Where do I start with this amazing Japanese restaurant? As we walked into the wonderland of this uniquely decorated eatery, you are greeted with a massive array of things to look at. Your eyes fritter from one thing to the next as though they are, as excited to see the next thing as the last. The walls are a heart-warming sumptuous deep red colour and are decorated the most unusual plates that have been printed with Japanese artwork and photos. It was a feast for the senses indeed, and we hadn’t even eaten yet.
Eric-san greeted us as we arrived and showed us to our table, this was not just a little visit to a local restaurant but our first blogger’s event. The event was for us to sample their forthcoming new menu, launching in May.
As this was a first for us, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect, but we certainly didn’t expect what the evening had in store for us.
We were sat on a line of tables that were presented to us as the event tables, and we could sit where we liked. On our lovely set up table was an array of Japanese condiments and a special little gift for every blogger. A gift! Yep, a gift hehe like Christmas was all had a tiny long box that contained our very own individually boxed travel chopsticks. They were cool and such a little treat to play with as we awaited other blogger’s to arrive.
I have to admit the next part of this article has to be helped out by our fantastic host, I wish I had a photographic memory, but the details of all our dishes completely eluded me after the first bite. So our delightful evening consisted of the follows delights;
CHILLI & CHEESE HARUMAKI – Deseeded green finger chilli filled with cheddar cheese and encased in a spring roll wrapper. “HARUMAKI” is Japanese for a spring roll.
Ooo this was so yummy, I was expecting it to be so hot and spicy, but it was only the last bite that left a tingle on my tongue.
CHICKEN LEMONGRASS GYOZA – Minced chicken flavoured with Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime. This is a modern take on gyoza making use of Southeast Asian flavours.
The lemongrass and lime left a tingle on your tongue, it was refreshing but if you not a fan of the fruits it would possibly be too overpowering. But I loved the full punch of the powerful combination.
CRAB CREAM CROQUETTES – “Kani Kurimu Korroke” “Kani” is Japanese word for crab. Crab mixed with a thickened béchamel sauce. It is then cut into shapes and crumbed in fresh panko. It’s served with Katsu sauce (Worchestershire based sauce) and a dry mix of salt, garlic and sansho (Japanese pepper)
I would like to rename these too ‘softballs of delectable creaminess’ as you bit into them the soft, comforting textures and flavours were tasty. I can’t say I was a fan of mixing the two compliments though, separately each of the dips where nice but combining them was a little odd with the Croquettes.
PORK KIMUCHI GYOZA – This Pork gyoza is flavoured with Kimuchi-No-Moto traditionally used for “Nabe” a soup base. This is the Japanese version of the Korean Kimchi. “Kimuchi” is the Japanese spelling.
These little morsels were very delicate and tasted like a very soft traditional dumpling. It was good with the dipping sauce with made the condiments on the table. The one thing that I remember about this dish wasn’t the taste but the little sloppiness of the plating. I know I’m picky but when you present small plates of food they should be plated with the highest aesthetic.
CHICKEN YUZUKOSHO GYOZA SOUP – Our Classic Chicken Gyoza poached and served in a Chicken soup flavoured with Yuzukosho. “Yuzukosho” is a spice paste with yuzu zest, green chilli and salt. A great winter warmer.
Defiantly a little winner, these dumplings with their punchy stock was a welcomed flood of full flavour you don’t expect as the soup is very clear. You look at it and think you’re getting a very light dish but one taste and it a full filling soup.
PORK BELLY KAKUNI – Kakuni refers to cubes. This dish is Pork Belly braised in a master stock leaving it tender and with hints of apple. One of our best-selling items on the menu.
Yep! Stick a fork in me I’m done, I could have just eaten these cubes for the rest of the evening, its no wonder they are a best seller. They just melted in my mouth and with the sweet sticky sauce, I was in heaven. Mmmmm.
EGGPLANT TEMPURA – Eggplant wedges, battered and served in a sweet tempura sauce.
Now, I have to admit something, I have never been a fan of Eggplant, no way I have had it before has ever tempted me back to it, but this was indeed different. I’m not sure what they did, but they completely changed it for me, it was crispy with a soft centre I could of quite happily eaten another plate, but I was getting a little full at this point.
CHICKEN KARAAGE – Diced chicken marinated in garlic, ginger, mirin and other sauces then battered and fried.
What did I say, I was full, couldn’t eat anymore! Nonce! These were amazing, sweet, sticky, crispy fried goodness, oh my days I think I might have ordered another plate because it tasted so good. Trust me, order these and you’ll order another plate.
CHOCOCHIP COOKIE DOUGH – One of the most popular special desserts we have run. It’s a cookie dough recipe with chocolate chip morsels. Served 3pcs. with ice cream.
Right, it’s time to get serious! A quick swig of water and the pudding stomach is engaged, yep you heard correctly. The pudding stomach and boy am I glad; I loved these with all my heart. They were crispy shells with gooey centres and is a must for any cookie dough lover.
GREEN TEA WITH PISTACHIO BRITTLE – This has the flavours of a green tea cheesecake. We make our own pistachio brittle which we crush then add to the cheesecake mix. Served 3pcs. with ice cream.
These were so light, filled with a crunchy/soft filling. I’m not the biggest fan of green tea, but this was a delight, a very modern take on a very traditional Japanese ingredient.
YOYOGI LAGER – An easy drinking Japanese Lager brewed by our own Kentaro Ito. Yoyogi Lager is served in a 1.8L bottle, designed like our food, for sharing.
The Lager was nothing I had tasted before; I am not a fan of larger in general, usually its way too bitter for me but this was light and almost fruity. Definitely for a must try as it’s the restaurants own brew and not one your find anywhere else.
By the time we had eaten the feast in front of us, it was time for Saki, the ritual for when Saki is ordered here is for all the staff to get involved, they all celebrate the pouring of the Japanese rice wine, it was quite a speckle and one I’ll never forget.
Harajuku Gyoza is so easy to find, this branch is at Southbank in Brisbane and was only two minutes from the underground parking. They also have two other sites in Brisbane too one in the Valley and the other in the Brisbane central business district.
The majority of the dishes are between six and nine dollars, with larger meals of don and Reman thirteen dollars. So a fairly reassemble meal out two.
Our evening ended with more lovely gifts of vouchers, and I got a rather snazzy new hat too. Hehe overall it was a good evening, we tasted some beautiful dishes and experienced our first blogger event. All and all a very good night indeed.