Opened in April 2018, Gonpachi NORI-TEMAKI is a sushi restaurant located on Omotesando avenue near Harajuku station, that combines elements of modern and traditional Japan. Although most sushi restaurants in Japan serve mainly nigiri types of sushi, this one specializes in sushi rolls (temaki sushi). Affordable and delicious, this is a must-try!
Located in the Harajuku and Omotesando area (2-minute walk from the Harajuku station), Gonpachi NORI-TEMAKI sushi restaurant opened on May 30, 2018.
Their specialty is "temaki-sushi" which means hand-rolled sushi. The restaurant's concept is to serve sushi that is a fusion of traditional and modern, so they have on the many many of the staple sushi ingredients, but also some original twists such as using "cauliflower rice" instead of the traditional sushi rice seasoned with rice vinegar and mirin (sweet sake).
The fusion of traditional and modern is also reflected in the shops interior design! The kitchen is surrounded by a 360 degrees wooden counter. You can see the sushi chefs at work preparing every order. The atmosphere is warm and modern with clean lines. It's a good spot for casual eating (prices are surprisingly reasonable) with friends but also for a date.
First of all, once you're seated, you'll be served with some super refreshing green tea and some pickled ginger and wasabi. It's a good idea to order miso soup (¥300) as well, as it goes so well with a sushi meal. The combination of sushi and miso soup is a classic in Japan.
Toro & Takuan [¥480]
The first roll we ordered was the "Toro & Takuan". It has fillings of shredded tuna and takuan, which is a pickled daikon radish. The contrast in texture of the soft tuna and the crunchy pickled daikon radish is what makes this sushi particularly nice!
Sea Urchin ("Uni") [¥1,000]
If you've never had sea urchin or "uni" as it is called in Japan, you just have to try this one! Although a bit pricey compared to the other rolls, it's definitely worth it because uni is a delicacy and the amount they put in one roll is really generous. Uni has a rich creamy sea taste full of umami.
Yam and Cod Roe [¥350]
Yam is a kind of mountain root vegetable popular in traditional Japanese cuisine that tastes fresh and crispy. Cod roe is quite oily and has a deep savoury taste that goes perfectly with the yam of this sushi.
The little orange spheres of oily goodness burst in your mouth releasing a sublime fresh sea taste. It's a mix of texture and umami that is so addictive. They are a bit on the expensive side but the quality of the product and amount you get in one sushi makes it a must-have at Gonpachi!
Plum & Cucumber (Cauliflower Rice) [¥400]
This is an interesting new kind of sushi. Instead of rice, finely cut cauliflower is used, so the roll has just a fraction of the carbs of a standard sushi roll. For six different rolls, you have the option of using cauliflower rice instead of standard sushi rice.
The Plum & Cucumber roll has umeboshi (sour and salty plum) as a topping, which is a very traditional Japanese ingredient that you should try out if you haven't. This sushi roll is also vegan! They have other no-fish options on the menu so people with dietary restrictions can also enjoy Gonpachi's sushi.
For a restaurant located on Ometesando near the Harajuku station and Yoyogi Park, Gonpachi NORI-TEMAKI is surprisingly affordable. You can order a la carte (as we did) or have special assortment sets of 3 to 5 sushi rolls that range in price from ¥1,280 to ¥2,200.