We found Yume Kitchen, a quaint sushi restaurant by chance when scrolling through Wriggle: an app new to me and my partner which feature deals for the day in selected food establishments across Bristol and beyond. Consequently, you could say that it was quite a spontaneous meal before a gig on a Wednesday evening.
It stands on Cotham hill, a side street off White Ladies road and is relatively easy to find. We were the only ones in there upon arrival so took a space close to the window and got ourselves comfortable. The first thing that I noticed were the small plates and the jugs filled with soy sauce on the tables; they were beautifully decorated by hand painted flowers in a very simple, yet affective fashion. When greeted by a friendly waitress, my boyfriend urged for us to try the trio of tasting sake and I’ll be honest, I agreed without realising what it was. When enlightened, I ordered a separate gin and tonic just in case.
Three double shot glasses sat on a tasting board arrived a few minutes later, with helpful explanations of each underneath, in order for us to educate ourselves on what we were about to try for the first time. It turns out it is a Japanese rice wine which is produced by fermented rice, and, although each stood at 15%, they tasted far stronger. My partner, who also ordered the Japanese beer ‘Kirin’ as a chaser, likened the smell to whiskey. Therefore, it was more comparable to a general spirit than a wine, in our opinion. It was interesting to indulge in the culture, but I take my hat off to those who drink it on a semi-regular basis!
I would recommend ordering an array of different small plates at sushi restaurants in order to get a general feel of the menu, so we decided against breaking my habit. Our deal acquired by Wriggle meant that we could choose two different types of Hosomaki, which are bite sized rolls wrapped in nori seaweed. We agreed on salmon and Unagi Kyuuri, which roughly translates as grilled eel with cucumber. The latter was surprising tasty as it was a first time for us both, I was wrong to worry about the texture as it goes unnoticed when wrapped in rice and seaweed. Another tradition of mine is to indulge in handrolls, so we thoroughly enjoyed a spicy tuna roll each despite it not being particularly spicy. It was seasoned well but was of course raw tuna, so if that puts you off or it’s your first time then I would suggest the salmon as an alternative.
My favourite part of the meal has undoubtedly got to be the Japanese style sweet and sour chicken. It differs hugely from the Chinese version in a good way as the sauce was incredible and the boneless chicken pieces were perfectly succulent and moist! It is accompanied with aubergine, lotus root and other vegetables which were too doused in the sticky sauce. If you’re a meat eater and you decide to visit Yume Kitchen, then I can assure you, you will not regret ordering this flavoursome side dish.
Lastly, we decided to be that extra bit courageous and order a Kaiso salad, which consists of assorted Japanese seaweed with a refreshing yuzu and sesame dressing. It was very light and a good contrast to the rest of our food spread. Although, I can’t say that I was 100% convinced as the textures were different to anything I have eaten previously. Without talking too negatively, I would liken one type to netting so it was a task to chew. However, it tasted pleasant and I am glad that I gave it a go.
Each dish arrived at a different time, but it was relatively fast despite it being freshly made. I didn’t mind the intervals as it gave us a chance to sample everything at the temperature that is destined for the dish. The waitress was thankfully happy to answer any questions that we had, which always makes for a comforting environment to eat in. With regards to comparing it with different sushi bars, my boyfriend still sticks by Nomu as his favourite. Alternatively, I think Yume Kitchen differs a lot, so it is difficult for me to rank which I prefer… I will just have to sample more from each menu before coming to a final decision, what a shame!