Wander up Bourke Street in Melbourne and stumble across Gyoza Douraku, if you’d fancy a trip miles away to Tokyo for the night, you’ve come to the right place.
With over 50 choices on the menu there is obviously a lot to choose from. We ordered 8 dishes to share, starting with the Wagyu tartare on a bed of cucumbers topped with a quail egg $9.50 and an old favourite of mine, the Gyu Tan no Shio Yaki (Grilled OX tongue with sea salt and sesame oil) $12.90. Grilled to perfection, I could order a few of these with steamed rice and be a happy camper all night. The wagyu tartare was deliciously soft and the sesame oil was a perfect topping.
There is an array of condiments for you to mix up your own sauces to accompany the food such as minced garlic, chili oil, sesame oil, vinegar and of course, soy sauce.
The gyoza list is extensive, the portion sizes are generous and there are choices between fried, steamed and soup dumplings. Of course, we went for all. At approximately $9 a portion (6 pieces), mind you they were very plump, I was not disappointed at all. What really stood out to me was the eggplant and duck miso served in a hot and spicy miso soup. I loved the combination of flavours and the authenticity of the gyoza brought me back to believing I was in Tokyo. The Wagyu and red onion really stood out too.
It is very easy to over-order here, which was exactly what I did. I make the mistake of ordering much more than needed when the portion sizes aren’t huge. So after all these delicious dumplings, I went ahead and ordered popcorn chicken $9.90, salmon sashimi $13.90 and a very special tea smoked egg with proscuitto pieces $3.
The popcorn chicken is very unlike other deep fried chicken i’ve ever had, usually referred to as chicken karage, this one had sweet corn in the stuffing! Quite heavy to have ordered as one of the last dishes so i’d recommend ordering this earlier on in your meal. The salmon sashimi was fatty and fresh and the smoked egg was not overly boiled so the yolk retained some the creaminess of a soft boiled egg and the meat pieces gave it a real bang in flavour.
There is a massive sake and soju list so you’ll never run dry of choices, for the non-alcoholics, the Sencha (Japanese tea) can be a delicious and authentic choice.
Having travelled in Japan and eaten at quite a number of Gyoza Bars, the staff at Gyoza Douraku have definitely hit the authenticity button. What I loved about this joint was the simple restaurant decor and the unpretentious approach to eating, simply put, it is pure and humble. The efficient service and small touches like the baskets under the table to allow for handbags and other personal items was very thoughtful, this is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of Melbourne for a very authentic Japanese experience.
+61 (03) 9650 5225
147 Bourke St. Melbourne VIC 3000