The reason for my recent visit to the newly-launched Robinsons Orchard @ The Heeren was not to indulge in retail therapy, but to check out the latest restaurant under Akashi group, Gyoza-Ya!
Located at basement level of the department store alongside some stylish but expensive homeware collection (we saw a $6000 price tag??), the pricing for a meal of Japanese-style dumplings at this casual dining establishment is fortunately much easier to swallow.
Side dishes start from $3.80 and no single item is over $6.50 (except for sake), making Gyoza-Ya one of the more affordable eateries along the Orchard Road stretch.
We chose to sit at the counter seats with a good view of the open kitchen where all the actions are. The crew burst into energetic shouts of "irrashaimase!" whenever new customers walk in, livening up the quietness of the place and dousing off the impending mid-day slumber I was about to fall into. Lol!
Service was polite and efficient, our server was quick in suggesting their signature items when we ask for recommendations.
All gyoza uses skin imported regularly from Japan, and is freshly filled and crimped at the restaurant with a special mixer into uniformed crescent-shape pieces.
Though the boiled version is a healthier choice, the Pan-fried Dumpling with Pork is one which you wouldn't want to walk away without trying. Our dumplings came pan-fried at the bottom, while the upper part is steamed, providing a delightful textural combination of crisp and chewy skin at each bite. The filling of grounded pork was tasty and juicy, with generous amount of cabbage providing much crunchiness.
We also went with the recommendation of JyaJya Men ($6.50), which is not too unlike the Chinese noodle dish, Zha Jiang Mian (炸酱面). The thick wheat noodles topped with minced pork, black sesame miso sauce and sliced cucumbers was a tad lacking in taste and character, what made it more interesting is the 2-tier way of enjoying it.
Instead of consuming the noodles all at once, we left a couple of mouthful still in the bowl before cracking in the soft-boiled egg and adding hot noodle broth for a slurping end. Needs a lot more in flavor though, that's when table condiments such as miso paste, chilli oil and vinegar became a necessity to push up the delectable level.
The menu is rather limited, but we still get favorites like Japanese Garlic Fried Rice (Ninniku Yaki Meshi, $5.80), Deep Fried Chicken (Tori Karaage, $3.80) and Japanese Beef Stew with Vegetable (Nikujyaga, $4.80). Pedestrian but okay enough for us to finish everything. Cannot waste food.
Gyoza-Ya does serves up decent fare in a no-frills environment. Recommended if you're looking for a quick meal or break from shopping. Go for the pan-fried dumplings, definitely!
Address: #B1-02A Robinsons Orchard, Singapore 238855
Contact: +65 67375581
Opening Hours:11.30am - 10pm Daily