Making news as the Adelaide Hill’s first Fine Japanese Restaurant, Yuki in the Hills is already a hit, with crowds lining up out the door to get a taste of Japan.
As soon as we walked through the door in the town of Aldgate, we were hit with a beautiful and authentic atmosphere, with a workstation in the middle where Japanese trained Chef’s prepared meals, such as sushi, and you could watch them while you eat.
The 50-seater restaurant is small but cosy and has an authentic vibe to the interior décor.
Head Manager, Jackson Dennis, who was lovely and welcoming, served us on the night and you could see how passionate he was about Japan and it’s culture.
“I love everything Japanese”, he said.
The menu had a huge range of selections, and it was hard to pick what to try first. We ended up picking a selection of cold dishes first, followed by hot.
For the first half of our meal, we were served five different types of sushi and wow were they beautiful. Each dish you could see was perfectly crafted and love and care was taken into the presentation and taste.
First up we had Octopus (Tako). The octopus was really fresh and slightly chewy but was not unpleasant in texture, perfectly cooked for sushi. The plate was beautiful and petite containing two delicious pieces.
The next sushi we tasted was the Sashimi +3 Combination, consisting of nine pieces in total of raw Tuna, Salmon and Yellowtail. Each piece of fish was beautifully prepared and looked amazing on the plate. Each piece was delicate and light, and was very fresh. The whole dish was delicious and we cleaned the plate in seconds, immediately wanting more.
The Fire Fighter Roll was third to taste. Having spicy crabmeat and cucumber inside and spicy tuna and a thin jalapeño slice on top; you would need a fire fighter to hose you down after eating. Definitely for those who enjoy a bit of spice in their meals, this dish even looked spicy. The tuna and jalapeño gave a kick of heat as you took a bite, leaving a tingling sensation in your mouth. The fresh cucumber helped balance these hot flavours and cooled the palate, while the tuna and crabmeat was fresh and again very light.
We then tasted the Rainbow Roll. This beautiful and colourful dish definitely represented a rainbow on the plate. Inside consisted of crabmeat and avocado, while the toppings were the Chef’s choice of any fish and avocado. We ended up receiving tuna, salmon and even more yellowtail on top. The sweeter sushi was again very fresh and light. The flavours were cooling and all the fish combinations balanced perfectly with one another. We polished off this plate very quickly, showing the Rainbow Rolls were definitely one of our favourites of the night.
The last sushi dish we tried was the Salmon Lover Roll. Consisting of spicy salmon, green onions, massage and tempura crumb inside, topped with fresh salmon, this Sushi also had a slight spice to it but was very mild and could be enjoyed by even those that dislike spices. The hero of the dish was the fresh salmon on top, which was fresh and cool, balancing the spice of the inner salmon and the kick of the green onions; and overall was a beautiful balance of spice and cool fresh flavours.
All the seafood used in the sushi was fresh delivered from Port Lincoln and every ingredient used was sourced locally. I enjoyed every meal we had been offered and was very satisfied by the flavour combinations. Every plate was left completely empty after the sushi, leaving us eager to try the four hot meals to come.
The first hot meal we tasted was the Combination Tempura, consisting of deep fried vegetables and king prawns. The crunchy coating was not too thick and had a nice consistency. The king prawns were nicely fresh and cooked well, while the vegetables were full of flavour. Each element paired well with the dipping sauce that had a slight fish flavour, which complimented each tempura piece.
Next up we tried the Pork Gyoza, which was filled with pork and mixed vegetables. The savoury dumplings were simply delicious, balancing the flavours of the perfectly cooked pork and the sweetness of the vegetables. The dish balanced every ingredient well and the gyoza dough was thin and well cooked.
The Teriyaki Chicken was next. Paired with steamed vegetables, the dish was well balanced. The teriyaki sauce was generous and had a lovely tang mixed with sweeter notes. The sauce was a bit stronger than other Asian stores that sell teriyaki chicken, and it seemed more authentic to the true Japanese flavours. The chicken was tender and cooked well which paired well with the steamed vegetables, that reminded me of a stir-fry.
The last dish we tasted was the Chicken Karaage. This Japanese style deep fried chicken is a favourite of mine. It had a light batter with a soft crunch to it. The chicken itself was cooked perfectly and was very soft and tender. The kewpie mayonnaise was on the side to dip the chicken, which gave the dish a sweeter note to the savoury dish.
They also offer up dessert for those who are feeling like something a bit on the sweet side.
I also tried their more traditional hot Genmaicha Tea to go along with my meals, which was combined with roasted brown rice. This shocked me at first as I had never heard of tea with rice before, but it gave off a lovely earthy note with the traditional green tea flavours.
But there were plenty other drinking options to chose from, including wine, beer, cocktails, cider and of course sake and shochu, at their small bar.
The presentation of all the food was outstanding and the flavours were beautiful. It was easy to see how every dish was carefully prepared so guests were sure to get the very best that Yuki could offer.
Owners of Yuki in the Hills, Mike Oh and Dahlia Jung, have now moved to Aldgate, after two years of planning to bring Japanese cuisine to the Hills.
Dahlia Jung spent six months training in Japan for role of Chef and has also brought with her friend and Japanese-trained chef Gang Kim, who both you can see in the centre of the restaurant making anything from sushi to gyoza.
Head Manager, Jackson Dennis, was also part of the original planning of Yuki in the Hills, only two years ago.
“As soon as we opened this place I wanted to cry. It has been nearly two years since anyone was in this place and since the idea was there for it […] so it’s come a long way,
“It’s really humbling to have people here and enjoy the service and the Japanese Cuisine; because we all really love it”, Jackson Dennis said.
The restaurant also offers dishes that cater for all food restrictions, including for vegetarian and vegan guests.
Yuki in the Hills is also preparing to do takeaway, perfect for those busy people who love Japanese cuisine but don’t have time to stop and eat.
Planted in a beautiful location, right in Adelaide’s backyard, Yuki is sure to impress any guest that comes through the door.
Yuki in the Hills is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 10pm.
Words by Cyndal King
WHERE: 2 Strathalbyn Rd, Aldgate