Pom Pom Takoyaki

I first came across Pom Pom Takoyaki at Lonely Planet’s Street Food Festival, which happened in Shoreditch late March. My second try was in The StockMKT. Although there were some good flavours and textures, this snack was missing something very fundamental.

Apparently Takoyaki is a street food invited in 1935 in Osaka, Japan. The idea is placing a piece of octopus in a savoury pancake, cooking it and serving it with mayonnaise and takoyaki sauce. Pom Pom ladies were also preparing it with chicken and potatoes.

Clearly cooking these balls need some skills.

I went for the classic one and got three balls of octopus Takoyaki.

Takoyaki balls are filled with octopus, green onion, picked ginger, and tenkasu (tempura scraps). It is served with mayonnaise, takoyaki sauce and some shavings. Takoyaki sauce reminded me of BBQ sauce, and for shavings I can’t really say anything as they were quite hard to taste. Probably they are shavings of a kind of seaweed and dried tuna.

The first bite, well, definitely tasty. The pastry is juicy and soft still but not raw, sauce has a vinegary soy sauce taste and triggers the taste buds. But to be honest, I think this is a bit cheating as whatever you put mayonnaise and this sauce on, cannot really taste bad. On the second bite I had the octopus piece, which was a very disappointing octopus piece. It was quite hard to chew it and and it was tasteless. I reckon this poor octopus was frozen and travelled a long long way until it reached London. This is basically a process that kills all the taste and texture, especially for seafood like octopus, squid, mussels, scallops, etc. It’s shame for this Takoyaki too because octopus is the main and most important ingredient. When I finished my Takoyaki, I felt like I’ve eaten a McDonald’s burger, a burger having a very low quality meat and trying to overpower that weakness by sauces and other ingredients. For this reason, probably chicken and potato Takoyakis can be more satisfying.

It was good to experience Pom Pom Takoyaki, but it’s not a food that I’d look for.

Rating: 5.5 / 10

Price: £2,5 for 3 pieces

Location: They are new and popping up around, so it’s best to check their website.

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  1. ross

     /  15 June 2012

    Um, you seem to pride yourself on your in-depth pre eating research (god bless Wikipedia eh?). Remarkable then to highlight the fact (in a negative sense) that you believe the octopus to have been frozen when this is as it will be 95% of the time, regardless of distance from London. Indeed great swathes of our Mediterranean cousins will insist on the practice, no doubt ignorantly believing in its tenderising qualities. I do hope your cooking is as good as your criticism is loud.

  2. Hi Ross, I’m sorry to see my review has upset you. Indeed I use Wikipedia quite a lot, I think it is an amazing source for information. If 95% of the octopus in London are tasteless and even hard to chew, then only 5% of those restaurants should cook it. I don’t think lack of access to quality ingredients can be an excuse for bad food. Finally, I am not really good at cooking (especially when it comes to vegetables), but can’t see the relation to the subject. To your surprise; I don’t play football at all, but I am commenting on footballers and matches, especially nowadays in Euro 2012.


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