What should we know about Okky?
It's where Lucky Tortoise used to be on Aungier Street - they're now in a bigger space in Temple Bar. Okky is a passion project from co-owner John Ennis who previously lived in Japan, and whose favourite dish there was Okonomiyaki. It's also the most popular dish in Lucky Tortoise, so the team felt the time was right to dedicate a site to the cabbage-based pancake.
Okonomiyaki means "grilled as you like it", so there are endless variations, but these recipes have come from their Japanese chef Haru, whose grandparents they say were some of the first Japanese people to bring Okonomiyaki to Brazil in the 1960's.
What's the story with seating?
It hasn't changed much since it was Lucky Tortoise, except that the table in the window to the right as you walk in is now the chef's cooking station. There's one table in the other window, some counter seating at the wall, and a few more tables in the back room up a few steps.
What should we have?
It's a small, appealing menu, making it easy to cover the lot if there's a few of you. Obviously the big thing is the okonomiyaki, but they do homemade gyoza, Japanese omelette and sides too.
Gyoza come in pork and veggie, and the wrappers were both crisp and silky - clearly prepared in house - with nicely seasoned pork and a soy dipping sauce. The tamagoyaki is a soft, soy-seasoned omelette, with a savoury tonkotsu sauce for dipping, but we'd rather a piece or two as opposed to the whole dish - perfect for sharing, maybe egg overkill otherwise.
The okky is the main event, and starts at €12.50 before adding toppings (priced at €1.50 - €2.50 each). We picked bacon, cheese and egg, bringing it to €17.00, and it's a hefty plate of food. The pancake is thick, spongey, chewy and ultra savoury, with the kewpie mayo and tonkotsu sauce bringing a flavour party to your plate. It doesn't need the fried egg, but we enjoyed slicing and dicing it with our chopsticks (the okky comes cut up so easy to pick up and share).
We ordered sides of kimchi and cucumber salad but they brought the rice and spinach salad too - they'd just opened and wanted all the feedback. The kimchi is on the hotter side (as it should be) and we loved the sesame pickled cucumbers, but it was all enjoyable to pick at.
The other Okky option is the 'Hiroshima' (€17), with udon noodles and 'hiroshima' sauce (a rich oyster sauce). It's even thicker, even chewier, and even more savoury, and we loved the crispy onion and spring onions covering the top. Pick your poison, they're both great.
Why should I go?
Staff were so lovely and so concerned that we had a good time and enjoyed it all - and we really did. This is fast, inexpensive food the way we like it, and around €30pp will get you a large feed and a drink, with leftovers to take home. In the current climate, those prices for this quality are hard to argue with.
8 Aungier Street, Dublin 2