October 17, 2011

Yamamori Oriental Cafe: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free

New on the Block is Yamamori’s fourth Dublin venture, the ‘Oriental Cafe’. New restaurants are always a hit in our small capital city and especially one born from the popular Yamamori Allergy Friendly clan (Yamamori Noodles, Yamamori Sushi Bar and Uikiyo Bar. So understandably, I took my first opportunity to try it out.

The Oriental Cafe is a new venue and still working out some teething issues such as over ensuring the table service, which we won’t hold against them! The idea is to serve only starters and side orders along with Asian beers, wines and sake, creating a light social atmosphere (with a DJ) into the night as opposed to a formal restaurant affair. On this element I think our party were very pleased, and likewise, when I asked for further food allergy advice on the menu beyond the already labelled Coeliac and Vegetarian options, I was very impressed. I explained that I was Dairy Free and the waitress (who assumed that Dairy Free included both Milk and Eggs, which suited me) conversed with the kitchen and showed me what was off limits before I got my hopes up.

Turns out that the entire menu is free from both Milk and Eggs except the Oriental Pork Buns, New Style Pecking Duck, Pork Belly Congee, Roast Duck & Duck Egg Congee and the sweet potato wedges (which are served with mayonnaise, hence them not being egg free).

- Gluten Free
- Wheat Free
- Dairy Free
- Milk Free
- Egg Free
- Vegan
- Vegetarian

After a full and easily navigated menu I could happily relax and enjoy the anticipation for my soon to arrive meal.

The overall experience was nice but unfortunately none of our small party were blown away, or even particularly enthusiastic about the food which was a bit of a dampener. I think that the best of the bunch were some garlic and spring onion dumplings,
and after that everything was fairly mediocre. F. had a green bean spicy salad and some type of fried aubergine, both acceptable but not amazing.
S. had a salad which was colourful but failed to wow.
and T. and myself both made the unfortunate mistake of thinking that the Congees, which make up almost a third of the menu, were misrepresented as a ‘rice porridge’ because that is exactly what they are. Bland and mushy, and extremely similar to porridge, we were probably the most disappointed.
We both ended up pouring in some of the dipping sauces from the dumplings, etc. just to add a small amount of flavour. Salt or Soya Sauce on the table would have been appreciated. There were some other dishes at our table, like chicken wings and sweet potato wedges but the overall evening failed to impress our culinary palates.

Verdict: The decor was nice and I love the street window chefs, which would always capture my good word. If you or your friends want to try it out rest assured that the menu is food allergy friendly with Coeliac/Gluten Free markings as well as Vegetarian. Vegan is a definite possibility and with advice from your server Dairy Free and Egg Free are not a problem but by the end of our meal we all agreed that within a few months we wouldn’t be surprised if the menu has been changed/updated.
One word of warning: I would be apprehensive of eating here if I was severely allergic to fish as vegetarian F. pointed out that the sweet potato wedges, although tasty, were slightly ‘fishy’ so they are most likely suffering from some deep frying cross-contamination.

Yamamori Oriental Cafe
12 - 13 South Great Greorge Street
Dublin 2
tel: (01) 645 8001
Opening Times: Mon-Thur, Sun: 12:00-22:30; Fri-Sat 12:00-23:30
web: www.yamamoriorientalcafe.ie

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