Before launching the Harajuku Gyoza empire, owners Matthew Bailey and Steven Minon were the brains behind a successful creative agency. While frequently visiting a client in Tokyo they were constantly drawn to a hole-in-the-wall in Harajuku that specialises in gyoza. After deciding that Brisbane needed one, they returned and opened their first of five stores.
Their creative talents are writ large across the fit-out’s aesthetic details, including the Harajuku-inspired uniforms, the timbered exterior of the shopfront and the colourful Japanese art-clad plates adorning the walls.
The duo have also successfully emulated the Japanese culture they love – the enthusiastic hospitality in particular. You can witness this as soon as you step in the door, when the staff roar “moshi moshi!” in welcome. A loud “arigatou gozaimasu” (thank you very much) punctuates every exit.
In true izakaya style, the food acts as a snack to sustain a cheerful drinking session of ice cold Japanese beers. But as the name suggests, gyoza is the reigning dish, filled with a choice of pork, chicken, duck, prawn or vegetables and served grilled or poached.
Sake lover or not, ordering it is almost mandatory so you can watch the staff dance, clap, sing and shout as they bring it to your table.