Bye bye Dog Dog Japon, hello Dera-Uma
Less Little Japan, this sleepy shopping centre on George Street is more Micro-Japan, fast food version. There’s zany Pepper Lunch, where the food cooks itself in ceramic bowls at your table. And then there’s the Oiden group; Menya Mappen my fav fast udon in town – they zig when everybody else zags with ramen joints, and Menya Oiden – Japanese single serve, fast rice dishes. Both are as popular as Toyotas in Asian garages.
Both are as popular as Toyotas in Asian garages
Last year Oiden launched nostalgic Dog Dog Japon, their Japanese take on an American classic – I’m sure the peeps in their marketing department thought it wouldn’t cannibalise their noodle and rice brands. They were right, though it didn’t encroach on the other brands, but that’s because it had relatively few customers. Seems like Sydney punters weren’t ready for Japanese dogs and the short-lived experiment closed on 15 February this year.
On 4 March, Dera-Uma was born; a safe cut-down version of Menya Oiden, they claim:
Dera-Uma is a Takeaway version of Oiden, so the menu is mainly the bowls of rice with exciting toppings!!
Or to be exact (click on menu to enlarge):
- Japanese curry
- Tamago Toji
- burger steak
Prices are cheerful, from $6.90 to less than $10, for larger servings add $1. While the regular bowl looks small, it’s rich and heavy – most dishes come with plenty or sauces or curry.
Sauce-pork fillet katsu (tenderloin) is a mouthful to pronounce and a lot to swallow. Noodlies, Sydney food blog could just finish the regular sized $8.90 bowl. You get lots of glistening, brown katsu for that price; thick crisp with generous fillet pieces, together with mayo, it’s a hearty meal. Mercifully somewhere in the bowl is a sour plum sauce and yellow pickles to help wash it all down.
The musi-cha on tap is a heavy concentrate, I like it a lot, though this barley iced tea may be just too strong for some.
Tamago toji is news to me. Loosely translated as eggs scrambled or mixed, it’s a popular Japanese quick food fix, where beaten eggs are then mixed into hot stock that results in a runny omelette. Here it’s mixed through the rice and in a mother-and-child reunion topped with chicken pieces. Rich, creamy it’s not as bland as it sounds the dish is sweet and has potency thanks to very lightly cooked onion and shallots. A wprd of warning, the chicken is pre-cooked and heated with each order – when busy, it’s still a little cold – probably early days teething problems.
Ok, the curry & chicken katsu might look, um, brown but it’s great value for $8.90. Again, they’re good with katsu, crispy and plenty of tender flesh. The curry is introduced by the Americans, so expect mild, Western casserole – spiciness comes only from curry powder rather than a combo of curry and chilli. It is very comforting food – especially during cold periods.
Dera-Uma is safe territory, a reaction to an under-performing Dog Dog Japon. That doesn’t mean it’s bad. It is what it is. Cheap, cheerful (same Dog Dog Japon staff, now in new uniform) and at least in the first few weeks, popular. A potential new Toyota food brand in the making?
Shop 6, 545-551 George St, Sydney
02 9261 8814