A week before I visited Sumire Yakitori House in Bugis Junction, I was in Matsue, Shimane, Japan. As their branch there opens till late night, I planned to have late dinner there, but for some reason I didn’t go there eventually. A week later, I found myself at Sumire back home, on actually my first visit!
Sumire means ‘Smile’ in Japanese, they first started in Tokyo in 2009. Although the name of Sumire list them as Yakitori House, and grilled chicken is their forte, but practically, they do serve more than that. It’s more like Kushiyaki (串燒) plus some better known Japanese cuisines and beverages.
Back in the olden days, and in fact not too long ago, Kushiyaki was very much a men’s thing, more for them to enjoy with a mug of beer or sake after work in an Izakaya (居酒屋) with friends or colleagues. I heard men in Tokyo cannot go home early or their wives will nag, so they need a spot to hang around after work, that is, if they finish work ‘early’, and ‘early’ can mean anytime before 9pm! That’s why typical Izakaya usually opens for business from early evening to over midnight. Anyway, Sumire’s owner saw the potential to bring Yakitori to a more general patrons, which include ladies and families, and so he decided to change the conventional Izakaya to a restaurant-liked concept.
Gathering these facts, it’s natural that my maiden visit has to order some Yakitori, or for that matters, Kushiyaki (By the way, for those not so versed in Japanese, Yakitori typically means grilled chicken, and is a form of Kushiyaki, which literally means skewers).
Let’s begin with their house salad, which include chicken and sesame dressing. This is rather appetising and the veggie are very fresh.
My dining partner wanted some rice, so she ordered this Yakitori Mentai Jyu, which comprises of assorted skewers, rice, marinated cod fish roe, and seaweed. The taste is rather good, but diners don’t get to choose the skewers, and it may or may not come with something you less desire. For example, Sumire also serves chicken heart, chicken skin, chicken liver etc, some may not like those, but fortunately, I think those didn’t feature here.
Both Asparagus Bacon and Enoki Bacon skewers come with either their own Yakitori Sauce or Garlic Soy Sauce, I had them both in Garlic Soy Sauce. The Enoki Bacon was yummy, but I find the Asparagus a bit stringy, overall, the taste was good.
Momo Green Pepper is basically chicken thigh meat with green pepper, I had it with light salt, and found it marvellous! Not overly grilled, and the sparse salt really brings up the flavour than having sauce in my opinion.
This is grilled chicken thigh, I had it in their original Yakitori sauce. But I have to confess, having tried their Momo Green Pepper in Shio, I somewhat regret didn’t have this in light salt too. Nevertheless, the meat’s still tender and nicely grilled.
I don’t usually like chicken meatball, but here I was enchanted by the cheesy gravy, I though the composition sounds interesting, but eventually the only wow factor was the cheese. It’s not Sumire’s fault really, just that I find chicken meatball tastes mediocre, and Sumire ain’t able to change my perception on that. That said, their Tsukune comes in 2 different sizes, the big balls you see here comes with 2 on the skewer, the small balls come in three. Same price, and diners get to choose between Yakitori Sauce, Teri Mayo, Cheese, and Raw Egg.
This is the most expensive among the Kushiyaki I ordered, and it certainly didn’t fail. With Japanese green pepper and cheese wrapped within bacon, it’s my kind of tea. The savoury of the cheese, blending with sweetness of the bacon, along with the neutralising green pepper, it’s absolutely tantalising!
This item kept me waited the longest, until I almost forgotten about it. This is chicken skin, I have it lightly salted rather than coating with their Yakitori sauce. Again, that proved to be a wise choice. Having it crisp with sparse salt brings out its best taste in my opinion.
To conclude, although Sumire classified themselves as a Yakitori restaurant, but you have seen here they offer more than just grilled chicken. In fact, they also have some very interesting ingredients on their menu, such as Wagyu, Foie Gras, and even Daisen chicken specially imported from Japan! Although Daisen chicken is not one of the best three chickens in Japan, but it’s very famous in Sanin region, where I just came back from, the locals there are very proud of agricultural products from around Daisen area. Even in Japan, Daisen chicken are not easily found outside that region.
Opening hours ~
Daily: 11:30 hr – 22:00 hr
(Closed between 15:00 hr – 17:00 hr from Mon – Thu)