Over the weekend, Alfie was invited to a birthday party playing laser tag at a venue in Chatswood. As the party was only a couple of hours long, it didn’t make sense for us to drive all the way there then all the way home to then pretty much have to turn around and drive back again, so we decided to relax and enjoy lunch somewhere near the venue.
Our first choice was a very good yum cha restaurant in the Westfield Shopping Centre however, it was a bit too popular with a 45-minute wait for a table so we kept moving. In a corner of the same shopping centre we found the Japan City Food Court where you can order from a number of different establishments, enjoy your meal with a Japanese beer or tea and then go shopping for all things Japanese.
The first issue was trying to decide what to order. There was a teppanyaki stall, a sushi stall, a noodle stall and a few others besides. I saw a poster beside a stall advertising ‘crispy pork belly’ and that got my attention so I ordered it. It comes on a sizzling plate of stir-fried vegetables with the pork belly on top and with a side dish of rice. During the week this dish is currently on special for $13.00 but because it was the weekend I had to pay $18.90. You’re given a buzzer so you can then find a table to sit at.
Carl ordered an udon noodle chicken dish with flaked dried fish on top which cost less than my pork belly and he ordered a Sapporo beer to go with it.
You can order wine and so Carl got up to buy me a glass of chardonnay for $7.50. The only problem is that we had run out of cash – only had $6.00 in my wallet and you have to spend $10.00 minimum in order to pay by EFTPOS. So I couldn’t have a glass of wine and instead had to make do with a bottle of water – not quite the same.
There were some very authentic looking booths to sit at but they were a bit dark and at the far end of the centre there were tables with bench seating basking in the sunshine so we sat there. It wasn’t long before buzzers buzzed and I went up to get my dish. It was sizzling nicely which is always a lovely effect but I wasn’t happy with how the crispy pork belly looked. It looked grey rather than golden and I couldn’t see anything crispy. There was also a lot of capsicum in those stir fried vegetables. In fact, it was mostly green capsicum and that’s my least favourite stir-fry vegetable.
I sat down on the bench and gave it a try. Rubbery! And there was little flavour. By sharp contrast Carl was just loving his fishy chicken noodles saying words like ‘wonderful’ and ‘delicious’ and ‘amazing’ which is completely annoying when you’re not sharing the same experience.
He got a little tired of my scowling face and asked, ‘What’s the problem?’
‘I just think if you’re going to put up posters saying, ‘crispy pork belly’, you’d better bloody well deliver it’.
‘It can’t be that bad’.
‘Try it’. And so Carl cut off some of my pork and tried it and he had one word to describe it.
‘I told you’.
‘Why do you always get the dud meal? Mine’s perfect’.
Carl’s food is always perfect.
On the upside, this is a very peaceful place to be if you find shopping centres noisy, busy and crowded. Japan City is like a sanctuary and a lovely place to relax, dine or do some shopping.
Verdict: Worth a visit if you have your son playing laser tag for the next couple of hours.
Japan City, Chatswood: Level: 6, Store: 605, Westfield Shopping Centre
Phone: (02) 9468 6000
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