Harajuku Gyoza, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane - my name is Food.

Harajuku Gyoza, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane

December 31, 2011

Seen a long queue lately around a corner down at the valley..? well, it's not only for clubs nowadays, since this little cute Japanese restaurant bar opened up recently.. it's not your typical Japanese restaurant where you could easily order curry or udon and such.. But instead, it's all about their Dumplings and Beer... "Harajuku Gyoza" literally means 'Harajuku', a hip disctrict in Tokyo where females are usually seen with fun, visual kei, ridiculous, gothic lolita, fashion all inspired by the anime and games world, and as for 'Gyoza', it's the Japanese word for dumpling...I saw photoes around online and heard the hype bout it from friends... so I decided to give it a try one night after my long sunny hot day at the coast...
Luckily by the time I got there wasn't as full as I've seen.. so the queue weren't that long, but the wait was quite long.. They have to wait till a table had finished before they could call out anyone with a party of 2 or 4 or such.. Exterior was very simple with wooden based walls and their cute logo of the dumpling made it attractive and eye-catching..
First thing I noticed when I finally went inside after they had seats available, were the different patterned plates stuck on the walls.. and that's what they gave us when they came over to the tables.. everyone had their own basically specialised plates ;)
You can't see it but these tables and seats were the first thing you see when you step into the place... and each of the lights had words such as "Yum" and "Hai" printed on the lamp shades ..
Menus were given and as they specialise Dumplings and Beer, their menus weren't that long nor were they complicated to read.. It was simple and straight forward... 
Dumplings were either Poached or Grilled and you could choose from Chicken, Pork, Prawn, Duck or Vege... they also sold side dishes, including 'edamame',  'cucumber and miso', 'pickled cabbage' and others... they also had "Izakaya Dishes" which included dishes such as 'chicken karage' like i said, the menus were not much... as you can see from the bottom photo, the foods were on the left side of the menu, then they had some little introduction in the middle and the drinks on the right side of the menu..
These were the different patterned plates that I mentioned before ...

Tissue, vinegar, chilli oil and soy sauce on each of the tables ...
The middle of the restaurant, it kinda reminded me of a sushi train layout due to the squared layout with the chefs in the middle whilst the customers are eating around it, but no waiting and no having to pick out your own sushi, but instead, enjoying your dumplings whilst dipping it into your own-made sauce with the different sauces provided..

A close-up view of the sake bottles they have.. may it be empty or full, it was a good way of promoting and showing their sake brands .. The way that they gave out the sake to those who ordered it was pretty interesting as they would come out like in a group and bring out your sake glass inside a wooden cup holder kinda thing, then they would shout out "Sake! Sake! Sake!" and hold up the big sake bottle, and the chefs in the middle and from inside the kitchen would then reply back in Japanese~~ then they would pour the sake into the glass .. if there were lets say 3 people who ordered sake from the same table, they would shout out before they pour saying from what I heard was "1st sake starting" "2nd.." and so on .. probably their way of telling everyone that they're pouring the first pour, second and third .. it was a good way of getting the restaurant feelings up and hyped ..
Customers varied from what looked liked high schoolers till officeworkers .. 
Ordering was alright, but don't expect the food to come right away as it just takes abit of time.. maybe depending on how busy the restaurant was at the time... well, the first dish that we ordered that came out was the 'Agedashi Tofu'.. The size was not as expected and the price did not really meet with the portion, as usually  from what I know, Agedashi Tofu is usually served with 4 pieces.. But this was only in 2.. The sauce however was nice which helped the texture of the tofu when eaten..
First dumpling !! yiippeee ... this was the Grilled Pork Gyoza .. They served in 5 pieces at $8 .. The skin was soft whilst the inside was chewy .. But it was nothing special ..
The grilled gyoza seemed to be oily ... you can see oil here and there around the plate, maybe i'm guessing it's both a good thing and a bad thing..? They could've drained it better i think ...
Grilled Pork Gyoza ... and bits of oil ..

Next was the Grilled Prawn Dumpling, this was probably the most simplest dumpling.. as it was just basically a piece of prawn wrapped in dumpling skin ... However the skin was nice as it was crispy at the bottom and chewy near at the top ..
If it wasn't that satisfying, then by dipping it in the sauce you made yourself would make it taste better ..
This was the normal boiled pork gyoza .. The skin was just soft ... and they served it in a bowl altogether with black sesame seeds on top to decorate ..
Grilled chicken Gyoza .. I'm assuming that the sesame seeds were suppose to be on top? But instead, it scattered on the left side of the plate ... Taste was just normal yet again ..
More boiled gyozas .. from what I remember, these were the duck and the chicken gyoza ... the only difference you could tell them apart was that one had black sesame seeds whilst the other didnt, and the colour of the filling was one was darker than the other ..
Chicken Karaage time ... Usually Chicken Karaage is big and the batter is crispy.. but this was different, it was small and the batter was different than the others I've tried.. It may not be the best I've tried but it was alright ... Just that the portion was small for an Izakaya dish ..
Overall, I would recommend this place if you wanted to hang out and chat and that ... snacking on dumplings and drinking cold beer or sake ..  but definitely not for your main destination for a dinner or lunch as when my friends and I came here, we all agreed that this was more a snack rather than a proper dinner meal or some sort ... 

Come here, give it a try, chew down those dumplings and drink up !! Remember to try the sake~

Harajuku Gyoza on Urbanspoon

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