Beside the dark tower that glowers over Spyrou Kyprianou Avenue nestles an enterprise so successful that it is full by 8.30 on a Tuesday night. The majority of the diners are groups of young women, and the attraction, a buffet of Sushi and Oriental delights, presented as if it is installation art and will cause the sensitive customer to experience a moment of guilt as they remove their choice from the wooden platters to the plate.
We have reviewed every restaurant in this area and have watched them wither into dust and return as coffee bars only to decay and to dust return; but not the Yumi. We arrive early, and observing that the place is empty were surprised to be asked if we had a reservation by Sabi, our charming Nepali waitress. There was a time when Sushi in Nicosia was the acme of sophisticated dining and a mystery to most; now it is on sale in every confectionery chain. But, as ever, there is Sushi and… Sushi. Yumi employs six Oriental chefs that work constantly to supply the buffet counter and meet the requirements of the customers of the carte.
Japanese cuisine is renowned for being light, fresh and minimal. Most items on the very extensive menu are matched by the buffet, but the menu offers combinations of maki, nigari, sashimi, maguro, ebi, and my favourite unagi (eel), the others are thinly sliced salmon, tuna, shrimp, all served with rice wrapped inside a roll tightly bound by nori, the vitamin-rich seaweed.
We chose to eat from the buffet because of its beautiful presentation, and in addition it offered vegetarian dishes and sweet and sour and chili chicken with basins of shrimp noodles and salads. Failing the attractions of the buffet the diner may choose from a carte of six appetisers that offer among others, shrimp tempura – the batter gifted to Japan by the Portuguese – spring rolls; six salads including crab and octopus. The restaurant prepares platters large enough to feed a platoon and main courses of noodles, rice, calamari, and chicken. The section containing the rolls is irresistible.
Oriental cuisine is not overladen with desserts. There is a reasonable selection of beers and wine although the purist will drink Saki or Jasmine tea.
The service is first rate and unobtrusive, which cannot be said of the music that would defy any known classification. When I questioned Alexandros, the manager, who runs a very tight ship, to reveal its origin, he claimed it was his and he liked it. Perks of being the manager, I suppose.
Most enjoyable evening, excellent Sushi – did I mention the customer may visit the buffet bar as often as their stomach or conscience will permit?
WHERE Spyros Kyprianou 20, Nicosia
CONTACT 99-170717, booking essential
PRICE Buffet €14.95