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Friday, December 03, 2010

Roll Plus, Haymarket Chinatown Sydney

I can always eat.

Is it Asian genetics that enables, nay, insists my gullet to seek out substantial meals three times a day? Forget the flimsy sandwich for lunch, or insipid salad for dinner. When I pay for a meal, I want carbs! And protein! And vegetables! And carbs!

Gyoza $7

The Extra and I find ourselves at Roll Plus for lunch, a small Japanese eatery tucked in along the northern end of Dixon Street. It's a glorious day drenched with sunshine, but we find the pedestrian stretch of road cool with shadows, the buildings overhead creating a wind tunnel that leaves us shivering.

A serving of gyoza is just the right kind of deep-fried salvation we need. Five golden crescents huddle on a bed of shredded cabbage. The pastry skins are blistered to an audible crunch, the airy pocket filled with a mixture of pork mince and tender cabbage.

Dish of the day - beef gyudon set $15

The comprehensive menu includes a range of sushi, sashimi, curry, rice sets and bento boxes. I like the display of whimsy evident in sushi roll sections, with names like Mr Tuna & Mrs Avocado (cooked tuna and avocado roll), Shy Prawn (prawn tempura roll), Dragon Dance (eel roll), Blue Mountain Here! (salmon and avocado roll) and Crunch? Crunch! (chicken katsu and cereal roll).

The Extra orders the Dish of the Day, the beef gyudon set that is an overcrowded tray laid out with miso soup, rice, salad, chips and a hotpot of gyudon.

Beef gyudon

The chips are an odd inclusion, particularly as they're cold and a little mealy, but the beef gyudon is a winner, a hearty serve of sweet braised beef on onions, capsicum and peas.

We're both impressed by the size of this meal until my lunch arrives.

Deluxe bento $21

The deluxe bento is so generous in size it looks like it should be a meal for two. The compartmentalised lunch box holds eight nigiri sushi, nine slices of sashimi, five tempura pieces, salad and teriyaki chicken. Jostling for space on my side the table are bowls of tempura dipping sauce, soy, rice and a serve of miso soup.

Nigiri sushi

On the one hand I am clapping my hands with gluttonous glee. On the other, I feel like I've unwittingly entered a competitive eating challenge.


The sashimi and sushi are bright, firm and fresh, the slices of tuna satiny soft on the tongue.


Teriyaki chicken is predictably a little on the sweet side, but the tempura is particularly impressive, encrusted with a light batter that is all crunch and minimal oil. Eggplant and pumpkin are worth rejoicing over, and I'm surprised to find two pieces of prawn tempura, as well as a curl of just-cooked tender squid.

I have to mention the music too - a lilting soundtrack of Abba on panpipes. Yes, I can hear the drums Fernando.

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Roll Plus on Urbanspoon

Roll Plus

39/1 Dixon Street, Haymarket Chinatown Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9264 5955

Opening hours:
Open 7 days 11am-2am

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14 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 12/03/2010 04:39:00 am


  • At 12/03/2010 8:15 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    Carbs - hell yeah!

    Though I don't mind a rare roast beef sourdough sando sometimes, with caramelised onion, rocket, mustard, melty cheese... :)

  • At 12/03/2010 9:21 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    there was something in the air that nightttt the stars were bright fernandoooooo

  • At 12/03/2010 9:23 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    crikey i'm so there, looks excellent

  • At 12/03/2010 10:05 am, Blogger OohLookBel said…

    Yes, it's the need for carbs, and also the search for value for money! Your bento looks delicious.

  • At 12/03/2010 11:24 am, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    Abba + panpipes = kitsch exponentialised!

    Lucky there's the food to concentrate on =p

  • At 12/03/2010 1:38 pm, Anonymous Sara @ Belly Rumbles said…

    Hehe cute sushi roll names. That is one big bento!

  • At 12/03/2010 7:30 pm, Anonymous Dolly said…

    Beef gyudon

    looks delicious i love beef and onion yum

  • At 12/04/2010 4:52 am, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    I've walked past this place so many times!

  • At 12/04/2010 4:28 pm, Blogger Viv said…

    a meal is never complete without carbs :)
    whoa deluxe bento indeed! think ive seen this place before but never thought to go in!

  • At 12/04/2010 11:45 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    fantastic! I'm so glad someone else likes Roll Plus. I discovered it with friends a few years ago while volunteering at the SEC.

    Though, I have been severely disappointed on a couple occasions - stodgy tempura etc.

    The Tempura Udon is my fav dish here.

    And LOL at the Abba on panpipes. They've had the same soundtrack for three years now.

  • At 12/05/2010 11:34 am, Anonymous john@heneedsfood said…

    If not for the giant bento box, I'm coming for the ABBA muzac! If Dancing Queen came on I'd break out into a twirl!

  • At 12/05/2010 9:45 pm, Blogger Gummi Baby said…

    once again you've made the food so tantalizing that I have to try this place, I just hope that it won't be packed out now that you've blogged it!

  • At 12/06/2010 10:30 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Tina - Oh yes, but that doesn't count as a flimsy sandwich. lol

    Hi loveramen - Ooh that does disappointing! I can't believe they've had the same soundtrack for so long!

    Hi John - You can dance... you can dance... having the time of your life...

    Hi Gummi Baby - lol. Would love to hear what you think.

  • At 12/07/2010 11:38 am, Blogger susan said…

    yeah i don't know how some people can have meals that aren't substantial. If I am having a meal, I am having a meal! That bento box looks magnificent!


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