The GYOZA BAR (Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand)
If you are looking for a Japanese bar with an Izakaya feel then look no further and head over to the Gyoza Bar at Ponsonby. I had visited several Izakaya’s before and most of them happened during our family trip in Japan. Since then, I was trying to find something similar outside of Japan, there are many that advertised themselves as Izakaya but it does not have the feel of it until I found this gem in Ponsonby.
Not as small and tight like most Izakaya’s but they felt like it, match that with the interior decor and Japanese TV shows on the telly then it felt like you are warped to Tokyo. Like most bars there are many drink options on offer they even have a nice collection of Japanese whiskeys becuase this place is also a whiskey bar. For those who love their whiskeys, this place sells the trinity of Japanese whiskeys, the Yamazaki, Hibiki and Hakushu, they even serve it as sets so you can taste them all in one sitting but it does not come in cheap, for the sets they start at NZ$77.00 and ends at NZ$121.00 to try them all. If you just want to try other stuff there are many options too, Japanese or and non-Japanese whiskeys, plus beer, cocktails and wine too.
Now that you know the drinks are sorted let talk about their food, and in a typical izakaya fashion what they usually offer here are finger foods that will accompany those delicious drinks. From Gyoza (which they are also famous for), edamame, spring rolls, tofu, renkon, takoyaki and tempura they have it all. I think the only thing they miss are the yakitoris.
During this visit we tried several things to go with our drinks. Like the prawn tempura (NZ$20.00/4pcs), Pan-Fried Gyoza filled with pork and cabbage (NZ$10.00/6pcs), Takoyaki (NZ$9.50/4pc) and Jumbo Chicken Katsu (NZ$15.00).
Even though these are all finger foods they did filled our hunger up and it was all delicious, especially those gyozas which were spot on, meat inside was well seasoned, perfectly cooked with a nice crispy outer layer. The takoyaki on the other hand was good but I think this was the frozen variety you can get in the supermarket.
Then the Chicken Katsu was good as well, juicy and crispy, I just wish the Katsu sauce (not the mayo) was more. Finally, the Tempura, it’s a no brainer, this one was nicely crisp, it also tasted really clean, while it only comes with 4 prawns, there are also vegetable tempura that came with it which all were perfectly cooked.
Overall, we got a good experience here, great service, food was great and the Japanese whiskey selection was amazing. Price wise it’s a bit on the high side but with its location and the selection on offer, I guess it makes it break even.
The GYOZA BAR
Address: 171C Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland 1011, New Zealand
Phone: +649 361 1619