I had been working for one of the best New York-inspired lounges in Makati for a few months now, and because the place is located right next to Century City Mall, it’s no surprise that I like to escape there on my lunch (or dinner) break, which also happens to be a really popular foodie destination. I had made a thrilling discovery at Yumi, the mall’s only Japanese restaurant that serves sushi, maki, and chirashi – in that Sushi Tuesday is actually a thing, and it’s a buy one, take one free for all on most of their creative sushi, maki, and sashimi dishes all day long!
I took full advantage of that knowledge the week after, and came prepared – tummy grumbling and hungry, with Jericho in tow, looking forward to a filling Japanese lunch.
Lunch started with one of their specials, the Sake Sushi Balls (Php 205), and yes, there were two of them. A ball of sticky Japanese rice is delicately wrapped with fresh pieces Norwegian salmon, cream cheese, and a pinch of sesame seeds, with crispy salmon skin added as a garnish and to add contrasting texture.
One of my favorites whenever I find myself at Yumi if their Unagi Foie Gras Sushi (Php 350), that comes in twos on Tuesdays! Grilled Japanese conger eel is served with a sweet teriyaki sauce, served atop sushi rice and topped with foie gras and a pinch of sesame seeds, with the flavors of sweet, savory, and creamy marrying in one’s mouth, the bite of the teriyaki’d eel and the creamy foie gras making you want to just savor each bite some more, and some more, until you realize you’ve finished everything on your plate.
One of Yumi’s absolute best sellers, Symphony (Php 380), is not on the buy one, get one list, but should be ordered nonetheless, otherwise you’ll be missing out on something special. Fried sushi rice serves as the base of this mini tower, which is then piled high with layers of spicy tuna, spicy salmon and crabsticks, finished off with generous dollops of salmon roe. Try and get a little bit of everything in each bite and savor the spicy-sweet sensations that linger on the tongue.
I was also delighted to discover that Yumi has a Happy Hour promo happening daily between 2 o’clock in the afternoon to 8 o’clock at night, serving cocktails that are deliciously pretty yet inappropriately affordable. Take a look at this mini Strawberry Margarita (Php 65) I had to wash down my late lunch with, for example. It was refreshingly fruity with just enough alcohol to make me happy, and I left with a light buzz and a big stupid grin on my face when I was done.
It’s almost like I go on a sushi sabbatical whenever I pay Yumi a visit, and that’s mostly because I’m just so happy with just how fresh the food there is, as well as how ridiculous the portion size is compared to the price. If I didn’t know that this place was owned by super talented chef, Rob Goco, I’d be seriously wondering how this place makes any money. Or that most Japanese restaurants here have been pulling the wool over our eyes and charging us astronomical amounts.
Take their Chirashi Ikura Sake (Php 450) for instance. There are at least seven pieces of generously thick, fresh sake slightly hidden behind delicate slices of cucumber and propped up with tamago, with beautiful orange salmon roe, bubbles of ebiko, and sticks of kani prettily arranged atop vinegared rice with accompanying wasabi, pickled ginger, and lemon wedge.
If you are looking for ingredients that practically melt in your mouth, the Chirashi Ikura Tokuji (Php 470) is for you. The bowl offers up fresh ika which I found very creamy, as well as kani atop cubes of tamago, with salmon roe and ebiko flanking the delicate yellow uni, all served with lightly vinegared rice underneath.
For a little bit of everything, you will want to order the Chirashi Moriwase (Php 490), which is a feast for the senses! You have a festival of colors with all the fresh seafood arranged so beautifully in the bowl – thick slices of sake, maguro, and saba sushi, teriyaki’d unagi, creamy uni, sweet ebi, really fresh tako, tamago chunks underneath it all, and underneath that, your usual sushi rice.
Giving everything a good sprinkling of lemon, you then proceed to mix everything up, so that each bite you get is a new combination of flavors and textures, or pick at each ingredient one at a time to savor the individual taste and appreciate the chirashi as a whole.
Overall, I was very surprised at just how affordable the food at Yumi is. Mind you, it is not cheap, but for the quality of the ingredients you get, it is quite reasonably priced. Aside from the colorful sushi, Yumi also has an extensive menu that covers everything from ramen to teppanyaki, so there’s always a reason to go back. As for me, I think I will always associate the restaurant with awesome sushi, with Sushi Tuesdays being the only excuse for me to keep visitng the Japanese restaurant on the fourth floor of Century City Mall.
Yumi is located on the fourth floor of Century City Mall (near Hole In the Wall), Kalayaan Avenue corner Salamanca St., Poblacion Makati and is open daily from 11am to 10pm. For inquiries and table reservations, please contact +63 2 403 6507.