A couple of weeks ago my brother and I went to Umai-Ya Japanese Restaurant for lunch and we were very pleased with what we had there. We promised that we would be back soon. And it was perfect that our Auntie is here for a holiday and we decided to take her for a treat last Saturday.
When we arrived at the restaurant at just past 12:00pm, the top floor was fully occupied. So we were seated downstairs. We were informed that it was buffet for weekends and the ala carte menu was not available. Honestly, I was disappointed. We were given the buffet menu and our waiter, a chirpy guy, briefed us on how to order.
What we had to do was to fill up the order chit. OK, that sounds easy and we took our time to scrutinize the menu.
I loved the Avocado Lover Maki which is on their ala carte menu but sadly they don't have that here. We ordered the Dragon Maki, Kani Tama Maki and Soft Shell Crab Maki.
|Kani Tama Maki.|
|Soft Shell Crab Maki.|
My advise is don't order the Soft Shell Crab Maki because it is very filling. Not ideal if you want to get your money's worth at a buffet. I made the mistake of making a double order because I like soft shell crab. There is more rice than crab. In other words, I would avoid the Big Maki in future.
If you enjoy beer with your lunch, go for the Jug.
The beer was for my brother and my Auntie. I can't drink beer because it knocks me out within 10 minutes. I really don't want to fall asleep during lunch. So I had the Ocha Ice.
We also ordered sahimi and handrolls.
|Tuna and salmon.|
|Two Salmon Handrolls and One California Handroll.|
I decided to try their salad because the Soft Shell Crab Salad with Black Sesame Dressing I had previously was really good but that was not on today's menu. So I ordered their Smoked Duck Salad. My Auntie wanted to try the Spicy Nori Age Salad.
We loved the Smoked Duck Salad or in other words we love the smoked duck. The salad itself and the dressing was pretty ordinary. In fact there was not enough dressing.
The Nori Age Salad was a disappointment. Firstly, it took more than an hour to come to our table (later than items on our second order chit) and secondly it was not impressive at all. Crabsticks. Ughs! And the dressing was just ordinary. I reckon it is not worth ordering the salad during buffet.
I am not a fan of Tempura but my Auntie and my brother like it. So we ordered the Tempura Mori.
The tempura came to our table cold and the batter was no longer crispy. The dipping sauce that came with it was so diluted and under seasoned.
I took a look at their grilled items and ordered the Beef Negi. I think for my next visit, I will focus on this section.
The Beef Negi was good except that it was cold by the time it came to me. This is only one portion and I shared it with my Auntie. We were already quite full by then.
I also ordered the Shisamo. The fish was already cold when served and though it tasted good, it was not crispy as it was supposed to be.
My Auntie loves Chawan Mushi. I am just OK with it and I ordered for her and my brother.
I guess the Chawan Mushi was alright as there were no complaints.
We also ordered the appetizers.
I was not too thrilled with the Seasoned Baby Octopus with Cucumber. There was not enough seasoning and it was quite bland.
The Seasoned Jellyfish was quite nice. In fact we ordered another 2 servings after the first.
At the end of the meal, of course we had to have dessert.
The ice-cream is single scoop and each of us had two servings. My Auntie and my brother had Green Tea Ice Cream. My brother also ordered a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream.
I am so boring and predictable. I ordered the Chocolate Ice Cream. The ice cream is nothing to shout about but hey, ice cream is ice cream and it never fails to delight us.
Service was very slow that day and our waiter was very apologetic. He kept assuring us that he was following up on our orders and told us that the kitchen was pretty jammed up. I think the kitchen was shorthanded and with the top floor fully occupied, the kitchen and service staff simply could not cope. Food that was supposed to be served hot, came to the table cold. And there were two occasions when another table's order came to us.
We were there for 2 hours and my brother's single scoop of vanilla ice-cream never made it to our table. We simply could not wait. I'm not giving up on Umai-Ya as yet. The service staff was polite and helpful and the food was good, though not exceptional on that day. So far I have a good impression of the food during my earlier visits and I will say that Umai-Ya is one of the better Japanese restaurants that fits my budget.
Quite honestly, from this buffet experience, I think I prefer their ala carte menu which means that I would have to come here during the weekday for a better food experience.
My brother and I intend to give my Auntie another treat before she goes home. On our next visit, we will explore the other sections of the menu.
I like Teppanyaki but I almost always never order it making sushi, maki, handrolls and bento my regulars.
I suppose there is no harm if we order from here because I see my favorite Chicken Karaage.
So what was the damage?
It was supposed to be my treat but my brother kindly picked the tab. Thanks bro!