Review: How’s Your Oni – an authentic Japanese dining experience in Gardens

Located in the heart of Gardens, an inner-city suburb of Cape Town, How’s Your Oni has grown in strides from launching its iconic onigiri offering at the popular Oranjezicht City Farm Market to opening its first restaurant.

Fast Facts

Restaurant name: How’s Your Oni

Address: 7 Scott Street, Gardens, Cape Town

Contact number: 076 738 3132

Opening times: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 12pm to 4pm; Friday and Saturday from 12pm to 9pm

The average price of main meal: Main meal options range from R70 to R190

Corkage fee: N/A

Parking situation: There is limited parking available close to the restaurant but there is on-street parking around the corner

Food type: Japanese cuisine


As the first official onigiri restaurant, How’s Your Oni offers a tailored menu dedicated to Japanese cuisine.

Although the menu may appear small to some, I do think that there is an unspoken beauty in crafting each dish with attention to detail and care, and that is certainly done at this spot.

The menu offers starters, also known as ippinryori. These small bites and additions to dishes range from gyoza, dumplings, edamame beans, steamed rice and more. Served as a portion of four, the dumplings are adequate in size and packed with flavour, placed on top of a spicy soy-based sauce.

As for mains, ramen of the day is available and this dish changes each day and is usually only available in the evenings. The highlight on the menu has to be the onigiri offering.

In Japan, onigiri is looked at as an expression of love and care. Usually placed in Bento boxes, the onigiri is more common than sushi in the East Asian region. While it may appear as a simple ball of rice cupped in seaweed, the filling of each and every onigiri makes it a journey for the tastebuds.

For vegetarians, the mighty mushroom, mixed Asian mushrooms with soya and teriyaki, comes highly recommended.

As ironic as it sounds, while I was eating the onigiri I couldn’t help but think how is your oni? Honestly, it was everything and more. As the star of the menu at this spot, the onigiri is served in a single portion and best eaten with your hands. The rice is cooked perfectly and the filling melts in your mouth as you take the first bite. It’s a staple in Japan and now I finally understand why.

Other dishes available include traditional classics such as miso soup, gyoza, takoyaki, ramen, tempura and gohan.

An important note for vegetarians and vegans is that the tempura agedashi tofu is topped with bonito flakes, dried bonito fish that is grated into flakes.

There is only one dessert option available on the menu, the chocoyaki, fried matcha balls filled with dark Lindt chocolate and topped with melted chocolate drizzle and crushed pistachios. It is served warm and in a portion of four. Although quite decadent with the dark chocolate filling, this dish lacks flavour as the matcha flavours seems lost in the haze of sweetness.

Cutlery tools available in your armoury include chopsticks and a ladle; otherwise, opt to use your hands.


The restaurant currently does not serve alcohol and has general cooldrinks such as iced tea available. Staying true to its authentic Japanese offering, matcha along with a range of Japanese teas is available.


The restaurant’s interior dining area is small with a cosy feeling to it, but outdoor seating is available as well.

The design of the restaurant is littered with Japanese cultural references, from the bright and vibrant posters on the right wall to the menu icon design on the left. In addition, the background music is aptly chosen, with hits such as “Stay with me” by Miki Matsubara.

The restaurant has an open kitchen visible in the interior dining area. The sounds of tempura frying along with the smell of the dishes wafting through will leave you salivating as you wait for your food.

The best way to describe this restaurant is a truly authentic Japanese dining experience without the opulence that Western-based Asian restaurants have imposed. There are no false pretences about this spot, which adds to the authenticity.


The service is friendly and informative. Although there were limited wait staff upon visiting the restaurant, the service was attentive.

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here


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