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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Poporo, Haymarket

Touch screen menu ordering

I feel like I'm back in high school. Or, more accurately, I feel like I'm hanging out after high school.

The cheerful red and white colour scheme has something to do with this burst of youthful exuberance. Shiny plastic stools--with a very generous seat--cluster around a table at the front and line the kitchen counter. But most of the dining area is situtated on a raised platform, deep padded bucket seats that swivel on tables of two and four.


As I swivel back and forth in my oversized seat, legs dangling, it's hard not to feel like I've just endured a day of maths, modern history and chemistry. Needless to say, the clientele are all young uni students, and we're probably the oldest customers in the cafe!

Ordering is done by using one of three touch screen menus at the front. Once your selections have been made, a staff member verbally double-checks your order and then totals your bill. It doesn't save a whole lot of time, but there's a satisfying element of novelty.

Green tea latte $5.90 and
Calpico pineapple soda $4.90

The cocktail umbrella in my green tea latte is enough to make me smile. A thick flourish of vanilla soft serve ice cream is dusted generously with matcha powder. The bottom layer is dark green and pleasingly strong with the nutty bitterness of matcha green tea. There's so much ice cream, this drink could almost qualify as a meal.

Mrs Pig Flyin's Calpico pineapple soda is far more modest, a refreshing mix of pineapple, ice and Calpis.

Chicken karaage $7.90
Fried chicken and garden tossed salad
with olive soy dressing

There's something so right about a fried chicken salad. A bed of rocket and lettuce leaves, cucumber and tomato is doused lightly with a sweet vinegar dressing, but it's the jumble of crunchy fried chicken pieces that hold our attention. The chicken is moist and tender with a nubbly coating of seasoned batter. A dollop of mayonnaise is quickly obliterated.

Squid ink spaghetti $10.90
Fried calamari in a creamy tomato-based squid ink sauce

I'd been most excited at the prospect of ordering the squid ink spaghetti and its arrival at the table is filled with promise. Despite the deep black colour, however, I find the spaghetti tastes more of tomato sauce than squid ink. It's almost a trick on the mind as your eyes see squid ink but your mouth tastes tomato and butter. The calamari rings are tender.

Pepper beef steak set $14.90
with garlic butter soy sauce

The pepper beef steak set arrives on a tray, a sliced slab of beef sizzling on bean sprouts and accompanied by salad, soup and a bowl of plain rice. The meat is tender and flavoured mostly by the garlic butter soy sauce.

Stewed beef tongue $13.90
Slow-cooked beef tongue with mushroom in a demiglace sauce

My favourite dish of the day is the stewed beef tongue. Cubes of slow-cooked beef tongue almost melt-in-the-mouth with softness. A dome of tomato rice is half-covered by a blanket of velvety omelette. This is my kind of comfort food.

Apart from the extensive drinks menu, we're impressed by the range of offerings on the desserts list. It's a happy land of Japanese-style desserts: strawberry and custard pudding parfait ($9.90), green tea parfait ($9.90), strawberry and cream cheese mille-feuille ($6.50), milk pudding with strawberry ice cream ($5.50) or soft serve green tea ice cream in a cone ($4.20).

I really want the tomato chiffon cake ($6.50) but there's no room (or time) during this lunch break. I'm ordering it next time. For sure.

View Larger Map
Poporo on Urbanspoon

Poporo Japanese Modern Cafe Restaurant
Market City
Shop 301, Level 3 (top floor)
9-13 Hay St, Haymarket Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9211 2777

Opening hours
Sunday to Wednesday 11.30am-9.00pm
Thursday to Saturday 11.30am-9.30pm
13 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 11/24/2009 01:10:00 am


  • At 11/24/2009 7:29 am, Blogger joey@FoodiePop said…

    I have been past this place many times but I always eschew it for the foodcourt. :-) It looks pretty good though! The squid ink pasta looks kind of interesting, and the pepper beef is always a yummo dish. Another one to try .... one day. :-)

  • At 11/24/2009 10:45 am, Blogger mademoiselle délicieuse said…

    The last time I ate here was probably a year ago now...but all I remember is being completely engulfed by the swivel chair!

  • At 11/24/2009 10:59 am, Blogger Margaret Tran said…

    Oh wow!! Why did I not know about this place existing!! That karage looks awesome, and yay to bright chairs - it's like primary school all over again =)

  • At 11/24/2009 11:41 am, Blogger Yas @ hungry.digital.elf. said…

    Ohh familiar touch-screen LOL (in fact, same people developed it!)
    I actually never been to this place! I shall make my way there soooooon

  • At 11/24/2009 11:51 am, Anonymous MissDissent said…

    The food doesn't grab me but your green tea latte looks amazing!

  • At 11/24/2009 12:11 pm, Anonymous YW@BrunchLunchMunch said…

    Squid ink spaghetti and stewed beef tongue sound very interesting!! Haven't tried stewed beef tongue before. Those that I had were usually grilled. Definitely will visit this place the next time I go to China Town.

  • At 11/24/2009 12:17 pm, Anonymous Jacq said…

    Yum I love the karaage there! I didn't notice the beef tongue stew when I went but it looks so hearty and comforting. Must get the green tea latte as well next time :)

  • At 11/24/2009 12:47 pm, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    Gotta love the novelty of a touch screen :) The beef tongue looks good but I definitely have my eyes on the green tea latte, the colour is amazing!

  • At 11/24/2009 1:00 pm, Anonymous Anita said…

    The chicken looks perfect!! I'm also intrigued with the beef tongue...

  • At 11/24/2009 3:00 pm, Anonymous debbii said…

    Oh crap, oh crap... that green tea latte looks so freaking gooooooooooood. I feel like licking my computer monitor right now!

    I've always noticed Poporo but never ventured inside... now I can't waittttttt! =D

  • At 11/24/2009 8:24 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This is a favourite between me and my friends, we go ALL the time. I highly recommend the teriyaki beef burger and the salmon carpaccio salad with balsamic vinegar. That's my usual order :)

  • At 11/25/2009 2:00 am, Blogger chareli said…

    thanks to you i had the huge urge to go there today and i did! great dinner eventhough they were closing!!! =D the beef tongue was amazing and i can't wait to go back again! heehee

  • At 11/25/2009 2:06 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Joey - I'd walked past Poporo plenty of times too and always thought "next time". Next time finally arrived! lol

    Hi Mademoiselle Delicieuse - The swivel chairs are great aren't they? I think that's why I felt like such a kid in them. It's been a while since I've felt so small in a chair!

    Hi Margaret - It's a fun place to visit. The karaage was delicious - but then fried chicken usually is!

    Hi Yas - I don't think the touchscreen saves you much time but at least there's a picture of every menu item. And ok, using the touchscreen is kinda fun too! lol.

    Hi Miss Dissent - The green tea latte was great, and I'm still rather curious about the tomato chiffon cake!

    Hi YW - The stewed tongue was great - very tender. It's a cool place to hang out - perfect for high school kids which is probably who they're aimed at. lol.

    Hi Jacq - I'm a sucker for a good green tea latte and the flavour was impressive. The beef tongue was my favourite dish of the day.

    Hi Stephcookie - Touch screens are still so much fun aren't they. Goes to show we're all still a kid at heart. Didn't realise the green tea latte would be so popular - glad I'm not the only one who is obsessed with matcha!

    Hi Anita - The chicken was lovely and I was quite impressed by the beef tongue. Had lots of flavour and so soft as wel.

    Hi Debbii - Ha, mind the static! I've walked past Poporo plenty of times too. Funny to see that it's the green tea latte that is spurring so many people on!

    Hi Anon - I'm not surprised to hear this place has its regulars. There's a cool relaxed vibe to the place. Thanks for the tips on your favourite orders - there's so much on the menu choosing our orders on the day was quite a task!


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