Menus are printed on paper placemats with a short selection of gyoza, some side dishes and Izakaya dishes. An Izakaya is a place in Japan where you can go for drinks, where they also serve accompanying food. You and I would call that 'a bar'. As well as the standard menu items, there are some specials that have been stamped on the placemat including an additional salad, side and an extra special 'Christmas Themed' sweet gyoza with brandy butter and custard. No, we did not.
Ordering was quick and while we waited, we had a look at the sleek Japo-Scandi style decor. Each table has it's own dipping sauce mixing station with soy, vinegar and chilli (which is very, very hot so go carefully). The walls are decorated with cute melamine plates of various themes and these are also used for our meals. The overwhelming vibe of Harijuku Gyoza is 'FUN!'. The mix of clients are some young families with kids, a couple on a first or second date and a group of die hards who've kicked on from the office party.
|Mix your own sauce|
Our Grilled Duck Gyoza ($8) and the special White Sesame Salad ($6) were the first to arrive. The five gyoza are plump and flavourful with a nicely crisped edge to them. They taste like duck but not overwhelmingly so. If I hadn't known they were duck, they may have remained a (tasty) mystery. The salad is simply shredded carrot and white cabbage with a thick white sesame dressing drizzled over the top, finished with a garnish of crisp lotus roots. The salad was fresh but could have done with more dressing. When stirred through, there was insufficient to fully flavour the salad. The addition of some home made dipping sauce loosened the mix up. It was nice and crunchy alongside the soft gyoza that are made fresh everyday
The other special of Agedashi Nasu (Tempura Eggplant) $6 and traditional Poached Pork Gyoza ($8) arrived together. Regular readers will know that I love my eggplant. This dish comprised two quarters of a small eggplant that had been scored, partially steamed and then finished in a light tempura batter. A very nice contrast of textures with the light dashi stock, it was very tricky to eat with chopsticks. There were no cutting implements to break off pieces of the eggplant and picking it up as a whole piece ran the risk of the eggplant flopping down your chin, squirting you with hot juice. Barring the logistics issues, it was still enjoyable. The five poached pork gyoza were served in a bowl with the typical gyoza flavours we have come to know. They were juicy and savoury but nothing really set them apart from other gyoza we had tried elsewhere.
|Hard to eat in one bite with chopsticks!|
*TIFFIN visited at her leisure but offset some of the cost using vouchers supplied by Harajuku Gyoza
394 Brunswick St (cnr Berwick St)
Fortitude Valley Qld 4006
Visited: Wednesday 13th December 2012 - Dinner Service
*Addendum 19th Dec 2012 - Harajuku advised some interesting information about the advertising of drink prices - '...the reason why alcohol prices are not on the web and exterior menu is because in Queensland it is against the law to have any alcoholic drink prices visible from outside a venue. This law is to stop the promotion of low drink prices that promote binge drinking though unfortunately also prevents responsible operators like ourselves from letting customers know the price of our drinks....' I was unaware of this law and it would seem that many competitors are too as I have certainly seen drink prices on websites. Thanks Harajuku for clearing that up.