Gohan cheap

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GOHAN, Fremantle


In January, everyone is skint and sweaty.

Chook journo Brendan Foster had just clambered up the fiscal cliff and grazed his crotch, so we decided to head for a cheap Japanese lunch.

Gohan occupies a prime spot on Freo’s cappuccino strip, opposite the Mexican Kitchen and beside the plaza arcade.

On Friday, during the school holidays, Freo bustles with families and schoolies who create a pleasant din.

The lunch menu is an old-school mix of teriyaki, tempura and katsu dishes, with a few curveballs (yak soba with cabbage, carbonara noodles).

The cafe is licensed and stocks a nice range of international bottled beers, including Asahi, Peroni and Stella Artois. All beers come in at $8 or under, which appeals to my Scottish provenance.

After taking off his crampons, Brendan chooses the chicken house curry ($12.90).

“Japanese curries are distinctly different from Indian and Thai, as they tend to be a lot sweeter, milder and thicker,” he sagely informs the universe.

“So if you are one of those folks that dread the burning ring of fire, this is the perfect dish. The downside of it being ‘milder’ is it lacks a bit of zing and flavour.

“But for the price, this is ideal comfort food for a Friday, especially after a history lesson in politics.”

Fellow Chook journo David Bell, who’s just joined the ranks of the mortgaged, thought the chicken katsu bento box ($12.90) a decently priced midway point for lunch in Freo.

Heady katsu

“The strips of chicken are decently moist with a perfectly crispy carapace,” he intones. “Along with the usual suspects in a bento box like rice and salad, Gohan serves up a small assortment of fruit, and the fresh citrus flavours cut perfectly through the strong, heady katsu sauce.”

Glancing around, the restaurant was modest and functional: an antidote to the faux glitz and exorbitant prices that lurk elsewhere on the strip.

Definitely more Bauhaus than Feng Shui.

Chook ad man Simon Fasolo—a suave extra from Mad Men—went for the beef sukiyaki ($15.90), a popular Japanese stew.

“I was impressed with the presentation of my bento box as it actually had a lid and brought meaning back to the term bento ‘box’,” he sultrily growled.

“The beef was tender and I could detect red wine and pepper notes throughout packing real punch. The rice and salad were up to speed.”

Gohan is a solid bet for a quick Japanese lunch on the strip.

File under cheap and cheerful.

36 South Terrace
9335 8078

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