Yu Restaurant's Asian fusion cuisine draws Capetonians like a magnet
You can sample everything from dim sum to soft-shell crab at this cool new hotel eatery in the Foreshore area of the CBD, writes Kit Heathcock
There’s a hip after-work vibe at Yu Restaurant when we visit midweek. Matt black walls, plush benches, subtle lighting, cocktail bar, and a busy open kitchen with a funky octopus mural.
The Foreshore location on Heerengracht may be streets away from Bree Street, but Yu, one of two eateries on the ground floor of brand new The Onyx apartment hotel, is busy, locals way outnumbering hotel guests. It helps that there’s easy free parking right outside, but the food is definitely the magnet.
Contemporary Asian fusion is what it’s all about. Tapas and snacks span the spectrum from dim sum through to sushi, sliders, bao buns and soft-shell crab, right on-trend, accessible, blending traditional with a dash of creativity.
We kicked off with five small plates: hot edamame beans in their pods, a generous portion of hoisin calamari, sticky rice topped with salmon tartare, edamame and truffle dumplings in a rich mushroom broth, and salmon sashimi – an eclectic collection that gave us a chance to chop and change between textures and flavours, all intense and nicely balanced.
Service is attentive and food comes quickly, so you can keep ordering in stages, until you’re blissfully satiated. Next, we tried one of the piping-hot fried dim sum, a rich meaty chicken, ginger and chive-filled crispy dumpling with a sweet chili dip.
Rather than moving on to the main-sized plates and bowls, we had another wave of small plates grouped for the illusion of a main: luscious sticky beef ribs marinated in beer and miso with melting fat and true umami satisfaction, sides of broccolini with a moreish sesame and soya sauce, creamy grilled aubergine and miso, and a fresh and crunchy papaya salad.
We could easily have stopped there, but had to try the signature soft-shelled crab in crispy tempura with a sesame mayo dipping sauce – light but rich and delicious.
For a sweet finale there’s a short menu of classic desserts with subtle Asian twists – who can resist a chocolate fondant, a touch of matcha green tea and a lovely pistachio ice cream, or for freshness the caramelised pineapple slices with black sesame compote and coconut ice cream infused with a vanilla pod?
• Visit Yu Restaurant at The ONYX Hotel, 59 Heerengracht St, Cape Town. See newmarkhotels.com
This article was originally published in the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guide. Visit Yourneighbourhood.co.za