Harajuku Gyoza is a loud and cheerful dumpling izakaya (an after-work drink bar serving light food), very similar to what you would stumble upon on the streets of Roppongi, Tokyo. A local dumpling joint where ‘salarymen’ come to after work to drink beer, get rowdy and eat loads of gyoza!
I always love coming here for a quick dumpling fix and usually choose weeknights to dine in as it is near to impossible to get an immediate seat during weekends (long lines out the door…) I have been put on an hour long wait list before, no joke!
The menu is very casual and simple giving you the standard dumpling choices of chicken, duck, beef, prawn and veggies. Every now and then the menu will have a special limited edition choice, I was sad to see that my favourite wagyu wasabi beef wasn’t offered last night. They even do fantastic dessert dumplings, last night’s special was the cherry ripe with ice cream! All dumplings can be done either poached or grilled, your choice!
The duck is possibly the tastiest, tenderest and full on in flavor. Chicken is my second favourite and I mostly go for poached, just seems to tango well. If you pick prawn they will usually leave the tail on, sticking out for design.
For those who can’t eat dumplings as an entire meal, not to worry! There are beef gyu-dons (don means rice bowl), pork and chicken karaage dons with a large selection of side dishes including but not limited to, edamame, miso soup, miso salad and fried chicken pieces.
I love to drink a large mug of Kirin beer when I come to Harajuku, it just seems like the appropriate thing to do while i’m dousing dumpling after dumpling into my chili soy sauce.
A main speciality at this dumpling joint is that when you order Sake, the one or ‘ones’ serving you will yell out ‘SAKKEEEEE’ at the top of their lungs and carry on for another 30 seconds or so with a completely ridiculous song about sake. This is a real head turner every time and hearty laughter and jokes will be pointed in your direction.
The interior is very ‘cute’ and modern. There are many customized izakaya style red lanterns featuring words such as Yum! Sip! and Hai! The smiley gyoza faced mascot makes me smile every time and the walls are lined with a series photo plates of people and scenes around Japan. Don’t forget to visit the toilet as well if you haven’t seen a typical Japanese toilet with about a million and one functions!
Don’t expect a quiet dinner here, it is a loud and quirky dumpling bar! The common norm here is young couples or groups getting drunk while stuffing their faces.
A very big PLUS about Harajuku’s is that unlike other Brisbane restaurants, they are opened until late! A really good place to get your munch on before a night out in the valley.
Harajuku Gyoza does not do reservations
394 Brunswick Street
(either arrive really early or really late on weekends or if you can’t stand waiting, choose a week night!)