Foodie Masters: Taste Ukiyo

We are back with another review, and this time, we went to a Japanese restaurant called Ukiyo. It is located next to the Manor in Geneva on Place de Grenus. We chose this restaurant as the only Japanese food we had until then was sushi, and we wanted to widen our palates and try something new. 

The restaurant is easy to get to, and is a five minute walk away from Cornavin train station. The decor was tasteful; we noticed Japanese flags and symbols, staples of Japanese culture. We thought it fit well with the kind of food that they serve, and they even offered us to sit at a ‘tatami’ (Japanese carpet), which we reluctantly declined. Unfortunately we had to sit downstairs which was empty, and frankly a bit gloomy, and there was a very annoying loud noise, however we can’t blame the restaurant as it was caused by flooding in the kitchen, but otherwise the setting wasn’t bad.

Samuel: “As mentioned before we were disturbed by the loud annoying noise since we had a hard time hearing each other, though it was a fluke. I found the food to be evenly priced and for my meal I had a shared “Chicken Gyoza ” as a starter along with a “Curry Chicken Udon” as my main. For it being my first time eating these types of dumplings I was very pleased. The taste of the dumpling itself was interesting and accompanied well with the available soya sauce. The curry chicken udon was not for me, though it may be to other people’s liking. The sauce and udon noodle, which I personally found to be the problem, was thick and had a similar taste to soya sauce, with a hint of other ingredients and chicken. After having begun eating the sauce and noodles, it started weighing down on my stomach and became difficult to eat after a while, to the point where I could not finish the dish. On the other hand, the chicken meat was excellent: I found it to be very tender, and the sauce had a nice flavour to it. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone who would want to eat this style of food, though personally I would order something different next time (this is my personal opinion, this may differ from yours). Finally, I rate this restaurant a 6.5/10.”

Seb: “As the others also did, I began by trying the ‘Chicken Gyozas’, which were very tasty and not too heavy, and were perfect as an appetizer. For the main dish I had the ‘Spicy Tokyo Ramen Porc’. I first took a sip of the broth; I found it very tasty, and the spices that were added definitely made it seem like I was eating at an authentic Japanese restaurant. It was also the first time that I consciously experienced the ‘fifth taste’, known in Japan as ‘Umami’, which roughly translates to “a pleasant savoury taste”, and it absolutely was. However, I did think that the broth was a bit bitter, and even though this may be how the broth is traditionally supposed to taste, it still unfortunately dulled my opinion on the dish. The star of the dish for me was the braised pork, which was extremely flavourful and complemented the dish very nicely; it was relatively lean but still had enough, making it incredibly tender but not too heavy. The homemade noodles were good and soaked up the broth quite well. For dessert, I ordered a cheesecake, and although it was good and wasn’t too dense, the portion was very small, especially for seven francs. Based on my personal opinion on what I have tasted, I would give this place a 6.5/10. If the broth was not as bitter as it was, and if the cheesecake was slightly larger, I would rate it much higher. I would still however recommend this restaurant to anyone that wants to experience traditional Japanese food.”

Zak: “Unlike my friends, I started off by eating a restaurant special – the “Chicken Chashu”. It was paired with slices of onion and leek and was marinated in sake and soy sauce. Its taste did not disapprove and packed a punch of a mildly salty and sweet aroma with a bite. I then moved on to the “Salted Soy Beans”, which I shared with the others. Their taste was nutty and very salty, a stark contrast one would expect from a food with such a buttery texture. Then came the “Kocha Tea”, a Japanese black tea whose taste was too bitter for me. To sweeten up my mouth from this ordeal, I ordered a lemonade, which did not disappoint as it was just right in terms of how sour and sweet it was, making me impatiently wait to try my main dish – the “Niku Udon” with extra fried vegetables. As soon as it came, its smokey scent scattered across the room, but when I tried it I felt disappointed: the broth had a very unique taste, though it mainly tasted smoked, with a hint of tomato, onion, mushroom, and other roasted vegetables with a bitter aftertaste, however, the taste was too strong for me to enjoy. The roasted vegetables themselves tasted burnt, the beef slices felt overcooked, and the noodles felt undercooked and over soaked in the broth, creating a strange scene where the ingredients all felt off, harming the chemistry of the dish. Though paired with the price, the menu was not too disappointing, and for the most part had few shortcomings, so I would rate this restaurant a 6/10; not too bad, not too good, and in my view just fine for a Japanese meal in Geneva.

On the whole, we enjoyed our meal at Ukiyo, however there were some shortcomings. We found the broths to be too bitter for our tastes, and the chicken curry was too dense and became difficult to finish. On the other hand, this may just be how Japanese food is meant to taste, so it could just be that we aren’t used to these foreign of flavours. The restaurant did seem very authentic, with tasteful Japanese decor and drinks that you could only find in Japan. We still recommend this restaurant as we firmly believe that there are people that would enjoy the dishes that we had.

Pl. De-Grenus 6, 1201 Genève

022 525 70 71

– Samuel, Sebastiano & Zakhar

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