184 Grey Street, South Bank
Harajuku Gyoza very recently opened the doors to their new location in South Bank Parklands. Interestingly, I was invited to the prelaunch not as a food blogger but as a radio competition winner (thanks Nova 106.9). I used to enter comps a lot when I was younger and I won quite a few so I have this disillusion of myself being 'luckier than average'. Winning this radio comp (the first thing I entered in decades) only served to strengthen my belief that I'm gifted.
Marc and I arrived last Wednesday, before Harajuku Gyoza was officially open to the public. It was still quite busy when we got there due to the presence of other winners and various prelaunch invitees. Actually, the atmosphere was so hustle and bustle that Marc and I could barely hear each other speak.
The restaurant is decked out similarly to other locations. There's a funky, Japanese style of decor adoring the bar seating, booths and tables along the wall. We were seated along the wall where all the tables were close together and we were nearly bumping knees with our neighbours.
Marc and I were given our 'winnings', which was $100 of vouchers to use at Harajuku. That's enough to eat and drink our fill so we went nuts and ordered a huge variety of dishes to share. Not only does Harajuku Gyoza serve a variety of gyoza, there are other Japanese bar snacks and nibblies, proper ramen and rice dishes.
There are plenty of beers on offer as well as sake, if you want to grab the attention of the entire restaurant. Every table who ordered sake had a crowd of waiters around them yelling random Japanese words (I only recognised 'SAKE'). Marc and I played it safe and had beer.
Grilled pork, chicken, duck and prawn gyoza
Our gyoza arrived first. There's the option of grilled or poached and we chose grilled for all of them. I nibbled my way through the various flavours. As per our visit at the Indooroopilly Harajuku Gyoza, I enjoyed the classic pork gyoza most. They were juicy and had a good seasoning.
Bite short of pork gyoza
The duck gyoza tasted distinctly like duck but I'm not sure I like duck flavour in gyoza form. The prawn one was most expensive in that you get less gyoza per serve but I enjoyed it the least. It seemed to be a whole unflavoured prawn wrapped in gyoza skin. What's so special about that?
Chicken karaage and agedashi tofu
The chicken karaage was crunchy and juicy although I would have liked a bigger serve. The agedashi tofu wasn't crispy like I thought it would be but the broth was delicious. I kept the broth even after I finished the tofu so that I could use it to dip other things.
We had to wait a while for our edamame to arrive but a lovely waitress chased it up for us. Edamame is edamame so there isn't much for me to comment on.
Marc and I did spy some other guests eating delicious-looking chicken wings so we ordered some as well. Chicken wings aren't something I normally order but when they're marinated well and cooked right they are very moreish and great with beer.
We had a fun time at Harjuku Gyoza. The environment is perfect for parties and group gatherings. The menu offers just the right blend of alcohol and alcohol-pairing dishes. I like the pork gyoza best but I'm curious about trying their ramen and rice dishes too.