I was listening to a Cherry Bomb program on Heritage Radio. I’m not sure if it was the one with the Hemsley sisters or the How to Be The Boss one; but someone made a good point. When starting a new business they said, “look for the white space and fill it”. Obvious but not often applied by those entering the restaurant business.
Yatai have gone ahead and done just that with the opening of their sit down branch in Barcelona. A Catalan family had to call the waiter over when after turning the menu over and over they couldn’t find the makis.
“We specialize in Japanese cooked food.” The waiter explained.
“We serve Donburis, Japanese Curries, Okonomiyaki (Japanese Savoury pancake), Takoyaki (ball-shaped pancakes) and Tayaki (fish-shaped filled cake).” He smiled.
“You can see the pictures here on the wall.” He smiled and gestured.
“But we want sushi.”
They weren’t convinced. But the two little boys of the Japanese family next to me wolfed down their chicken katsu curry. Their mother tucked in to the Japanese pancake. They all shared a towering glass bowl of shaved ice with red syrup drizzled on the top. Another family they knew walked in an a prolonged episode of bowing ensued.
It was mostly young people – lets say under the age of 40. They knew what Yatai was about and what this kind of Japanese food entails. They ordered with ease.
I went for the salmon Donburi (€9.8). A delicately arranged slightly small-sized portion. One of my daughters was with me and ordered the children’s menu (€4.8) which came on a funny plastic plate with a face. A little rice, a fried shrimp, a chunk of battered chicken with a side of potato salad, juice and a scoop of ice cream at the end.
Yatai has grown since began its life in Sitges- as a takeaway restaurant. Barcelona is lucky – they’ve been given a full format Yatai. Up the street from the Takashi Ochiai Pastisseria (the one that makes the butter croissant with a Matcha green tea filling). It’s a large restaurant with clever repurposed furniture and delightful vintage Japanese advertising. It’s easy to see why it’s so full on a Saturday night.
I am coming back for the chicken katsu next time and the shaved ice.
Carrer del Comte d’Urgell, 112
My favourite Donburi is served at Cuina D’Uribou