Tanpopo restaurant

Now under new management.

This is a really cute place that I highly recommend you go to. It’s tiny, it’s quaint and has that Japanese-esque feel to it. Ka-wa-ii de-su-ne.

The setting is a bit squishy and the service is a bit inattentive but the food more than makes up for it. It is excellent. Don’t get me wrong, the staff are lovely, courteous and friendly. But at times, they just don’t seem to look up. They get really focused on the job at hand. So you may find yourself either staring them down to catch their eye or making the giant leap forward to the counter to speak to them.

Tanpopo Chef Special

Beef Tataki

The beef tataki at Tanpopo is one of those dishes that once you have had it, you can’t imagine your life without it. I have had cravings ever since. Looking at this photo gives me momentary flashbacks into its luscious rich red centre.

The beef is carpaccio thin where it is slinkily nestled on top of the salad leaves and the dressing is absolutely worth killing for. It makes you do strange things like request a tablespoon to transfer the dressing from the plate so you can drink and slurp the rest off. I had to ask what the dressing was made out of and I was told that it is a secret recipe that only the head chef knows how to produce. None of the other chefs are allowed to know.


Aburi Kingfish

This originally was a kingfish nigiri which is a raw slice of kingfish placed on a bed of compact rice. However, Brazil made a special request that it be served aburi. Brazil has a little sweet spot for anything aburi and will request it every chance he gets. What Brazil loves, Brazil gets!

Aburi is essentially nigiri sushi served half cooked half raw and is cooked using a blow torch to achieve the semi-cooked and charred finish. The taste is similar to that of burnt smokey flesh, which sounds downright filthy because that is exactly how it tastes like. I normally don’t like the taste of aburi but in the spirit of ‘don’t knock it til you try it again and again which is in true food porn-er fashion’, I give it another taste. To my surprise, I absolutely love it.


Aburi Sushi

It’s love all round for the aburi sushi too. I highly recommend you try this. Although I did find it rather odd that they serve 2 salmon, 3 kingfish and 1 tuna as opposed to serving 3 equal parts. Random. Nevertheless, I still inhale it.

I even got a sneak peek on how they prepared it! Take a look.


Ocean Trout Carpaccio with Tanpopo dressing

The tanpopo dressing in the ocean trout carpaccio is very similar to the beef tataki dressing. It has something missing from it that I can’t quite put my finger on but it is still very delicious. The ocean trout is fresh, silky and lightly submerged in the lovely pool of acidic dressing that you just want to dip yourself into and wrinkle up. The capers are amazingly a wonderful addition and provide it with an added extra punch and salty bite.

Take a closer look

Ordering Ramen made me LOL. Take a closer look


Chashu Ramen


Ramen up close

Tanpopo’s ramen are hand made in the kitchen. They are as noodle should be. They’re soft, slippery and silky smooth. The broth was rich with flavours and pleasant to the taste but the chashu is the real winner of this dish. It was love at first bite. The broth soaked through the chashu and tenderised the thin slathers of meat. The broth enriched the porks inherent flavours leaving a dissolving melt in your mouth chashu experience. My only issue with this dish was there simply wasn’t enough of the pork. It could have used 3x more of what was served.

So… here you have another beef tataki. It was so good we ended up ordering another one!


Apart from the haphazard service, the food is absolutely one of the best Japanese places I have dined at. Incredibly tasty that I have already been back twice. The staff are so lovely, you kind of can’t help but forgive them for their lack lustre service. If you can be patient enough and wave through the awkward service this place is well worth your patience, the tight fit and your taste buds.

Welcome to Tanpopo, for fantastic food and funny service.

Shop 3, 81 Military Rd
Neutral Bay NSW 2089

(02) 9908 4280

Tanpopo on Urbanspoon

  1. Jack Linton says:

    Wow considering its so good i would expect the prices to be alot higher. so going here!!!!

  2. Food Porn-er says:

    I think the specials board is a bit misleading.

    I would call it mid-range considering you will need to get quite a few dishes to feel full. I spent around 70 dollars for two people for this meal.

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