Super adorable gyoza mascot.
After seeing Instagram picture after Instagram picture of this locale and being taunted by delicious-looking pictures of juicy, grilled up parcels of meat and pastry, my friend Jasper and I finally caved in to our cravings and tried this little gyoza nook, fittingly called Harajuku Gyoza. Situated in Fortitude Valley, Harajuku Gyoza is a restaurant bar born of an obsession for gyoza (Japanese dumplings) and beer. All of this, quite frankly, is quite fine by me as I host the same longings and find both of these items on my Insatiable Need list.
Hai! and Yum! lampshades.
Harajuku Gyoza’s walls are decorated flamboyantly with a massive selection of printed plates (on which you are also served) and are splattered with a gleeful combination of wood, neon lights and lashings of red – all of which will hype you up for the oncoming food assault.
The menu has a nice, however conservative, selection of gyoza. I have to admit, I was actually expecting more flamboyant variations from the norm – on the upside you can choose whether or not to have your gyoza grilled or poached. They were very fresh and clearly prepared on site. If you get a bar seat, you can peer into their grilling and poaching kitchen while you munch – and you can literally eye off your serving staff. The menu is also peppered with a happy selection of side dishes (including my ultimate favourite: edamame) and other popular favourites (noted as “Izakaya Dishes”) like agedashi tofu and chicken karage.
A packed Harajuku Gyoza.
Most notably on the menu is the special dessert gyoza: the mystical apple gyoza with ice-cream. One can only imagine what that would taste like. Unfortunately, you may have to keep on imagining – as by the time Jasper and I competed our meals (including a mini-tankard of Kirin each), we were both absolutely stuffed and could not bear to jam any more food into our maws in fear of stomach explosions.
Grilled pork gyoza – $8
Edemame deliciousness – $4
Agedashi tofu – $7
The pricing is extremely conservative for the Valley area, with 5 delicious gyoza setting you back a nifty $8, side dishes under $5 and izakaya dishes all priced under $11. Drinks are a little on the pricey side, but the pricing is still considered reasonable as the majority of the beers are imported. If you’re planning to choose a beer, go for the Kirin which is on tap, and it’ll arrive in the most adorable little tankard with the happy gyoza mascot imprinted on it in frosted glass. If you’re feeling the need to draw attention to yourself, order yourself some sake – and you’ll receive a serving from a bottle half the height of the girl pouring it and an enthusiastic and genuine cheer of approval.
Kirin (on tap) – $8
Spotted a Rilakkuma-clad plate.
As Brisbanites love a new eatery, I firmly support going for a late lunch or as a casual snack as a tester – no one wants to wait an hour to eat. It’s still steaming with its New Eatery Sheen and doesn’t take bookings so make sure you’ve got your Patience Boots on, or don’t bother (or try The Brunswick Social instead). Also, the added little perk to Harajuku Gyoza? Yes, that’s right, they have a classic high-tech japanese-style loo. Feel the Japanese-ness. Even on the seat of your bottom.
Best perk – a high-tech toilet.