Dining

Delicious Korean-Japanese table grill at Nyugati – Yamato

Photo : Yamato
Delicious Korean-Japanese table grill at Nyugati – Yamato

We were puzzled by the fact that until now, no one has really attempted to introduce the Korean-Japanese table grill to Budapest. But recently, something amazing has happened on Jókai Street. Yamato opened, and we dropped in to see if they could make us love this traditional Far-Eastern style of dining. Here’s what we found:

Yamato Restaurant
  • 1065 Budapest, Jókai utca 30.
We can encounter an imprint of the Asian culture on every other corner now; just think, there’s Dang Muoi, Wang Mester, Hanoi or even Funky Pho. But for some reason, the Korean-Japanese table grill style of Asian cuisine has not really been explored properly, except for a few authentic places that are visited largely by Koreans. But now we have Yamato. First of all, we should know a bit about the “roast-it-yourself” system. While Koreans use pre-marinated meats, the Japanese go completely natural with their slices. Then the meats come with various sauces, rice and kimchi; and we should dip the roasted meat in these, wrap them in lettuce leaves with some rice, and they’re ready to eat! Sounds great, right?
Photo: László Balkányi / WLB
The first thing we enquired about was the relationship between our clothes and the cooking smells, but the staff assured us that the table grill is equipped with a high-tech extractor fan – moreover, the heat comes from a metal piece that works with heat transfer, and because of the grille, there is no chance of accidentally coming into contact with grease at all.
Photo: László Balkányi / WLB
We tried to taste a bit of everything, so we ordered a vegetarian bento with miso soup (4920 Ft), a vegetable selection for roasting, sangeopal (natural bacon – 1980Ft), and a Japanese meat selection.
Photo: László Balkányi / WLB
A prerequisite is first ordering a beginner set (990 Ft), which includes rice, lettuce, pickles, kimchi, sprout salad, garlic, sauces, oi sobagi and kaktugi – all the things we need for when we order the Korean barbecue or the Japanese yakiniku.
Photo: László Balkányi / WLB
As for the drinks, we ordered ginger-lime-tapioca yashi and some homemade Hungarian-style syrup, but at the counter, we also saw Yoichi (10-year-old Japanese malt whiskey) and a variety of sake, among other beverages.
Photo: László Balkányi / WLB
Their selection is rather large: in addition to the roastable meats, we can choose from various noodles and sushi, so everyone is ought to find something to their liking on the menu. However, we think that it is worth experimenting with the specialties like the wagyu meat selection. Though these are slightly more expensive (5 000 – 19 000 Ft). The dishes are said to be completely authentic (although we have not been to Korea yet, so we would not know), even though the menu lists some European-fusion foods as well, in order to cater to a wider audience.
Photo: László Balkányi / WLB
We should add that Yamato did not invent the wheel again – at restaurant Soeul, we have been able to roast our own meats for years now, but because of the incredibly high prices, full-Korean selection and total exclusiveness, it has not been accessible to everyone. However, Yamato has a better chance of introducing this culture to Budapest.
Photo: László Balkányi / WLB
Many questions have arisen as to whether this place will be able to keep up: we heard that some people take the “roast-it-yourself” system as an offense, but the restaurant’s management believes in the openness of people. We, for example, really enjoyed the whole process; we had a nice meal and since we stayed for a lot longer than we do at average restaurants, we had plenty of time to talk while we ate and prepared our food. We highly recommend Yamato.
Photo: László Balkányi / WLB