Gyoza Bar, located near Leicester Square in London, is a Japanese restaurant which attempts to go by the corporate philosophy of Ningenmi, defined as “finding joy in one’s life by bringing joy to others”. This philosophy certainly holds true for the most part, with a cosy atmosphere and friendly staff. After Lussorian’s recent trip to Japan, we were very keen to see what offerings they had in this more local restaurant.
The humble menu at Gyoza Bar isn’t too daunting, so those who are new to Japanese cuisine should find it relatively easy exploring the options. Even if you’re unsure about something, the staff seemed friendly and happy to help. There are 4 main sections of the menu: gyoza, ramen noodles, side orders and desserts. There are also plenty of choices when it comes to drinks, including various Japanese sake. Our favourite was the Plum Sake, which brings a lovely sour sweetness to your meal, and compliments the saltier dishes.
We were most excited to try the gyoza, given that the bar was named after it. For those who haven’t tried it before, gyoza is a crescent-shaped dumpling filled with minced stuffing which is served across Japan. There are plenty of fillings to choose from at Gyoza Bar, but we kept it simple with the pork gyoza – this was a good choice. It was arguably better than most of the versions we tried in Japan, mixing rich flavours with garlic vinegar and umami soy. If you aren’t sure which one to try, there is also a gyoza party set which includes various fillings.
From the side orders, we tried the Chicken Katsu bun with tonkatsu sauce and Japanese mayo. This was certainly the most western-tasting dish we tried, but the soft steamed bun made for a deliciously soft texture.
The most surprising part of our visit to Gyoza Bar was the ramen they serve. The spicy minced pork ramen combines pork, soy sauce eggs, spring onions and kikurage mushrooms and was the highlight of our visit. The spiciness of the ramen dish is just right and doesn’t leave your mouth ablaze, and the minced pork mixes perfectly into the broth. The ramen is also incredibly filling, so it’s safe to say you get your money’s worth!
For dessert, we tried the crispy fried ice-cream with maple syrup, which is just as interesting as it sounds. The easiest comparison to make would be to imagine vanilla ice cream wrapped in doughnut pastry. Although this was a delightful after-dinner snack, we found a little too sickening after such a large meal. The Japanese cheesecake is potentially a safer option if you’re getting full.
Overall, we found our trip to Gyoza Bar to be a very authentic Japanese experience, with a large variety of exciting dishes. You can find out more for yourself by visiting their website, or if you happen to be passing by Leicester Square one day, then we thoroughly recommend stopping by Gyoza Bar to try it for yourself.
Disclosure: For this blog post we were able to gain access to a sample product or service.
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