Surprisingly given I am a tragic otaku and computer nerd I had never been into the Capitol Square building. It's a dangerous place filled with components stores, purikura machines and Japanese nail booths.
It also contains a Passionflower Asian ice cream bar and a number of Asian restaurants. I was of course immediately drawn to the Japanese restaurant, Yumei.
I don't think coming at lunchtime was the smartest of ideas, this place obviously runs off business crowds and local international students running errands. Like many Asian eateries in inner city Sydney there was a bell on the table for attracting attention but the rather large eatery was completely full and it took some time to get attention. When I do get attention the servers are very polite and bring water, menus and offers of Western cutlery without blinking.
I bought a quick lunch meal of gyoza and a bento; a fairly quick and easy way to judge a local Japanese eatery. I suspect quickly that they have a Korean chef since this gyoza are more like kyoza; fried and filled with rice noodle. They're good, because well all dumplings are good but they weren't what I was expecting and are a little heavy given the katsu dish I have ordered.
Pork katsu bento $12.80
I choose one of the smaller bento and I'm glad I do, this meal is huge, the deluxe versions are the size of a large cafeteria tray and contain many compartments. This one is a slightly sensible serving of rice, breaded pork, salad and miso soup.
I begin to suspect I'm correct about the chef when I notice that the katsu isn't breaded in panko crumb but standard bread crumb. On the other hand it is perfectly cooked and the tonkatsu sauce is tangy and sweet and highly recommended, much lighter than similar sauces I have eaten. The salad is a nice offset to the fried food and I was a bit nuts about their dressing.
Shiro miso - included with bento
The miso soup is a bit generic but it is good quality, I just would have preferred some more interesting garnishes in it; a Japanese meal without tofu makes me sad :o(
All in all it's obviously Korean influenced but Yumei is a generic but certainly attendable Sydney lunch venue, nothing fancy, still tasty and reasonably priced. I would go early or late to avoid the rush, and sit somewhere you can people watch the locals snapping shots in the photo boths.
Yumei Japanese Restaurant
Capitol Square Shopping Centre
69/730-742 George St
Haymarket NSW 2000
(02) 9212 6665
No reservation required