Japan City, Chatswood

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.

The entrance to the food court

The entrance to the food court

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 booths

The booths

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.

Very Japanese

Very Japanese

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.

A Japanese beer for Carl

A Japanese beer for Carl

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.

Let the sun shine in

Let the sun shine in

If you need chopsticks, they have plenty!

If you need chopsticks, they have plenty!

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.

Rubbery pork belly

Rubbery pork belly

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.

Carl's chicken, noodle and fish dish - 'amazing'

Carl’s chicken, noodle and fish dish – ‘amazing’

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.

Stuffed toys for sale

Stuffed toys for sale

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.

There's a massive screen as well

There’s a massive screen as well

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

I'm not sure I need this but it sure would be good for waking up comatosed teenagers

I’m not sure I need this but it sure would be good for waking up comatosed teenagers

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  1. Oh dear another dud meal! Love your honest reviews.

  2. I guess you are much nicer than I am. I would have marched right back with that pork belly and complained that it wasn’t crispy like they advertised. 🙁

  3. Not good news …. Try relying on Carl’s instinct … that is, let him order for you.

  4. Anything that says “crispy pork belly” will always grab my attention too Charlie. And I’m damn cranky when it’s not!

  5. What a shame that your meal wasn’t up to par, I would have returned it; there is nothing as unsatisfying as eating a bland dish. Lucky Carl, he seems to pick the winner dishes, but you’re quite right, it’s quite annoying when you’re not having a similar experience. It really bugs me when a restaurant raises the price on weekends, very aggravating particularly when there is nothing different about it. We have a pub in our hood that has a great roasted vegetable quinoa salad that is $10 on weekdays and $15 on weekends! I refuse to go on weekends.

  6. Rubbery pork belly….yick! I hope Carl shared his noodles. The restaurant is lovely though and how fun that you can do a little shopping too.

    I would have gotten past the $10 purchase limit by having Carl order me two glasses of wine. 😉

    ~ April

  7. Sorry to hear about the dud meal. It’s like when my nephew and I go out and we both order the same meal. I get the larger piece of meat and the nicely baked potato while his is a bit dried out and his plate just isn’t as full. I’m happy to switch plates to ease the tension as I really don’t care.

  8. Looks like a nice place though! I am always disappointed when I go to nice restaurants and the food is just “OK” :/ Hard to find jems these days it seems like!!

  9. I hate paying for bad food but it’s an interesting concept to have a Japan City with buzzers.

  10. I hate getting caught where there is nowhere decent to eat and you waste your money. I always rely on my trusty urban spoon ap

  11. Such a shame Charlie! It’s like it was microwaved to go rubbery like that- yuck! What a pity Yum cha was so busy, always my first choice 🙂 xox

  12. Oh Charlie you do seem to get the dud meal more often than not. What a shame you couldn’t at least wash the taste away with a glass of wine!

  13. it’s really an art to be able to rubberise pork belly. Maybe they should advertise their amazing culinary feat as their signature dish and start a new food fad?! I would have bought all of those chopsticks, they’re divine!

  14. Oh Charlie, you make me laugh. When I go out to dinner with my hubby, I always get the good meal and hubby seems to get the dud. He normally hates sharing meals but when he sees how delicious my meal is, suddenly ‘sharing is caring’.
    I work in Chatswood and have probably been past this place a thousand times and never realised it was a restaurant. I always thought it was a furniture store! I’ll have to try it one day and stay clear of the pork belly 😉

  15. Aw, sorry you got a crummy meal. Is that Carl in that photo? If so, I can totally see Alfie in his face! If not, well then that stranger has a strange resemblance to your son, in my opinion, haha.

  16. G’day and HOW disappointing Charlie true!
    The party would have been fun for Alfie…so guess that is something…but stay clear of the pork belly…is an understatement too!
    Cheers! Joanne

  17. Bland, rubbery pork belly…what a disappointment, but I daresay Alfie had a ball.

  18. There are four vegetables I hate, asparagus, broad beans, brussels sprouts and capsicum if capsicum has even been near the food, I can’t eat it lol.

  19. I played laser tag once and it was one of the greatest days in my childhood.

    No wine and rubbery pork? Not one of the greatest days of your adulthood.


  20. Give me that gong. I need it to wake up a teenager also. Oh, yeah, he doesn’t live here anymore. But I think he could use it.

  21. Sometimes I’m happiest with quiet rather than other qualities. But I would agree that “rubbery” is a little hard to overlook!

  22. Sorry about the pork belly and the no-wine. A very nice review.

  23. How annoying to get a dud meal. That’s the trouble with being so discerning about food; you can’t be fooled.

  24. Hi Charlie, nice and comfortable place to dine but sorry to read about the rubbery pork belly. What a disappointment…but I love the last picture, the gong…it sure good for Monday blues too. 🙂

    Have a nice week ahead.

  25. What a shame about your meal – and it is always tough when someone else get something enjoyable and you miss out! I do like the look of this place in terms of atmosphere but one tends to want edible food as well as attractive surroundings, even if it is a shopping centre location.

  26. Aww no! Perhaps you can do a deal where you split all your meals? 🙂 Although if Carl always gets a good dish and knows it he may not want to do it 🙁

  27. The.Boy always seems to get “perfect” food also. I like to think it’s because my taste buds are more refined than his are so I’m more critical.

  28. ha You gotta love those birthday parties conveniently located to allow you some me time 🙂 You have such bad luck with meals – I still remember your raw burger lol x

  29. nothing for it, maybe next time get out the eftpos card and order TWO glasses of wine! c

  30. It is the worst when you don’t enjoy your meal as much as your companion! But now that I’ve read your post…I’m hungry and want Japanese food. Thank you for sharing…and for your sweet comments on my blog. Makes me smile!

  31. Ugh, rubbery meat and green peppers? Sounds icky to me, too. Maybe the wine would have helped 😉

  32. I have an idea — let Carl choose your next dish and see what happens. We’ll all wait with baited breath for the verdict. 🙂

  33. Well I hope at least the Sapporo beers were cold… The things we do for our kids…?!?! Take Care, BAM

  34. Seems andrew always gets the better meal when we eat out too. It’s always the case. IT must be written in the stars or something!

  35. id say no crackling and it aint crispy pork belly! i love japan city for the range of japanese goods they sell but have never been a fan of their food,

  36. This is so cool!

    There a place called Food Republik in Melbourne – same concept, but with Taiwanese food, and nowhere near as big as Japan City.

    I’m definitely staying in Chatswood the next time I’m in Sydney!

  37. Next time maybe you should try getting what Carl wants to order, and he can get what you want? Of course that will be just the time you picked the winner, and Carl the dud!

  38. I always have food envy when we go out which is why I normally insist on sharing everything! You should have snagged some of Carl’s beer to wash the taste away if nothing else.

  39. hahahahaha!!! Poor you!! If I end up being the only person scowling while everyone else is Ooing and Aahhhing their food, it would annoy me too!!! Love you for your honest reviews, lol!

  40. I have mixed feelings about whether I’d let my son (or daughter) do laser tag… I know it’s fun but I have terrible experiences from there. It’s where I had my front tooth knocked out so thanks to one idiot’s mistake I have a life-time of expensive dentist bills every 10 years or so, whenever the prosthesis decides to fall off 🙁

    The Japan City looks nice though – too bad your meal was rubbish but the fare in general sounds pretty good.

    • That doesn’t sound good at all! Dental issues can be so troublesome. My children have played laser tag quite often and I’m actually really surprised they haven’t been injured.

  41. There’s nothing worse than getting something that you could have cooked better yourself. Bit hard to send it back in a food court I guess.

  42. Your title made me curious. 🙂 Too bad the pork belly (it doesn’t look like pork belly??) didn’t come out well. I hate to order something new and food is very disappointing (and no more cash left to order another dish). I like your comment on the thing (don’t know how to call it in English) to wake up teenagers. I sometimes need it for my husband haha!!

  43. Hhahhaa I love your verdict! My parents use to go to the most random cafes simply because they were waiting for me to finish watching a movie with friends or something like that 😛 you’re still the best mum I know! xx

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