Oko Oko (Carlton)
644A Swanston Street, Carlton
03 9349 1770
Asian, Fusion, Japanese
- Pork Gyoza
- Okonomiyaki – Beef & Kimchi
- Curry Katsu Don – Chicken
- Chicken Bun
- Tori Karaage
We started off with some Pork Gyoza and were suitably impressed. Pan-fried to a nice crisp, the outer skin was thin and delicate, with a slight charring providing plenty of flavour. Within, the meat was juicy and flavoursome, well-spiced and rather tender. Off to a great start!
The highlight of our meal was of course the Okonomiyaki. Specifically created with a healthier mindset, this veggie pancake utilises a much greater proportion shredded vegetables, including cabbage and carrots, than its original Japanese counterpart. This ensured that the pancake provided plenty of crunch and texture, and had a lighter yet more satisfying experience. Sitting on top of the golden pancake was a generous mountain of beef bulgogi, tender and full of flavour thanks to the beautiful bulgogi sauce. Well complemented by a spicy and tangy kimchi sitting on top, this chilli goodness left a slight tingle in your mouth without being overpowering. It’s no wonder this was one of the most popular dishes of this eatery!
We also enjoyed the Curry Katsu Don. The batter was fried to a perfect golden brown, with just the right flakiness and crunch for a Japanese Katsu. Within, the chicken was incredibly succulent and tender, which was well complemented by a well-spiced, thick curry sauce that was incredibly fragrant and almost rich. Coupled with some lightly fried potatoes and carrots, as well as a generous bed of aromatic Jasmine rice, this is the perfect example of how a curry katsu should be served up.
The Chicken Bun didn’t disappoint either. The buns were lightly toasted to provide a satisfying crunch with each bite. Wrapped within them, we found the grilled chicken rather tender and appetising, perhaps made even better by the sweet glazing of the teriyaki sauce. The perfect combination of sweet and savoury, coupled with the fragrant coriander, made this a tasty treat indeed.
The Tori Karaage didn’t quite impress on this occasion. We felt that the chicken could’ve done with a tad more batter and fried to a greater crisp. Granted, the chicken itself was well spiced and tasty, just that the batter fell short on expectations.
With a new owner overseeing every tiny detail, as well as a hotel-class head chef at the helm, Oko Oko has definitely turned a new leaf and made the humble, daily Japanese dining experience tasty yet incredibly affordable.
Their healthy, creative take on the traditional Okonomiyaki is definitely a welcome change, and it was definitely more enjoyable, if not even tastier, than it’s original counterpart!
Would Penguin Eat Again?
You can count on it. This was definitely one of the best Okonomiyaki we’ve had in Australia and while the food here isn’t strictly traditional Japanese, we won’t hesitate to be back for more.
Penguineats would like to thank Oko Oko for inviting us.