I am a gyoza lover, period! Have been and always will be. I have even learnt how to make the perfect gyoza which my family enjoys very much. It’s an easy go-to meal when you need a quick lunch or simple dinner. Because of this, my expectation for the perfect gyoza needs to be pan-fried to perfection, lightly browned both sides, crisp light skin with juicy bite-size filling. So, when I saw Gyoza Douraku, a Japanese gyoza bar situated on the upper side of busy Bourke Street, I told myself that I must visit this restaurant.
The restaurant with Isakayz style bar offers a wide range (and interesting ingredient) of home-made gyoza (japanese dumpling) and tasty small plates “Izakaya” style. The bar also has a great selection of Japanese sake and beer to accompany the eats. Gyoza Douraku make their gyoza fresh daily which hopefully can satisfy my taste bud.
The small seating area (for small group) is rustic with multi colored panel tables and brick walls. However, I have to say that the table is a little small for 3 diners. I think the seating is for 2 diners having a quick bite because the small chairs and the lack of cushion to support really makes it a little uncomfortable to sit long. For bigger groups, the restaurant offers “tatami” seating area upstairs.
I was very attracted to the sauce and condiments on the table that is used to mix/match the type of flavour that accompanies the gyoza. The waitress explained to us the way to mix and match them – soy sauce, vinegar, chilli oil, sesame seeds, garlic, sesame oil – she told us to mix 2X vinegar and 2X soy sauce and the other condiments to mix and taste. We ordered the set lunch menu with prices ranging from $9.90 – $11.90 (comes with miso soup, tsukemono, wafu salad, soba noodles or steamed rice and a selection of gyoza) and warm Japanese tea served in a cute little silver tea pot. So vintage!
The wafu salad is very fresh and citrusy which I really like. Thanks to the “yuzu” dressing. It is served with fresh lettuce, crispy bits and dollop of japanese mayonnaise. Once we have completed the starters, the waitress brought us our soba noodles and pan-fried gyoza – pork & cabbage gyoza, mince garlic & pork gyoza and the wagyu beef gyoza.
The soba noodles was served with soy sauce dipping sauce in a small bowl and tasted great. My only complaint was that the bowl is too small, so, I wasn’t completely full. Now, on the gyoza … honestly, as a gyoza bar that makes their gyoza fresh daily, the serving size and taste did not meet my expectation. The gyoza is small and the pork filling taste almost bland. As for the wagyu beef gyoza, it is only a small thumb size filling in the gyoza. I was sadly disappointed!
Verdict : The highlight of my lunch was the Wagyu beef yukke with quail egg. This dish is simple but tastes sensational. The cold dish is so fresh – served with cucumber, thick raw wagyu beef and topped with scallions and raw quail egg. The raw quail egg is poured onto the beef and then mixed in together with the sesame and soy dressing presenting an “umami” flavor! Overall, Gyoza Douraku is OK. I wasn’t impressed with their specialty gyoza but was more excited over the other dishes like the wagyu beef yukke.
“Human beings do not eat nutrients, they eat food.”
– Mary Catherine Bateson
147 Bourke St, Melbourne, Victoria
P: 03 9650 5225
Mon-Thus: Lunch & Dinner
Fri-Sat: Lunch, Dinner & Late
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