On the top level of Sydneyís Market City building, a bright neon sign of green, red, yellow and white bubble writing lights up in hope of attracting shoppers into this small Japanese restaurant. Just underneath the neon sign stands tall banners with a sample of pictures to show what type of food can be expected if you choose to take a seat and dine in at Poporo Takeru.
The restaurant has a very relaxing and casual atmosphere, with comfortable lounges on either side of each of the white group tables spread along the middle of the restaurant. Individual drum-like stools with round cushions are placed at the counters on the left side, where all the food and cooking action takes place. At each table, packets of chopsticks, serviettes and a good amount of silver cutlery are already placed inside small baskets for your own convenience.
Selection of Poporo Takeru's dishes. Many choices for lunch.
Although the decorations inside may not resemble a traditional Japanese restaurant, the modern interior complements the modern twists and fast-paced environment of Poporo Takeru. The restaurant is well-known for their $3 entrees and half-sized dishes, encouraging customers to sample a range of the different main meals they have on offer at smaller sizes. Itís the perfect size for a small snack, or even as a meal for little children.
As you take a seat at your chosen table, youíre handed a laminated menu filled with colourful pictures to put an image to the names of unfamiliar Japanese dishes youíll come across. Ramen, rice dishes, miso soup and flavours of teriyaki and soy are definitely present here at Poporo Takeru. Furthermore, the modern twist of using Japanese flavours and ingredients are found in their vast array of salad, pizza, pasta and curry dishes; such as the Mentaiko Hotate Pizza, which comprises of a pizza made with spicy cod roe and scallops.
Teriyaki Chicken Don - Half-Size with rice.
If youíre after something with familiar flavours yet still want room in your stomach to try a few other dishes, be sure to order a half-size dish. The Half-Size Teriyaki Chicken Don ($5.70) has that delicious, sweet teriyaki flavour tossed in slices of filleted chicken. In the small bowl comes a good serving of rice and mixed lettuce leaves, with a finishing touch of freshly chopped spring onion and sesame seeds.
Beef Don, Half-Size. Japanese style beef on rice.
Similarly, the Half-Size Beef Don ($7.70) contains thick slices of Japanese style beef on a serving of rice. The beef is cooked well, with a lovely pink, medium-cooked colour inside making the beef quite tender and juicy. The dish is also topped off with a good serving of mixed lettuce leaves, spring onion and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
Wafu Beef Box - containing rice, salad, croquette, deep-fried prawn and a few extra little things. Poporo Takeru's number one lunch box.
Bento Boxes are another popular item on Poporo Takeruís menu. If youíre lucky enough to drop in between half past eleven and five in the afternoon, you can score yourself a Lunch Box for just $12.90. The Wafu Beef is Poporo Takeruís number one lunch box, with each component of the dish separated into its own little section. The tender beef is flavoured with a soy-based dressing, which is exactly what Wafu is Ė a Japanese style dressing usually consisting of a mixture of soy sauce, rice, vinegar and vegetable oil. Inside the box youíll also find a serving of salad and rice, as well as a piece of a crumbed, deep-fried croquette and prawn.
Tonkatsu Doria - crumbly pork cutlet topped with cheese on a bed of tomato rice.
For an exciting dish - for one that is hot and sizzling; get your taste buds to try the Tonkatsu Doria ($13.60). This particular dish presents the more modern style of Poporo Takeruís dishes, with vibrant tomato rice underneath slices of crumbed pork cutlet - topped off with a generous amount of melted cheese and served in a hot stone bowl. The Doria is very filling, enough to share between two people if youíre feeling generous. Itís also the ideal dish on a cold day as the warmth of the stone bowl keeps the dish quite hot, so you never have to worry about your food getting cold too quickly.
Whether youíre a University student on a tight budget, or a passer-by looking for a place to eat with reasonable prices and a decent serving size - Poporo Takeru is your ideal stop. Although youíll enjoy discovering a mix of traditional Japanese dishes and western dishes, the best part about not being able to make up your mind is that the half-size dishes are bound to give you the best of both.
Banners and pictures everywhere. These will surely grab your attention.
Where: Poporo Takeru Japanese Restaurant, Shop R3 02A, Level 3, Market City.
Why: Reasonable prices and large servings are always a great reason. The half-size dishes are also a unique concept. Perfect if you're not very hungry, or want to try many things at once.
Cost: Entrees - $3. Mains range between $7-$15. Half-size dishes range between $5-8.
When: Lunch time (11:30am-5pm) if you're after the Lunch Box deal.
Good for kids: Yes - highly recommend a half-size for the kids.
Take away: If you get a half-size, you won't need it.
Today was the first time I have visited Poporo. The Renkon chips were yum. I ordered the spicy pizza on a stick as a main. The Maccha sundae was amazing. All 3 just over $10! Low in price but not cheap in quality. See you again soon. Regards, Joanne Lewis, Sydney