Friday, August 20, 2010

August 13, 2010: Yume

Cindy is a voracious reader of Melbourne food blogs, meaning she's always got some restaurant ideas tucked away when we're out and about at a loose end. Thus, when we wandered out of the Union Club Hotel last Friday night ready to hunt down some dinner, Cindy was the one who steered us away from some of our regular haunts and towards Yume, based on a recommendation from Jesska in May 2009.

It's an understated place, not as atmospheric as Wabi Sabi or Peko Peko, but pleasant and welcoming nonetheless. Cindy kicked things off with a grape soda ($3.50), which is strictly for people who want their beverages to taste like bubble gum.

The menu is rife with vegetarian dishes, particularly in the entree section. Which is where Cindy focussed her attention, ordering two of her Asian dining staples: vegetarian gyoza ($7.80) and vegetarian harumaki (spring rolls, $5.80).

The gyoza were crispy little pockets of goodness, with a tasty sauce and a pleasant filling. The spring rolls were similar - deliciously fried and served with a tasty sauce, but not anything especially innovative. The fresh greens that came with both fried entrees were an added and healthy bonus.

I went for a more comprehensive sampling of the menu, with a vegetarian bento box ($13.80). The box came with a couple of little California roll pieces, some vegie tempura, dengaku tofu (with a sweet miso sauce), spinach with a sesame dressing and a wakame soup (just in the edge of shot below).

Everything was satisfactory - the vegies in the sushi were fresh, the tempura was crispy-fried without being too oily and the tofu and sauce combo was light and tasty. But the surprise star of the box was the sesame-dressed spinach. The dressing was outstanding, lifting the potentially dull side salad to new heights. At less than $15, the components of the bento box added up to a hearty meal, leaving me unable to polish off the last of my rice. Nothing we had was quite as exciting as some of our previous Japanese faves but Yume offers a good range of vegie food at very decent prices. And you can walk in at 7:30 on a Friday night and score a table, which makes it the most accessible of the local Japanese places we've sampled.

Along with Jesska's original review, Yume has been enjoyed by Fitzroyalty and Between the City and the Sea, but otherwise seems to be off the food-blog radar.

Edit 23/9/11 - Brian from Fitzroyalty reports that Yume has closed down.

Edit 26/02/2012: The shopfront now hosts Madame K's Vegetarian!

Address: 367 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Ph: 9415 6099
Price: $5 - $15


  1. Woot! I was about to write that the part of this meal I wanted the most was the sesame spinach, and then you go and call it the tastiest of the lot! I'm on the ball, fo' sure. :P

    Wish I could find a good sesame-spinach joint here in Canberra. At least I've tracked down some good seaweed salad...

  2. I always order a whole bowl of the sesame spinach. It's spectacular! How was the service? Last time I went it was unusually bad, unlike previous visits. Was it just a bad night?

  3. ohhhh this all looks delicious! I always hunt japanese places for a vegie bento box but can never find one. I have a soft spot in my heart for gyoza, spring rolls, tempura and sushi. Naww.

  4. Yes, I think Yume is quite good. It's surprising what becomes popular and what doesn't. I think Yume deserves a bit more appreciation :-)

  5. that stuff looks great! would most of what you had there have been vegan or would there have been many vegan options ? I'd love to check it out

  6. everything looks delish except for the bubble gum drink ;)

  7. Hannah - yes! It's good stuff! I really need to try making that dressing at home.

    AOF, I think I'll make a special spinach order next time too. We were happy with the service - very friendly and attentive, with one misunderstanding that I'd put down to the language barrier. The restaurant was only half-full so it was easy to flag people down. I hope your experience was the odd one out and not ours!

    Vegiebug, we have a renewed love of vege Japanese food in the past year or two as well. :-)

    Agreed, Brian! I think a reliable meal under $15 warrants loyalty and a bit of blog attention.

    Tim, I think it's worth investigating! I suspect there might have been one or two instances of mayonnaise on our plates but otherwise it all seemed quite vegan-friendly.

    Mr Pineapple Man, that's about right. Each to their own, though. :-D

  8. I'm glad you made it! Definitely lacking something atmosphere-wise (could be the 90s pop playlist and lack of heating), but delicious well priced food :)

  9. Thanks for the tip, Jesska! We might never have ventured in otherwise. :-)