A couple of weeks ago (before France, my sisters 30th Birthday, and a chest infection got the better of me) I was invited down to Yumuchi in West Bridgford to try our their newly launched vegan menu. You will know if you read my blog that although I am not vegan I do try to constantly add more plant based food into my diet.
Yumuchi is located on Gordon Road in West Bridgford and specialises in traditional Japanese food and cocktails with a twist. They mix traditional flavours with modern twists and incorporate small plates, sushi and big hearty bowls depending on your appetite, along with a range of unique and classic cocktails to ensure you leave the car at home!
Split across two levels, the ground floor is relaxed and chilled out, perfect to enjoy a bite to eat or a cocktail. Yumuchi (‘Uchi’ is Japanese for home) doesn’t just focus on food, it wants to become a destination for people to relax with a drink or two. The décor is visually stunning with aquatic scenes painted on the wall in traditional Japanese style. It is stylish, cosy and very clean. There is a large bar FULL of bottles that I have no hope in hell of pronouncing and an impressive list of Sake. You need to try the Strawberry Nigori, it was delicious. Also, the Sake cups are simply delightful and I would absolutely love a set for my home.
The first floor is a Japanese paradise, with cherry blossom wall print and a sakura tree in the corner, Perfect for Instagram! I believe you can hire out the space for large parties.
It was really difficult to choose a cocktail from the menu as they all sounded delicious, but I ended up opting for the Sakura Blossom. A mix of gin, cherry blossom liqueur, Muyu Jasmine vert, Yuzushu, cherry blossom tea and lychee juice; this was possibly the best cocktail I have ever had. It was incredibly sweet and reminded me of my time in South East Asia (I think it was the lychee juice). It was decorated with edible flowers and was floral and moreish. I would have loved to have also tried the magikarp (a nori seaweed infused Bombay dry gin, papaya puree and sake) but I was driving. I will definitely be back to try that soon!
Now on to the food. We ate off the vegan menu and I was surprised at how much food there was on offer. We decided to try multiple small plates (a must with Japanese food as you can try things you wouldn’t necessarily order) and also opted for a katsu curry from the ‘large plates’. Lets start with that….
You can choose between pumpkin croquette or the sweet potato croquette, and as pumpkin is one of my all time favourite veggies, we went for that. Four big bits of panko covered pumpkin, a sweet, lightly spiced and mildly floral tasting katsu curry sauce and a mountain of rice, I would have been happy to have this all to myself. It was definitely a large enough portion for one if you just wanted one main but alas we wanted to try multiple dishes. A definite winner and I can’t wait to go back for more.
Next up was a temaki roll with pickle, radish and sesame. I love a temaki roll and this was lovely and fresh although I would have loved an option with spicy tofu in it too, I think it would have complimented the dish perfectly. Great on its own but a hint of spice would have been good.
Next up was the Yasai dragon roll, a lot larger than we expected! I know it states 8 pieces on the menu but I just didn’t expect it to be so filling! Asparagus, radish, carrot and tofu all encased in rice and with a little avocado jacket, this was delicious. Again it was really fresh and with a hint of soy sauce it was one of my favourite dishes of the night.
We tried to order the king mushroom Kushiyaki (which sounded amazing!) but they had sold out so instead we had the Nasu aubergine kushiyaki, aubergine skewers lightly grilled accompanied by a miso sauce. I love miso and the salty sauce with the charred aubergine made for a great pairing. If that is the standard, I look forward to trying the mushroom as I know I wont be disappointed.
Last up was the classic cucumber maki. I seriously think that these teeny sushi rolls are underrated. Fresh cucumber wrapped in rice and then seaweed, these little bites are just lovely. The rice soaks up soy sauce faster than you can say ‘more sake please’ and they are just a lovely accompaniment to any meal.
Also on the vegan menu are things like tempura veg, Agedashi tofu, edamame and Japanese fried rice. If you are vegan you certainly won’t go hungry. Yumuchi really have tried to create a diverse vegan menu and most of the cocktails are vegan as standard too. the only downside when I dined was that there was not a vegan dessert option but I believe this will be rectified soon… if you still have room after your mains!
For non vegans, there is a huge range of sushi including sweet shrimp (one of my favourites) sashimi, eel temaki, spicy tuna hosomaki, along with pork belly or scallop Kushiyaki and a plethora of tempura. They do bao buns, soba udon and donburi among other options. There is also the option to do a bit of cooking yourself with the ishiyaki stone. You can cook your choice of meat on a hot lava stone (heated to 400°c!) and includes options like Wagyu beef and octopus. The table next to us did just that, and I was salivating. It looked and smelt amazing and I definitely want to try this soon.
Lastly, Yumchi also offer Bento boxes between 11am – 6pm for only £12.50 so if you want to try Japanese food without breaking the bank, this is a great way to do it. You choose from a range of hot food and sushi and then finish off with either rice, fries, miso soup or an Asian salad. It is fantastic value for money.
In summary, I will definitely revisit Yumuchi to try their range of both vegan and non vegan dishes and would have no hesitation in recommending the venue for a casual drink or a sit down meal with a diverse group of friends. They also have a full gluten free menu to choose from, making it completely accessible for people of any dietry requirement.
There is something for everyone and I can’t wait to try more of the menu. Also keep your eyes peeled for tasting evening events in the near future, Joe has some fantastic dinners lined up! Keep up to date via the Yumuchi FACEBOOK page.
I was invited to review and my meal was complimentary. As always though, my thoughts are in no way influenced by this! I genuinely loved my meal and can’t wait to return!