Where ever we go we need to have some Japanese fed into our system, it’s just one of our favourite cuisines and we can’t live without a dose of them, hence with our Rotorua trip we made sure we tried on of the highly rated restaurants in the region. After some research Google, Trip Advisor, Facebook and Zomato all pointed to the same restaurant called Yamato.
We came here on the last leg of our trip where we had lunch before heading back to Auckland, during our visit there we many diners, mostly office workers near the premises as it was in Rotorua’s CBD. It was quite a large restaurant in terms of New Zealand size so there was ample seating regardless if it was a busy lunch time. During this time, they offer lunch combo with was priced very reasonably.
We grabbed three of this Yamato Lunch Combo (NZ$19.00) which consists of four items you can choose from their menu. Selection was from the usual Japanese dishes and what we chose was a combination of the following
Tamago Salad – cold egg salad with mayonnaise
Satsuma Age – deep fried fish cake
Udon Noodle – Noodle in fish stock based hot soup
Sashimi – Sliced fresh fish
Teriyaki Salmon – Grilled Salmon with teriyaki sauce
Chicken Teriyaki – Grilled Chicken with teriyaki sauce
Tonkatsu – Deep fried pork cutlet
Chicken Karaage – Deep fried crispy chicken
We just mixed and matched it with the three bento boxes that we had. Here are my thoughts on each one of them.
Tamago Salad – it was good, it’s like eating egg mayonnaise sandwich, without the sandwich of course. It was rich, creamy and eggy.
Satsuma Age – It is just ok, not as tasty as the Korean fish cake, served cold and in my opinion serving this hot would be much better.
Udon Noodle – I really enjoyed this, the umami was everywhere. Great soup stock and the noodles was bouncy and smooth as it should be.
Sashimi – It was good, fish was fresh, and it consist of 3 slices of salmon and 3 slices of snapper. Fish slices is not as smooth compared to most, it’s quite rustic.
Teriyaki Salmon – Cooked well, seasoned well. Nothing to complain about the taste, one thing you will notice is the quantity as it was served as a thin slice of salmon. I think this change depending on market price.
Chicken Teriyaki – Good quantity for this one and it was served on large chunks, was quite tasty too.
Tonkatsu – Another one that was served in good size, thick cut. Quite crispy on the outside but the meat was quite dry.
Chicken Karaage – This was my favourite of the bunch, Chicken was cooked perfectly, moist and very tender, well-seasoned too.
All bento boxes came with Miso Soup, it was also nice specially with the cold weather outside.
Apart from the Bento lunch boxes we also ordered some California Roll (NZ$12.00), made with fresh salmon and avocado rolled with lettuce and sweet mayonnaise. This one exceeded our expectations; good size and they were generous with the salmon and avocado which rarely happens in Sushi bars. Salmon was fresh; it was fatty and tasted clean.
So, was this the best Japanese that Rotorua has to offer? Perhaps, while I have my small complains on the bento box where can you get those options for NZ19.00 in New Zealand? It was worth the price and that California Roll was the best, it may not look as polished as you would expect but the quality of the ingredients used was A++++.
Yamato Japanese Restaurant
Address: 1123 Pukuatua Street, Hillcrest, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand
Phone: +647 348 1938
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