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The Yumi effect

By: Tanja Wessels Posted: January-11-2010 in
The Team - Photo Credit - Yumi - Facebook
Tanja Wessels

There has been a certain buzz in the air, one that has been in circulation for a while now. In the eye of this flurry of excitement is a Londoner, a Japanese style eatery and the Cambodian capital.

I have seen smiles spread across faces like wildfire at the mention of the name Yumi and overheard highly animated conversations dance around it too. In a city that has a substantial number of eating venues – this is saying something.

I have had a couple of occasions to test the hype and I have to say it does not go undeserved- the combination of genuine staff enthusiasm, great service, memorable dishes and stylish surroundings all conspire to create a place that is often suggested when people want to head out for a meal.

Having seen Japanese food being eaten in far flung parts of the world, I can safely say that for the unaccustomed it can be a little tricky. One such occasion that comes to mind. I was in South Africa watching a young loved-up couple in a brand new Japanese restaurant. The young man was harpooning his food with a pair of wooden chopsticks that he had not understood needed taking apart. Or my mother who, on her first experience, put a marble sized bite of wasabi in her mouth in one go, and spent the rest of the evening very wide-eyed. As I said-it can be tricky.

But few are the social blunders that cannot be remedied with sake.

The Yumi menu is a vegetarian’s delight and for starters I could not wait to order the Pomelo Betel Leaves ($2.50)- they are one of my favourite dishes on the menu and always delight with their simplicity and freshness. They look like the type of food I used to play-create in the garden as a child. You know the type- a leaf with some flowers and dirt that one would feed to one’s unassuming teddy bear. Only thing is, this one tastes a whole lot better and can be consumed by humans. Another favourite are the Pumpkin Gyozas ($2.50), chewy and gingery, they always hit the spot.

With sake sold in carafes of 130ml our table was a whirlwind of rice wine, cold for me, hot for ‘plus one’ and the atmosphere was lively as we sat looking out onto the outdoor area which was impressive given the night of our visit was a Monday. Owner Caspar Von Hofmannsthal moved from table to table chatting to diners, discussing dishes and ensuring that everything was running smoothly.

The tempura section adorned our plates with vegetables ($2) and Chilli Salt Squid ($4.50), all wonderfully light and crispy. The Yakitori Chicken ($4.50) was accompanied by Braised Aubergine ($1.75) that was delightfully chunky and juicy- even the non-aubergine fan had to concur. We also ordered Vegetable Uramaki ($3.75) and despite the tapas style portions we were utterly satisfied by the end of the meal.

However, no matter how little space one has left for pudding- do not pass on the chance to end your meal with the piece de resistance, the Chocolate Pudding with Coconut Sorbet ($4.50). It has made me look at chocolate in a whole new light- I thought I had covered most angles, I didn’t know new ones were possible. Then just as I thought I had found pudding utopia, the Yumi Ice Cream ($4.50) found its way to our table and upon tasting the honeycomb flavour I zoned out all over again...

Yumi? You bet!

Yumi is open for lunch from 12-3pm and dinner 6pm-10pm. Monday to Saturday.
No. 29a St 288 (between Monivong and St 63),
Boeung Keng Kang 1,
Phnom Penh
Tel: 092 163 903


This is a brillian review.

This is a brillian review. I'd love to visit it. It is interesting what makes Yumi. It is nice that the Yumi menu is a vegetarian delight. I eat meat but very little. After I've seen some documentaries about vegetarian diets. I prefer not to eat meat. I think I will like this place as many other people.

user avatar Anonymous

Not easy to find, but it is a

Not easy to find, but it is a fantastic place to eat. The food is just unbelievable, great atmosphere and the service is superb! Really loved it.

user avatar Anonymous

If you can find it... I did

If you can find it... I did the whole street the other day and couldn't find the restaurant...

user avatar Anonymous

I totally agree! Yumi is BY

I totally agree! Yumi is BY FAR the BEST restaurant in Phnom Penh! And the chocolate words describe! I love it Smile Well done Casper!


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