Dera-Uma, Sydney CBD

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The term ‘comfort food’ means different things to different people. Some might immediately think of a steaming stew or an oozy, melted cheese toastie. For me, comfort food almost always involves rice.
Growing up in Sydney and coming from an Asian background, my childhood was full of a sort of hybrid cuisine. Vegetable stir-fries would be eaten with barbecue steak, and rice cooked to accompany a roast chicken. It was always a mix-and-match affair, but whatever we cooked, we’d eat it with rice (with the exception of pasta, of course ;)). 

Dera-Uma, under the same management as its popular neighbours Menya Mappen and Oiden Bowl Bar in George Street’s Skyview Plaza, is a mix-and-match heaven. 

Pick and choose from your favourite Japanese classics such as teriyaki salmon, katsu, grilled beef and hamburger steak, and have them as a plain rice bowl, curry, or cooked in Dera-uma's signature tamago-toji style. 

Don’t feel like carb-heavy rice? The gourmet salad options take a similar DIY approach, toppings of katsu, kara-age and hamburger steak and a wide choice of dressings that include French and wasabi. There are so many options that you may find it hard pressed to settle on just one!

Unlike Oiden, which specialises in rice bowls served with different toppings, the tamago-toji bowl is unique to Dera-Uma. The term tamago-toji refers to the way the dish is made: beaten eggs are poured over a seasoned topping, and the mixture is cooked to a loose ‘omelette’ of sorts. 

At Dera-Uma, you can watch your tamago-toji be prepared in front of your eyes. The topping – katsu, beef, hamburger steak or tofu – is warmed in a mini frying-pan with a sauce of dashi, mirin and soy. 

Beaten eggs are poured carefully on top, and the mixture left to bubble away joyously for a minute or two before being expertly flipped on top of steaming hot rice. 

The result is a glorious muddle of silky soft eggs and topping, nestled on a bed of saucy rice. This is my sort of comfort food.

Toji-Pork Katsu (regular $8.90, large $10.40)
Although the eggs soften the crispy coating of the pork katsu, the meat is succulent on the inside and all the cooking sauces seep down to season the warm rice, which takes on a delicious flavour. Surprisingly, the dish overall doesn’t have that overwhelming eggy taste - thanks to the tasty dashi-soy simmering sauce – but rather, the egg adds an extra texture and helps bind everything together. We love the extra addition of pickled ginger on top, which adds a pop of brightness and heat to every bite.

Mugi-cha (Barley Tea) and Green Tea ($1.50 each)
Barley tea has a roasted, nutty flavour that reminds me of genmaicha (green tea with roasted brown rice). The green tea is refreshing and has just the right level of sweetness.

Curry and Hamburger Steak with Cheese and Ontama ($9.90)
Rumour has it that Dera-Uma’s Japanese curry is one of the tastiest ones in Sydney! A Washoku Lovers member special, beef hamburger steak is torched with sumptuous cheese and wallows in a pool of rich curry sauce along with a jiggly, soft-boiled egg. Pierce the ontama and let the rich yolk flow into the deep brown sauce studded with carrot and onion – it’s a thing of wonders. The curry sauce is sweet and richly flavoured, combined with the creamy cheese and char of the steak it’s the perfect meal for any time of the day. 

Teriyaki Salmon Salad with tofu, corn and seaweed ($9.90)
We continue the Japanese theme and choose the teriyaki salmon salad with Japanese dressing and three fillings of tofu, corn and seaweed. All the salads are very good value at under $10 each, and are a meal in themselves. The thin piece of salmon is delicious brushed with a sticky, sweet teriyaki sauce, and I love how the soft, creamy tofu crumbles and coats the salad leaves. 

Dera-Uma means ‘very delicious’ in Japanese dialect, and it’s a very accurate description of this fast, cheap and cheerful eatery that doesn’t compromise on flavour and authenticity. A great place for a pocket-friendly lunch or dinner.

I was privileged to dine as a guest of Washoku Lovers, but opinions expressed are all my own.

Dera-Uma Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

You Might Also Like


  1. I've actually been craving katsudon (after staring at and editing my Japan pics) so will definitely have to rock up here soon!

    1. Mmm, I could eat Japanese food all day every day!

  2. Seeing your katsu cooking is pretty cool for these pick and choose restaurants!