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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Daruma Japanese Restaurant, Haymarket Chinatown

Teriyaki chicken udon set $9.50

I have to admit it. Japanese food is my weakness. Steaming bowls of ramen, quivering fresh sashimi, the sticky sweetness of sushi rice and fat chewy strands of udon. Japanese cuisine is all about simplicity and satisfaction, presented with the visual beauty of an inspired artist.

Age gyoza $4.50

Daruma Japanese Restaurant in the Prince Centre is busy with students and office workers on a weekday lunch. A sign in the window promises a "new menu coming soon!" but today we are offered a laminated menu, a single-sided colour page with photos.

We start with age gyoza, deep-fried dumplings filled with pork mince and vegetable. The extra crisp pastry is noticeably thin and crisp -- more like a spring roll wrapper than the usual dumpling skin.

Seafood tempura $4.50

Seafood tempura arrives in a woven bamboo basket that is plonked directly onto a table, rather than arriving a tray. We find prawn, fish, eggplant, pumpkin and zucchini and though the batter is a little heavy and oily, the serve is generous for the price.

Calpis $3.30

I wash it down with Calpis, the milky drink that tastes like a watered down version of Yakult. Its slight acidity is perfect for cleansing the palate. I can never resist this revered Japanese drink on the menu.

Salmon variety box $14.80

The Extra has gone for the teriyaki chicken udon, a huge bowl of swollen udon noodles nestled beneath teriyaki chicken pieces. To the side is a serve of inari sushi, rice tucked inside a deep-fried aburage tofu pocket.

I'm craving sushi and order the salmon variety box, a series of square compartments offering salmon sashimi, salmon nigiri and salmon sushi rolls.

A hexagonal bowl holds agedashi tofu, a deep-fried block of tofu coated in a gelatinous skin that is sweet with dashi. A huddle of salad provides enough greenery to surely counteract the deep-fried entrees.

Japanese food is my weakness. What's yours?

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Daruma on Urbanspoon

Daruma Japanese Restaurant
Level 1, Prince Centre
8 Quay Street, Haymarket
Tel: +61 (02) 9281 2889

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 10.30am-9pm
Saturday and Sunday 12pm-9pm
18 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 12/16/2010 05:18:00 am


  • At 12/16/2010 8:55 am, Anonymous KFC So Good said…

    My weakness would have to be the namesake fried chicken! any kind would do as long as the coating is crunchy and the chicken is juicy.

    If it is spicy, all the more better.

  • At 12/16/2010 9:10 am, Anonymous dario (foodpixels ) said…

    Great discovery, I'm often in the city around lunch time and didn't know about this place; I'm gonna try it out, because …. japanese is my weakness too!!

  • At 12/16/2010 9:49 am, Anonymous john@heneedsfood said…

    You gotta love those student prices. I've been meaning to try this place for a while now. Love the sound of that drink

  • At 12/16/2010 10:28 am, Blogger KayB said…

    Dumplings. I go weak at the knees for pork and chive boiled dumplings. I am also one of those office workers who is always lunching at Daruma!

  • At 12/16/2010 10:32 am, Blogger Mel said…

    my absolute weakness is for japanese food as well. love the sashimi box you have there!

  • At 12/16/2010 10:58 am, Blogger Jen said…

    Japanese food is one of my weaknesses too. The other is ice-cream. Love finishing a Japanese meal with green tea ice-cream.

  • At 12/16/2010 11:06 am, Anonymous billy @ a table for two said…

    love goyza, but interesting to see with spring roll skin. Hmm.. now i am craving for mappen.

  • At 12/16/2010 3:41 pm, Blogger Karen | Citrus and Candy said…

    Oh man, shouldn't have read this cos now I'm craving udon, tempura and gyoza! Will have to try this asap, along with Mappen. Need a good udon fix now!

  • At 12/16/2010 4:54 pm, Anonymous Bill said…

    your blog is great. a real knack for food reviews and you often uncover little gems like this place. bon appetit!

  • At 12/16/2010 6:08 pm, Blogger Mel said…

    Japanese food is my weakness...sushi in particular. Oh, and Lebanese food. Oh, and Greek food! Oh, and Peanut Butter Ice Cream.

  • At 12/16/2010 9:25 pm, Anonymous Sara @ Belly Rumbles said…

    I can't pass Japanese food up, I adore it. Like the look of that salmon bento.

  • At 12/16/2010 10:12 pm, Blogger Anna (Morsels and Musings) said…

    oooh, now i have a hankering for a nice bowl of udon and a glass of calpis (most underrated soft drink ever!)

  • At 12/17/2010 6:45 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    the Hainanese chicken rice was excellent at Malacca Straits although I found the hospitality lacked lustre. The 'boss lady' must have eaten an extra dose of 'sour plums' as her attitude put me off from returning!!

  • At 12/17/2010 12:41 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Amen to the deep, deep love for Japanese food! That bento looks gloriously fresh and diverse :) My other weakness would have to be anything involving peanut butter... does that count?

  • At 12/18/2010 10:44 am, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    Ahhh, I haven't been here for a while. A frequent haunt of mine when the budget used to be a bit tighter, but when quality was also required.

  • At 12/19/2010 5:08 pm, Blogger Restaurants in Sydney said…

    I'm so glad I came across this post. It shall be one of my satisfying frugal escapades! Must pay a visit :) I can never get enough of Japanese.

  • At 12/22/2010 12:03 pm, Blogger susan said…

    Japanese food is definitely my weakness. One of the things I really miss about Sydney.

  • At 2/25/2016 3:14 pm, Blogger Chelsey said…

    The cold soba noodles at Daruma are great!


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