I’m a stubborn person, holding grudges well beyond their expiry date.
Ok Yorkie, point taken.
If you cross me or fail me, it takes a lot of time and effort to return to my good graces.
Yamamori had both crossed and failed me, in equally colossal measures. My first outing, bright eyed and hopeful, trying gyuniku yaki soba, was met with grisly, inedible beef, sloppy, over-cooked noodles swimming in a greasy, salty but otherwise flavourless sauce. The crisp, vivid green edamame in Wagamama had tempted me to try the same in Yamamori, but these were horribly undersalted, old, and rubbery.
A complaint to the management which was met with suitably shocked faces, but still requiring us to pay and not even offering a drink on the house, despite the mostly untouched food, riled me to the point of vowing never to return.
Slowly, news of the quality of the Ha’penny Bridge version of Yamamori began to sink in, piquing my curiosity yet again, so I headed along for some vegetable savoury rice. Good, but not great, missing some small element – peas, perhaps – and the combination of ingredients was completely incorrect – more tofu, sweetcorn, peppers and onion, less rice and cashew nuts and this could’ve been a great dish.
However, it was an improvement, a step up from inedible and when the next opportunity for Yamamori to prove me wrong presented itself, I knew the fates had decided for me.
A Thursday evening and due to it being soaking wet outside, we steamed gently at our table as we reviewed the menu. I was accompanied by a veteran who barely glanced before choosing yamamori yaki soba, and after much consideration and debate, I went with chicken ramen.
Two light, dry Asahi beers in front of us, my current Achilles’ heel, and the conversation inevitably turned to my previous experiences with Yamamori. I explained that this was simply the last attempt they were going to get at impressing me, or I would wash my hands of them forever.
The pressure was on, at least in my mind.
With that, our food arrived. Apprehensive, I picked up a some edamame. Still not as good as Wagamama, but a step up – perhaps middle aged, rather than elderly soy beans? Encouraged, I scooped a small piece of chicken into my mouth.
It was excellent; thigh meat chicken, flavourful and tender, in a perfectly seasoned broth. Slightly spicy and salty, a dash of sesame oil, with plenty of ramen noodles and crisp bean sprouts, complimented by the wasabi choi sum. Slopping noodles down my chin, and lowering choi sum into my open mouth, I cleared the bowl in an extremely attractive manner. I was never one for good table graces.
The dining companion agreed her dish was equally as good, despite the mounds of pickled ginger obscuring half of it. So good, she managed to make it stretch to two more meals, but that’s a different, more worryingly bacteria-filled, story.
Too long, didn’t read?
Yamamori is surprisingly good, but disappointingly, will never be fantastic. For the money charged here, there are much better noodle and sushi places to eat in Dublin. However, I will no longer avoid it like the plague, as I was perfectly content, and absolutely sated.
However, I hope they soon realise that unlike wine, cheese and I, edamame does not age well, and they should replenish their stock much more frequently.
1 starter, 2 mains, 2 beers – €48
Yamamori, 38/39 Ormonde Quay, Dublin