutely works.
Next stop would be the Sushi and Sashimi Station. Aside from the obvious fresh sashimi, Yakumi’s Volcano Roll, a fried makimono with shake (salmon), maguro (tuna), unagi (eel), and cheese as its base and accentuated with just the right amount of heat, is a must-try.
Next, you may want to try their Robatayaki Section, which has jewels like the Skewered Blue Marlin Fillet, Grilled Fish (Black Cod) with Miso, and Grilled Tiger Prawns. I love the taste of blue marlin; I hate how tough it usually is. This is I believe the first time I’ve tried blue marlin this soft.
After which, you may choose to visit the Teppanyaki Station. Try cold soba, taste the main entrees around the central buffet counter, or order your fill of tempura, ramen, or chawanmushi, which are served a la carte. Yakumi also has separate rooms for Yasai Itame and their crepes.
Unlimited Rib-Eye Teppanyaki
Speaking of must-tries, Yakumi’s Saturday brunch buffet offers unlimited slabs of rib-eye teppanyaki. Whole cuts of raw rib-eye steak: super takaw-tingin if you ask me. “Two orders. Medium, please.” Served with broccoli and crisp garlic slices, I would have gone for seconds if only I wasn’t that full…and I still had desserts to try.
Whether you plan to try the buffet or order from their a la carte menu (the fugu, awabi, and hotate are not included in the buffet), Yakumi at Solaire is meant to be a luxurious dining experience. Exceptional quality and unparalleled service. Prepare to be delighted.
Solaire Resort and Casino, Entertainment City, Parañaque