How often do you see your significant other at work? K has only been to my workplace a handful of times, and it’s generally for a special occasion like bringing me roses on Valentine’s Day (yes I know, I’m lucky!). I’ve been to his workplace a lot more often as it’s a lot more central than my office and so makes a good base for any weekday evening activities that we may have planned – movies, concerts, dinners out.
Every time that I go to his office, I walk past this cute little cartoon character that’s the mascot for Harajuku Gyoza in Potts Point, a modern Japanese izakaya. I’ve always wanted to try it as I’m a real sucker for a cute face! We finally went there for a quick dinner one night before taking the train out to Homebush for the Queen & Adam Lambert concert which rocked my world.
We started with a cucumber and miso salad. The cold skinless cucumber chunks were delightfully crunchy which worked well with the sticky sweet miso dressing. The addition of toasted sesame seeds also added additional texture and depth of flavour to an otherwise simple starter.
I ordered a Coke Zero – it’s not particularly exciting given that you can get soft drinks anywhere, but I loved that it came served in one of Harajuku Gyoza’s custom beer mugs with the cute cartoon character. Like I said earlier, I’m a sucker for a cute face!
Given the cold weather that we had been experiencing in Sydney at that point, I also made the case for a bowl of hot steaming ramen. While ramen obviously isn’t the specialty of Harajuku Gyoza, I found that it was cooked really well – the miso broth was tangy and tasty, the ramen noodles wonderfully chewy with good ‘bite’, and the tender pork slices just melted in your mouth.
Our savoury gyoza choices were a real treat. Piping hot with thin, almost translucent dumpling skins on top, the bottoms of the gyozas were grilled to crispy perfection. I found the duck gyozas a bit too game-y for my liking, but the pork was wonderful.
Of course to finish off, we needed to try one of Harajuku’s famous dessert gyozas. The salted caramel called to me, though I was also sorely tempted by the Nutella and banana gyozas. Unfortunately, they didn’t quite meet my expectations as I found the skins a bit thicker and chewier than I would have liked especially when compared to the thinner skins of the savoury gyozas.
Overall, while I really enjoyed the cute kitschiness of Harajuku Gyoza, I don’t think it’s the best value-for-money meal that you can find. You can get better and cheaper dumplings elsewhere, and better and cheaper ramen elsewhere as well. It was enjoyable, but I don’t think I’ll be back anytime soon.