Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Yuki's at the Quay, Circular Quay

Yesterday was the 15th and final day of the Chinese New Year. Also known as the 'Lantern Festival' or 'Yuanxiao Festival', it is traditionally the day on which the sweet, glutinous rice balls known as 'tangyuan' are eaten, and paper lanterns are hung up or carried in night parades. This year, we didn't get the chance to make our own 'tangyuan' (we rarely buy ready-made ones from stores), but we did have a whole family celebration at Yuki's at the Quay with the 7-course menu. It was excellent!

Posing in front of the gorgeous view at Circular Quay while waiting for dinner to begin.

I was very surprised by how small the restaurant was, but pleasantly so because it lent a more intimate feel to our gathering. Our table was situated near one end of the restaurant, where I had a good view of Sushi Chef Akira Tanaka serenely preparing our dishes throughout the evening. The gorgeous view of the harbour set off within me a profound craving for fresh, raw seafood, and I made the decision to forego the set menu in favour of the Chef's selection of assorted sashimi. After I extracted a promise from my sister that I would get to taste from her 7 courses :D

Chef's selection of assorted sashimi, $45

I'm not usually too fussed about presentation, and view some of the more ornate dishes I've seen in food magazines as unnecessarily ostentatious . But I totally got a kick out of seeing all the different varieties of sashimi arranged so artistically and thoughtfully. Everything was fresh, fresh, fresh; there was none of that awful grainy taste of defrosted frozen fish. My favourites were the juicy scallop pieces sprinkled with crunchy fish roe, and the melt-in-your-mouth salmon slices. I wish there'd been more pickled ginger, as I am seriously addicted to that stuff.  It goes particularly well with the fatty salmon belly.

Salmon belly sashimi

Onto the set menu! The first course was the assorted Japanese antipasto. Going clockwise from the top, we have a piece of cooked salmon soaked in a sweat and sour sauce in the teacup, fried soft shell crab, tender slices of beef, and a fresh oyster.

Assorted Japanese antipasto

The break between courses was around 15-20 minutes; just the right amount of time to eat each course, engage in some conversation, do some digesting, and not feel like we were being kept waiting to eat more. The serving size of each dish was quite substantial, as seen in the next assorted sashimi course. A good thing, as I'm not sure how my grandfather, who dislikes fussy and frilly food, would have responded to a single fish roe balanced precariously on the tip of a lotus blossom petal. Just sayin' ;D

Chef's selection of assorted sashimi (7-course degustation version)

I didn't get to try the steamed egg with crab sauce, but everyone at the table seemed to enjoy it, and it looked very smooth and wobbly.

Steamed egg with crab sauce

The next dish, roasted duck breast, was one that I did get to try and absolutely loved. In fact, I deem it my favourite dish of the night. The duck breast was slightly pink in the middle and so melt-in-the-mouth tender and, even without the spicy miso sauce it was served with, was packed with flavour.

Roasted duck breast and deep fried onion with spicy Miso sauce

The last of the entrees was the paper bag seafood, which was Yuki's' take on salmon cooked en papillote. The salmon itself was a bit dry and flaky, but tasted very good once it was mashed into the garlic butter sauce.

The paper bag in which the seafood was cooked. This was cut open at the table.

The bag cut open to reveal the salmon, prawn, spinach, potato and tomato cooked in butter sauce.

For the main, there was a selection of either the Wagyu beef sirloin steak or the 7 pieces of sushi featuring the chef's selection of seafood. I didn't try any of the sushi or take a picture of the dish, but it was as fresh-looking and artistically presented as the sashimi. The Wagyu beef I did get to try, and it was succulent and pink in the middle.

Premium wagyu sirloin steak with chef special sauce

The final course was the dessert. Today, it featured a creme brulee, a pot of white sesame blanc-manger, an almond tuile cookie, and fresh fruit with whipped cream. The surface of the creme brulee cracked with the tap of the spoon, and the custard beneath was smooth and fragrant with vanilla. All components were polished off in no time at all!

Selection of desserts

Afterwards, I took a stroll around the harbour with my cousin, whom I had not seen in years and who was visiting from China along with my aunty. We decided to take the train home so he could experience what travelling on Australian public transport was like. He appeared to have enjoyed the night very much. It's nice being able to share the good things in life with your family: both the special ones like a 7-course dinner, and the unassuming, simple pleasures like a train ride home at night! :D

Yuki's At The Quay

Level 4, Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay 2000 

Phone: (02) 9252 8600
Email: info@yukis.com.au
Website: http://www.yukis.com.au/

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  1. mmm the sashimi looks great! always love the presentation of sashimi too!

    1. I usually devour my food as soon as it's set before me, but this time I ate daintily and showed good table manners because I didn't want to mess up the look of my sashimi platter xD

  2. i know this is unrelated to the sashimi platter but I was hoping I could make a request on these adorable owl cupcakes!!!: http://www.barnowlsberkeley.org/wp-content/uploads/owl%20cupcakes.jpg

  3. or maybe these:

    1. Hi Zoe! I've seen those particular owl cupcakes floating around the internet, and have considered making them! My sister is a HUGE lover of owls :D Keep an eye out for the cupcakes in a near-future post :D