147 Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Hey all, it’s Chris here again, taking the reins for a blog post while Ming prepares for registration exams and is generally incredibly busy. Enjoy!
I’ve always known Melbourne’s CBD is wonderfully packed with great places to eat, but I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated this fact more than the night Ming and I tried Gyoza Douraku – our original plan was to go to Gangnam Pocha, only to find that they had closed down. Not fazed for even a second, Ming instead whisked us a mere 2 doors down the street to Gyoza Douraku.
Gyoza Douraku is a quaint little Japanese restaurant along Bourke St. You’d be hard-pressed to fit a large group of people through the cramped entrance, but thankfully the space opens up toward the back, showing off a cosy wooden interior.
Here you’ll find a tapas-style menu, with a wide variety of smaller dishes all available for the price of $6.50. Like any good tapas restaurant, they also have an extensive drinks list – including wines, sakes, $14 shochu cocktails and all sorts of other Japanese beverages
|Tori no Karaage ($6.5)|
We ordered a varied selection of their small tapas-style dishes, starting with their Tori No Karaage ($6.5). I’m not sure what makes this different from their popcorn chicken, but I couldn’t care less upon biting into one of these hot and crispy morsels. The juicy chicken was offset with a satisfying crunch from the batter, as well as the creamy mayo alongside it.
|Salmon Sashimi ($6.5, 4pcs)|
Contrasting with the rich fried chicken, the Salmon Sashimi ($6.5, 4pcs) that arrived next had an impressively fresh taste to it. These slices of salmon had a great firm texture to bite which gave to a softer, richer meat on the tongue.
|Agedashi Tofu ($6.5)|
Next up was our Agedashi Tofu ($6.5), which was plump and flavoursome in its sweet broth. Rather than some tofus which are a bit dry (and bland) or over-sauced (and soggy), this hit the sweet spot between the two.
Having taken a little longer to cook, our gyoza arrived as we were reaching the tail end of our other dishes. Provided alongside your gyoza is a DIY sauce kit, complete with Japanese Grain Vinegar, Soy Sauce, Chili Oil, Sesame Oil, Roasted Sesame Seeds, and Fresh Crushed Garlic. Unless you prefer your dumplings plain like me, chances are you’ll find something to suit you here. (It’d also be nice if the kit didn’t take up so much table space, but I doubt much can be done about that)
|Pan-Fried Pork and Garlic Gyoza ($3.5, 6pcs)|
The first gyoza we tried were the Pan-Fried Pork and Garlic Gyoza ($3.5, 6pcs). These tasted less of pork and more strongly of garlic than I expected, but they were nice and juicy whilst still holding together remarkably well.
|Steamed Chef's Special ($6.5, 6pcs)|
We also tried the steamed Chef’s Special Gyoza ($6.5, 6pcs), which were a much more balanced affair. The pork, prawn and vegetable blended in together until they were almost indistinguishable, and were rather mild when compared to the pork and garlic gyoza we had just had. However, that didn’t keep the familiar taste from being enjoyable.
Gyoza Douraku is a gem - their food set nary a foot wrong for us, and for a tapas-style menu the portions are nicely sized and very reasonably priced. We may not have tried the drinks, but we were certainly very tempted by the colourful concoctions being delivered to nearby tables. If that alongside a range of tasty $6.50 dishes appeals to you, be sure to check it out.
This rating reflects my (Chris’) personal experience at the time of visit.