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Hareruya Is Carlton's Tiny New Japanese Pantry and Cafe Stocking Elegant Bentos and Gelato Mochi

A takeaway-only spot from the mind behind 279 and Le Bajo, heroing beautiful bento and house-made gelato.
By Libby Curran
July 29, 2022
By Libby Curran
July 29, 2022

Chances are, you could use some warmth and sunshine in your life right now. And you'll find a big dose of it radiating from Carlton's new pint-sized Japanese spot, Hareruya. Overlooking Lincoln Square, the takeaway-only hole-in-the-wall is the latest venture from Kantaro Okada, who also brought us other Japanese gems, 279 and North Melbourne's Le Bajo.

It's been a long-held plan of Okada's to launch a dedicated bento and gelato bar. Now, thanks to some extra free time during last year's lockdowns, he's been able to bring it to fruition, opening the doors to Hareruya — translating to 'sunny shop' — in April.

The tiny Japanese convenience store-meets-cafe is as cheery as they come, drawing queues of eager diners from breakfast till dinner. The shelves are stocked with a neat array of takeaway treats and snacks, while at the front counter, staff are scooping from shiny tubs of gelato.

Guaranteed to catch your eye are the vibrant loaded bento boxes, brimming with various osouzai (side dishes) along with beef and egg soboro, the fish of the day, or vegetarian soy tofu sushi. They're courtesy of the store's dedicated bento specialist, Kazuko Goto.

Making an appearance just for winter, you'll find oden boxes (a Japanese stew), served with the broth ready to pour over the dry ingredients; while savoury snacks might include the likes of onigiri, sandos and chicken karaage tossed in dashi amazu (a sweet vinegar).

Sweet-toothed visitors can get their fix with a rotation of house-baked pastries — think, castella, miso brownies and matcha cookies — and the drinks offering runs to freshly-pressed juices, and lattes of both the caffeinated and matcha-infused variety.

Meanwhile, the Italian Pozzetti gelato freezer is stocked with an array of goodies made in-house, the rotating lineup fusing classic Japanese flavours with Italian techniques. Shirogoma (white sesame), sweet potato, and red fruits with elderflower and yuzu are just some of the varieties being scooped of late.

All that's left to decide is whether to get yours in a cup or take-home tub, daifuku-style (wrapped in mochi skin), or sandwiched between rice wafer crisps like a traditional monaka.

The petite store boasts a couple of bench seats, though if the sun's a-shining, you'll find the adjacent grassy park is the ideal setting to hoof down your bento and gelato.

Find Hareruya at 15-17 Lincoln Square South, Carlton. It's open daily from 10.30am–10.30pm.

Published on July 29, 2022 by Libby Curran
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