Lifestyle Eat

Journey to Japan

Written by The Panda

This article first appeared in the Mar/Apr 2015 issue of WGM.

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The Panda had long wanted to enjoy a meal at renowned Japanese fine dining restaurant Yamazato and having recently reopened after moving to the 28th floor of Hotel Okura, what better time to see what all the fuss is about?

As one of Macau’s famous food connoisseurs, this Panda has been privileged to try, for better or worse, all sorts of interesting food fare. From gourmet Michelin-starred restaurants to surprise corner store favorites and everything in between, this Panda has come to understand there is more to a great meal than just a tasty dish – just as reputation alone doesn’t guarantee any sort of perfection.

What it all boils down to, so to speak, is the experience. A great meal isn’t just about the food, it’s about the whole dining experience from the ambience of your surrounds to the knowledge and warmth of the staff.

This is where Japanese fine dining restaurant Yamazato really shines. Located within the opulent confines of Hotel Okura at Galaxy Macau, Yamazato recently relocated from the 2nd floor to the 28th floor and as we were greeted and directed to our table for lunch the sun shone in gently through the large windows next to us. Whether this was a key reason for moving to its new home or simply a happy coincidence, the mood it creates is a pleasant one – not to mention the expansive views to be taken in across to Galaxy’s east building and beyond.

Here’s a tip for you though: when dining at Yamazato make sure to give yourself plenty of time because the menu is a substantial one! Navigating your way through the multiple sashimi, rice and noodle options is quite a task – and that’s before you even get to the 31 different Nigiri Sushi and 16 Sushi Roll options. The Sake menu is just as daunting with over 80 different types to choose from all individually selected by Sommelier Fufu Liao.

Needless to say, it’s probably best left to the experts to decide for you.

Our hosts also suggested we go with Sushi Kaiseki for our meal – a selection of eight dishes that would allow us to try more of Executive Chef Akira Hayashi’s creations. Rather than stick to a rigid recipe for each dish, Executive Chef Hayashi likes to experiment by adding in new elements so his food is constantly evolving. It is also largely determined by the quality of the produce. The freshest ingredients are shipped in from Japan two or three times a week and Executive Chef Hayashi creates dishes accordingly.

As a result, you never know for sure what dish is going to come next although the friendly staff are meticulous in explaining exactly what each of the various elements on the plate are. We worked our way through a range of dishes including delicately grilled cod and some very tender wagyu beef but as far as this Panda was concerned it was hard to go past the sashimi plate. Featuring five different types of fish, this was certainly among the freshest I had tasted and proved to be a favorite of all at the table.

Perhaps the most striking feature of Yamazato is the spectacular presentation of the food. Each dish comes with various elements placed carefully on the plate solely for their visual impact such as small flowers and berries and the famous red Japanese koyo leaf. It’s fair to say the culinary team here pride themselves on attention to detail.

Although the atmosphere at Yamazato is bright, airy and relaxed, the new restaurant also boasts three private function rooms able to seat 10 people each – a great option for anyone looking to impress a new client over lunch.

As for that special someone? Save this one for an anniversary or birthday, book a table alongside the window and enjoy one of Macau’s finest dining experiences!