Gyoza Gyoza

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Gyoza Gyoza in Chadstone Shopping Centre is the sister outlet to the CBD store. It distinguishes itself by being more of a tapas style Japanese eatery with small little dishes, with a number of gyoza fillings to choose from and a selection of drinks as well.

While gyoza is its specialty, the other selection of dishes aren’t left behind in terms of quality. The Hot Soba noodles soup has a very clean tasting soup stock, and simply tastes fresh with the added spring onions. Subtle flavour, but has all the right elements for a nice noodle soup.

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The Fried Chicken (Tori Karage) isn’t too memorable. It’s crisp-crunchy but its very dry on its own, so the Japanese mayonnaise is much needed.

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The Crab claws are crunchy, not too fried and have a nice moist crab filling. It isn’t anything special, I quite prefer the crab claws in Waya in Glen Waverley just for the crab taste but it’s actually very similar.

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Mince garlic and pork Gyoza has a lovely taste to it. Subtlety of the garlic and pork flavour work well.

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The Wagyu and red onion is an interesting idea but in terms of flavour, it comes out quite bland. Not a big fan of it but it isn’t a disaster by any means.

Last words

While the food at Gyoza Gyoza is fairly decent, service wise it isn’t anything special and the small venue I feel detracts from the whole ambience.

Gyoza Gyoza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gyoza Gyoza
Chadstone Shopping Centre
Upper Level, 1341 Dandenong Road
Chadstone VIC 3148

Shizuku Ramen & Craft Beer

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Shizuku on Victoria St, is another Ramen place making its mark in Melbourne and spreading out from the CBD. While ramen is their specialty, it also prides itself on the craft beer offerings, with of course, a large range of Japanese beers, local and worldwide varieties. Ramen doesn’t come cheap though, with an average ramen costing $15 plus, however if you are able to dine there during lunch you are able to select one of their lunch specials.

Their Tonkotsu Miso Ramen comes with bamboo shoots, cha shu pork belly, Japanese style eggs with a very flavourful miso pork broth. I found it to be quite reminiscent of the many ramen shops in Japan in terms of flavour but more sparse in ingredients here.

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Shizuku’s Fried Rice also is quite flavourful, and the spring onions add a nice freshness to it.

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The gyoza filling is also tasty with the hint of ginger and pork flavour with crispy skin.

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Shizuku’s Shoyu Ramen with cha shu, bamboo shoots and egg in a lovely clean tasting soy sauce broth again hits the mark. It’s quite a tasty meal and decent for their lunch special.

Last words
Value for money during lunch but questionable for dinner. Delicious Ramen dishes and would be fantastic with a cold one during warmer weather.

Shizuku Ramen & Craft Beer Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Shizuku Ramen & Craft Beer
309 Victoria Street
Abbotsford VIC 3067

Two Hands Bar

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Initially I wanted to try Shizuku Ramen on Victoria Street, Richmond which is just next door. However, my poor eyesight lead me to Two Hands Bar which interestingly also serves Japanese cuisine. Their menu is a mixture of Western and Asian, also offering a breakfast menu for locals and workers in the area, burgers and also even Korean  but in addition as the name suggests it’s a bar as well.

Their lunch menu comes with complimentary soft drink or seaweed soup. One of their menu items is their Teriyaki Chicken with rice. The chicken is tender and marinated nicely, and comes with potato salad and interestingly dressed shredded carrots. The seaweed soup has a lovely seaweed flavour that isn’t too bold, but I found it just a tad oily.

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Another lunch item is their Deep Fried Chicken (Karage), the chicken is tender and crispy but requires the combination of mayo to accompany it to bring it all together. Otherwise, it’s particularly dry on its own with rice. As with the Teriyaki Chicken, it comes with the potato salad and carrots. Overall, it’s a decent deal with a drink.

Impressions

Two Hands Bar doesn’t set the bar high with its food, however,it is quite decent. I haven’t yet tried their burgers, but will definitely try them sometime in the future just to see how they taste like.

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Two Hands Bar
311A Victoria Street
Abbotsford VIC 3067

Hakata Gensuke

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The ramen at Hakata Gensuke on Russell St, Melbourne CBD is very reminiscent of what you’d find in a ramen restaurant in Japan. Signature & Black Tonkotsu are a few of their soup bases, but they also offer a red hot spicy soup to go with your ramen. What sets Hakata Gensuke apart from other Japanese noodle restaurants, is its add-ons. Pretty much all ingredients are add-on such as the Japanese style cooked eggs, Bean Shoots, Cha-Shu, Bamboo Shoots and Seaweed. You can also select the amount of noodles and even their softness if you like noodles with a bit more bite or etc, which is a first I’ve seen appear on their order menu.

Their Signature Tonkotsu is quite pleasant, their pork soup seems creamy yet its still light. Cha-Shu and eggs are the perfect additions to the Tonkotsu, and I do feel like I’m in Tokyo.
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If you want the lot, a meal can set you back $20 plus, though it is very appetising. It has all the ingredients you’d want in a ramen, but just for a bit extra.

Impressions

You can see why Hakata Gensuke is so popular, commonly with queues at the front and it is justified. You don’t frequently find Tonkotsu on many menus, however value for money for me is still Momotaro Rahmen in Richmond.

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Hakata Gensuke
168 Russell Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

Nishikian

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Nishikian is situated in a previously operated petrol station and now it has been converted into a spacious Japanese restaurant. Located in Forest Hill on Springvale Rd, it’s serves authentic Japanese food for Lunch and Dinner. Their menu has a small selection of rice and noodle dishes, but their main attraction for dinner is their tapas menu including fish, sushi and tempura.

There’s a lot to like about Nishikian, their Shoyu Ramen which is a Soy Sauce soup base, is very clean tasting and yet packed of flavour. The Japanese style eggs is a rare occurrence, but here you receive the oozy yolk inside with the hard boiled white. It’s one of life’s greatest food treats, slightly running yolk and hard boiled and pretty much served at any ramen shop in Japan.

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Nishikian’s Chicken Teriyaki Don isn’t how I usually find it, here it’s served crispy with a teriyaki marinade and Miso soup. Interesting choice, but I do prefer the grilled style Teriyaki.

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If you’re undecided, during lunch hours you can select the Nishiki Lunch Box, where you can choose from a selection of menu items and served with rice. It’s a great way to try a bit of a few different things. Their Potato Croquette is quite tasty, moist inside and nice and crispy. The Takoyaki wasn’t slightly crispy outside as that’s how I like it, but I found a couple of places in Tokyo that served it slightly soft. The beef I found actually was on the dry side, it needed a lot more sauce, and less cooking time as the beef cuts were very thin.

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The Beef Udon has a very subtle flavour but again, clean tasting and fresh. Two for two with their noodle dishes.

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Nishikian’s Mochi Potato Croquette is similar to the normal Potato Croquette and it’s everything you’d want in a croquette. Delicious, smooth potato inside and a beautiful crunchy coating.

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The Ebi Mayo Nigiri is another great dish, fresh and you can never have too much of Togarashi powder on the side.

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Lastly, the Tonkotsu Ramen (Pork Bone Broth) is very reminiscent of my travels in Japan. It has the taste of being rich of cream but yet there is none in a Tonkotsu. Delicious.

Impressions

While there are a couple of authentic Japanese places around these parts of town, Nishikian comes up top in terms of flavour and value. Their noodle dishes have all been winners in my book and I’d go straight back to those on my next visit.

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Nishikian
425 Springvale Road
Forest Hill & Vermont VIC
T: 03 9877 4999

Irodori House

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Irodori House on Station Street, Box Hill serves Japanese style cuisine with an a la carte menu as well as set lunch boxes. The food here is surprisingly decent hidden in an area with a wealth of Chinese eateries.  What I like about Irodori House is the flavours of their dishes.

Their Beef Sukiyaki has tender beef with a pleasant tasting light ginger taste. I’m not a big fan of ginger (although I love gingerbread) but here all the ingredients make for a pretty tasty dish.

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Japanese Egg Custard’s are some of the good things in life. A savoury custard that is so silky smooth, with just enough saltiness to bring out the egg flavour and served warm.

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Their tapas menu has an array of choices, Irodori’s Crumbed Fish with the mayonnaise had a good balance of crispiness and still moist on the inside. It goes really well with the mayonnaise served with it as it need a dipping sauce of sorts to complement the slight dryness of a fried fish.

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The Oyako Don comes with salad, miso soup and two sides. The Oyako Don wasn’t particularly memorable but the chicken was tender but lacking in a bit of flavour.

Impressions

Overall, I found Irodori House to excel in most of their dishes and it’s the reason why I would return. It may not be the most authentic Japanese restaurant or the most amazing dishes but it still provides a tasty meal and that’s all I would want.

Irodori House on Urbanspoon

Waya

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Waya on Kingsway, Glen Waverley is a Japanese restaurant with an interesting assortment of dishes from Sashimi, Sushi rolls, as well as Donburi (rice ), Ramen and Bento boxes as well as plentiful Japanese-tapas dishes. What also interested me was that they also offered hot pot, which you don’t often find in many Japanese restaurants. A few years back it was difficult to find any Japanese restaurants on Kingsway but now there is Monga Izakaya, Ajisen Ramen, Shira Nui and Yokohama Teppanyaki that all have their own appeal.

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Waya’s Waka Maki aka rice with Salmon, Cucumber and Avocado topped with Tobiko and Spicy Sauce is probably one of my favourite ones I’ve tried to date. Although, funnily enough, no resturant’s version of their spicy sushi rolls have topped the sushi stall inside Box Hill Woolworths (Spicy Tuna rolls).

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As mentioned before, the choice for hot pot is something I’m not quite use to but would love to see at more venues. We ordered the Kimchi Hot Pot served with Kimchi with Sliced Pork, Vegetables, Mushroom, Fish Cake and Tofu. It can actually be served for two to three people depending on if you’re sharing dishes. The hot pot has a lovely kimchi flavour with enough spiciness to go around.

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Their Crumbed Crab Claws are fantastic just fresh from the kitchen, with the crispy exterior and flavoured and moist crab claws.

Impressions
I generally found the dishes at Waya to be quite good. Nothing amazing, or spectacular but for a decent Japanese meal at a decent price it’s a good option and I find it to be more satisfying than Ajisen Ramen (located minutes away)

Waya – Official Website

Waya Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Ki – Toronto Series

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Ending my Toronto series with Ki Modern Japanese and Bar located on Brookfield Place Bay Street, in the Toronto CBD. Ki meshes the Western culture with Japanese cuisine in which you end up with dishes such as burgers but with a slight twist or sushi with spicy tomato salsa or mango.

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For those looking for a more traditional Japanese meal, at Ki they do offer a variety of freshly made nigiri, sashimi and maki sushi rolls. As a modern Japanese restaurant, they also serve slightly different sushi rolls, some with bacon or sweet potato which make for interesting combinations and especially on your palette.

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Impressions

Overall, the food quality here is fantastic. The sushi, tempura sushi and even the burgers are all delicious. However, I found the dishes leaning more towards Western style to have very minimal Japanese influences as such it would appear like eating it in any other upmarket cafe or the like.

Ki do Japanese well, although it comes at a price because the dishes here aren’t exactly cheap.

Ki Modern Japanese and Bar on Urbanspoon

Ki
181 Bay St
Toronto ON M5J2S1

Guu Sakabar – Toronto Series

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 Guu Sakabar definitely has an interesting atmosphere and if you haven’t dined at one of Guu’s locations in Vancouver or in Toronto, you may be surprised as you walk in. For all guests that arrive, you are warmly greeted with cheers from the employees as well as when you exit. So it can get quite noisy on a busy night but that’s all part of the charm.

Guu offers a Japanese-tapas style menu some options having a bit of Korean influences. What I like about tapas menus is that it’s great for sharing and trying a bit of everything from the menu.

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The Okonomiyaki here is deep fried with squid tonkatsu sauce and karashi mayonnaise. I haven’t tried a deep fried Japanese pancake before as I only have found the pan fried variation in Melbourne (Australia) before, however the pancake certainly left an impression on me.

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Probably my favourite dish was Guu’s Kinoko Bibimbap in a stone pot.With mushrooms, cheese and a seaweed sauce, the combination of flavours worked a treat together. Packed full of flavour, can’t go wrong with it and even for me who would prefer not to have mushrooms in anything!

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You can’t leave Guu without trying their drinks, however being a non-local and wanting to do a tapas drinks, we ordered the Sake Sampler that came with 6 different types of sake. As a non-expert in Sake, I can’t really offer my opinions on them but the cloudy ones were more memorable than the rest for sure.

Guu also offer Japanese Vodka, Beers, Wines and Cocktails and your non-alcoholic beverages as well.

Impressions

Guu is definitely for those seeking a good night out with friends and/or family and the atmosphere at Guu allows for that. Food-wise, most of what we tried was great, but on the smaller side of things.  Though, I certainly hope a restaurant like this pops up in Melbourne to enjoy.

Guu Sakabar on Urbanspoon

Guu – Sakabar

559 Bloor St W
Toronto ON M5S1Y6

Sushi House Goyemon – Las Vegas Series

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Sushi House Goyemon was and is probably one of my favourite Japanese Sushi places that I’ve been to in a long time but having said that, I’m not a local of Las Vegas and I am comparing my experiences with those restaurants I’ve been to in Melbourne, Australia. One of the fantastic things about this place is their All You Can Eat (Order) Lunch and Dinner offers, in which for a set time you can basically order anything off their menu, ranging from the various Sushi rolls such as Nigiri, tempura, deep fried, baked and of course the standard rolls and side dishes and desserts too. Those with a preference for rice, noodle or curry dishes can quash their worries as this is also on offer.

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They have a wide range of Nigiri sushi using various types of fish such as tuna, yellow tail, red snapper and mackerel but also prawn and scallop nigiri sushi as well. Fresh fish with rice and a bit of soy sauce is sometimes all you really need.

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They also serve a large assortment of sushi with different fillings or toppings, you would definitely struggle to try them all in one sitting!

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Other than sushi, they have a couple of entree like items such as their green baked mussels, prawn tempura, takoyaki and fried gyoza.

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If it’s your first time here, a group scene might be best if you’re dying to try a bit of everything on the menu.

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One you order the desserts I believe you won’t be able to order any of the other menu items again. Their ice cream range of course has green tea, but also this fried ice cream which I’ve never tried before. Well, to be honest, I don’t see a need to try that one again but for those wanting something crispy to go with their ice cream, be my guest.
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Their ice cream mochi’s are quite nice too, the dough is still soft but the inside is nice and cold. Lovely on a warmer day.

Impressions

I was very impressed with Sushi House Goyemon, their menu range is fantastic and yet most of their dishes come out on top. Overall for a decent price too for sushi, it’s great value for money.

Sushi House Goyemon on Urbanspoon

Sushi House Goyemon
5255 S. Decatur Blvd
Las Vegas NV 89118