“Customer-san” is number one at Harajuku Gyoza, with shouts of irasshaimase (welcome!) upon entry and arigatou gozaimasu (thank you!) upon departure. Similar to authentic Japanese izakayas, the experience at Harajuku Gyoza is fun from the get-go.
The first restaurant opened in Brisbane in 2011, after owners Matthew Bailey and Steve Minon fell for the gyoza stores in Harajuku. While the Australian locations (four in Queensland and one in NSW) don’t look like the ones in Japan, the vibe is represented in full force.
It’s playful without being kitschy, and despite the international excitement over the raindrop cake (which comes in matcha or brown-sugar varieties), Harajuku Gyoza is still the kind of place to get your gyoza fill on a Saturday night.
Those dumplings are handmade daily and stored in coolers before they’re cooked. Glossy pork, duck, chicken, prawn and vegetable dumplings are served on pop-art plates and either poached or fried, the latter providing a crisp bottom with a succulent, meaty filling.
Other shareable mains include eggplant tempura and sweet pork-belly kakuni.
Cap it off with any of Harajuku’s creative beverages (whisky highballs anyone?) or a flute of saké imported from Japan.