|Harajuku Gyoza logo, Bayswater Road, Kings Cross|
While more a cutesy, recognisable name than anything representative of the Harajuku area in Tokyo, the Sydney outpost of Harajuku Gyoza has a fittingly fun fitout that’s all wooden furniture and colourful plates and service that hint at the sometimes crazy Japanese pop culture.
|Sake being served|
There's also Kirin beer on tap, beers by the bottle (including the pricey but one of my favourites – Hitachino Nest White Ale), Kirin's new Fuji apple cider and a few select wines.
|Cucumber and miso salad|
We started, healthily, with a small salad of peeled, raw cucumber dressed liberally in a sweet, strong yellow miso soybean paste, sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Made daily and then frozen to avoid sogginess, the meat and vegetable fillings wrapped in dough were either dropped into a boiling pot or lined up into a custom gyoza grill press with a fair bit of oil for crisp bottoms.
|Grilled lobster tail gyoza|
|Poached duck gyoza|
The duck gyoza were ideal poached, with a slight gaminess to the filling differentiating it from usual styles and quite tasty with the condiments.
|Grilled pork gyoza|
As odd as it may sound, I found Harajuku Gyoza's pork variety too meaty, with insufficient cabbage and other seasonings – minced pork overload, if you will. The dough wrappers though, I adored and could eat on their crisp lonesome.
|Pork belly kakuni|
It was heavy eating, even with steamed rice on the side, while an acidic condiment, mustard even, would have helped cut through the fattiness.
|Harajuku Gyoza exterior|
They make no apologies for being an eat-and-run venue, and I can see a fair few spontaneous meals and dumpling cravings getting sorted at Harajuku Gyoza, despite there being better dumplings around town.
"It must be perfect or we get your sad face. We want your happy face," says the menu. It's gyoza and it's pretty darn adorable – you get the happy face.
Food, booze and shoes dined as a guest of Harajuku Gyoza.