Whilst visiting Japan for business, Matthew Bailey and Steve Minon fell in love with the combination of Japanese dumplings (gyoza) and ice-cold Japanese beer. Soon this love turned into a business venture, with the guys deciding to sell their advertising agency and take their chances in the food and beverage business. From here Harajuku Gyoza was born – the first venue opening in Fortitude Valley, followed by a second restaurant in Indooroopilly. The Japanese eatery has now made its way to South Bank, joining its sister venue Nitrogenie.
As you walk through the large wooden door (which is heavy like sumo, as its ‘pull’ sign reads), you are immediately greeted by the raucous cheers of ‘irasshaimase!’ welcoming you to the restaurant. Brightly coloured and patterned plates line the walls, and you can take a seat in a cosy booth, long table or up at the bar where you can peer through the glass and watch the talented chefs at work.
Lovers of Harajuku Gyoza’s other venues will be pleased to learn that the new South Bank restaurant serves up all of your favourites. Gyoza is of course a specialty, with a choice of pork, chicken and duck that can be grilled or poached, grilled whole prawn and grilled vegetarian gyoza. Sides include edamame, chicken karaage, agedashi tofu, pork belly kakuni and tebasaki wings, all perfect accompaniments to your delicious dumplings. For those with a slightly bigger appetite, choose from the don and ramen menu – think chicken katsu curry, tonkotsu (pork) shoyu ramen and beef gyudon. Wash it all down with a frosty Kirin on tap or a cheeky sip of saké, and finish off with salted caramel, peanut butter white chocolate or Nutella banana gyoza and ice-cream. For regular Harajuku girls (or boys), sign up for free to become a Happy VIP reward member and you can take advantage of Happy Lunch Combos on Mondays to Fridays until 5:00 pm, such as gyoza with miso soup, rice and a soft drink for $9.90, or gyoza with ramen and soft drink for $12.80 (add $4 to upgrade to Kirin).