Gyoza Bar
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Par Collaborateur PJ

Always Innovating

In a city where the streets positively flow with ramen, you have to do something special to stand out, and that’s exactly what Seigo Nakamura — the man behind Miku and Minami restaurants, who introduced the city to the joys of aburi charcoal-flamed sushi — and his team are doing at Gyoza Bar, which opened in September 2014.

Chef de cuisine, Mike Acero, has been with the company for five years. Originally from the Philippines, Mike began work at Miku and then helped open Minami as its sous chef. When Miku switched to its new Coal Harbour location, Mike was part of the opening team and so he was the natural choice to take on the new challenge at Gyoza Bar to introduce Vancouverites to Japan’s hottest new ramen trend — tomato-based broth.

It’s not instant ramen, everything here is fresh made from scratch and you can taste the difference. - Mike Acero, chef de cuisine
Gyoza, Ramen, tapas, cocktails
Buzzing lunch service in the brick-walled room.

It’s All about the Noodles

“We make the broth in-house the old-fashioned way,” says Mike. “We use slow cooking methods to layer it with flavour. It’s a two-day process involving roasting bones and we use no MSG at all. It’s time-consuming but it’s worth it.”

Served with fresh seafood, this ramen is reminiscent of a bouillabaisse: the broth is rich and aromatic, perfumed with saffron with a pleasing hit of umami. But it’s not just the broth that takes time; the team also brought in a special noodle-making machine from Japan so they can make them from scratch in house.

“Customers like to sit at the table opposite the open kitchen and see the noodles being made,” says Mike with a laugh. “We go through an average of 200 portions of them a day, so there’s lots to see.” And what makes these noodles special? It’s all about the elasticity, apparently. Often when you eat ramen the noodles are good for the first few bites but then they loose their shape and become too mushy. Not at Gyoza Bar. “We’ve formulated a special blend which keeps its shape and chewiness from first bite to last,” explains Mike. “That way the noodles carry the broth better too.”

Gyoza, Ramen, tapas, cocktails
Dive into a bowl of tomato and saffron seafood ramen.

The Juiciest Gyoza in Town

And what about the gyozas in the restaurant name? They’re something new, too – a teppan-style gyoza cooked on a non-stick skillet and served on a cast iron dish. “Our signature gyoza are incredibly popular and we serve over 1,000 every day,” says Mike. “The cast iron keeps the moisture locked in, so these gyoza are incredibly juicy. Our pork comes from the Fraser Valley and the chicken is free-range and hormone-free.”

The Pender Street location welcomes plenty of university students and office workers from downtown amongst its customers, along with a solid stream of workers in the restaurant industry. “Chefs and cooks love to eat food like this,” says Mike. And with happy hour deals, new specialty gyozas and seasonal dishes hitting the menu along with an expanded tapas selection too, who can blame them?

Gyoza, Ramen, tapas, cocktails
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