Tuesday, 2 July 2013

osaka-style okonomiyaki at ura, fitzroy

Okonomiyaki at URA, oh yeah!

I was excited. Very excited. A Japanese pop-up pancake shop, serving homemade okonomiyaki, Osaka-style. It's happening.

I first heard of this venture by URA (28 Johnston St, Fitzroy) through word of mouth, via Simon's housemate, who has some kind of vague acquaintance with Matsu, the owner.

URA is a shop that offers Japanese clothing, toys and other treasures hand-picked from flea markets in Osaka and Kyoto. This pancake thing isn't part of the business - it's an occasional, casual affair, and it feels a bit like you're over at your friend's place on the weekend, while they make pancakes for you.

The okonomiyaki menu at URA, Fitzroy.

It's all very simple. You can get a basic vegetarian okonomiyaki with cabbage, spring onion, okra, and deep fried beancurd. If you want to jazz it up, you can request additional items such as rice cake or cheese.

So. Much. Excitement.

Simon and his housemates ordered the basic okonomiyaki, but I was feeling indulgent, and asked for cheese with mine, because, well, why the hell not?

Tucking into the okonomiyaki.

I'll tell you this. Matsu's okonomiyaki is quite substantial and unabashedly excellent. I am yet to visit Japan, let alone Osaka, so I cannot vouch for its authenticity, but it certainly tastes like it should be the real thing - this stuff is delicious. So much better than the typical ones you get from the dime-a-dozen takeaway shops dotted all over Melbourne. It's made to order, with incredibly fresh, chunky ingredients, cooked till it's just right and served immediately, piping hot.

If this is what Osaka-style okonomiyaki is like, GIVE ME MORE.

While the affable Matsu doesn't put a price on his okonomiyaki, there is a donation jar, so be generous and show your appreciation for his hospitality, and those scrumptious hunks of savoury Japanese pancake goodness. He will surely be delighted if you take the time to browse the store, too - there are some cute, charming, strange and quirky odds and ends worth exploring - we took home some toys (you can see one of the figurines in the first picture up there).

URA's pop-up pancake shop seems to be a semi-regular monthly occurrence. The next one is this very Sunday, 7th of July! Go between 11am to 4pm. If you want to be in the loop, follow URA on Facebook so you don't miss out (last I checked, it seems that he has even started making his own okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise!). Additionally, there isn't much space, and I have no idea how many pancakes Matsu can churn out a day, so depending on how busy it is, you may or may not get lucky. But you can always try, and you probably should.

20 comments:

  1. I can connect very well to Japanese food. We do dine in Japanese restaurants, not also, maybe once a month.

    That first dish is very inviting and I can see how the Japanese flavors were infused into it. Very inviting and making me hungry.

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  2. Love this idea and donations for his okonomiyaki?! That's very generous and I'd hope people don't abuse it. Heading to Japan this month but hope it's still up and running when I come back, would love to check out the food and goodies!

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    1. Ooh lucky you, going to Japan! I think the pop-up happens about once a month, I'm sure it'll still be happening when you come back, and you can tell me how it compares! I hope he's getting covered well for the trouble, too - we basically thought about how much we would pay for something like this in a cute little cafe in Melbourne, and donated accordingly.

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  3. What a great idea! I haven't had okonomiyaki often enough to know what's good, but I do like it.

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    1. I've had some sub-par ones so this was like a breath of fresh air. A winning point is how generous he is with the vegetables, and how fresh they tasted.

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  4. Oh wow! I want this pop-up to appear in New Zealand...specifically my city...specifically ASAP :)

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    1. Of course, I mean, specifically, everything about it is delicious. ;)

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  5. Do you know if they use any flour in these pancakes? I would LOVE to try but I'm gluten intolerant!

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    1. Unfortunately, I would say that it involves flour as that is how they usually make it. Maybe you can try cooking up your own with gluten-free flour. :)

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  6. Yuuuuum! We had a delicious okonomiyaki in Box Hill at the Chinese New Years festival a few years ago but haven't been able to find anything like it since (I know, it's not Chinese but it was there and it looked good and we don't regret it :)). This looks like it would be just as good, if not better. Plus it sounds like the sort of shop I could easily get lost in ... bonus!

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  7. Pop up concepts are always so much fun! And leaf, you really need to visit Japan. Not just for the okonomiyaki, but everything else too =).

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    1. Oh, trust me, I do want to! :D
      P.S. - only saw your comment now, it had been in limbo in the spam folder, sorry!

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  8. ooooo I wish my local japenese had this. I have made them before but they are pretty tedious!

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    1. I'm yet to make it myself but it's one of those dishes I'm happy to have someone else make for me. ;)

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  9. OMG I WANT! Thanks for sharing this!!

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  10. Oh. My. God. Crossing fingers for another one soon! x

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    1. It seems to happen about once a month, so you shouldn't have to wait too long!

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