Looking to chow down on some tasty yakitori in Melbourne? Friend, you’ve come to the right place.
Yakitori is a much-loved Japanese dish, desired for its succulent flavours, delightful texture, and, of course, that mouth-watering sauce. If you’ve not a clue as to what yakitori is, fear not; we will hold your hand presently and, in a mere two paragraphs, quickly run you through the background of such a wonderful snack.
The dish is, at the basic level, grilled chicken on a skewer. No matter how sheltered your existence has been prior to feasting your eyes upon this blog post, we’re fairly sure you’ve tasted chicken from a skewer before. So what’s the big deal? Whether its satay in Sri Lanka or Souvlaki in Greece, cultures all over the world are mad for the practice of skewering chicken and grilling it to flavour-town. Well, to start, the skewer itself is a little bit fancy, usually crafted from bamboo or steel. Once skewered, the chicken is grilled over a charcoal fire, and a delicious tare sauce is added.
Too hungry to read on? Check out our menu or book a table!
Further differences in the cooking process come from the early origins of the dish; typically yakitori would be cooked on portable charcoal grill, which reflects the background of yakitori as street food. Nowadays, there are devices in many Japanese homes specifically for cooking yakitori. Regardless of whether cooking at home or away, it is typical for the chicken to be diced into small chunks before grilling. In terms of flavour and texture, charcoal grills undeniably give a far richer texture and flavour thanks to the smoke and the higher levels of heat lending a crunchy texture to the skin.
Yakitori skewers for all!
Yakitori is as versatile as it is tasty, and can be seasoned to taste either sweet and salty or savoury. If opting for sweet and salty, diners will receive their yakitori glazed with tare sauce – a Japanese favourite made from mirin, sake, sugar and soy sauce, which tastes just as amazing as all those ingredients sound. The options don’t end there though; everybody is different, and in line with the diner’s preference, yakitori may be served with spices including black pepper, wasabi, cayenne, shichimi, and loads more.
Roam across Japan like the wondering Ronin of old, and you will find many an izakaya serving up yakitori. In fact, it’s one of their staple menu items (and one of ours, too!) However, outside these cosy eat-and-drinkeries, yakitori is also dished up in restaurants and specialised, dedicated shops called ‘yakitori-ya’. Elsewhere, the snack is sold at street food markets, festivals and sporting events, loved by chefs for its easy-to-prepare nature, and loved by diners for its succulent, bursting flavours.
If you fancy having a go at preparing yakitori yourself at home, you can check out a pretty great recipe here. The possibilities for improvisation with this dish really are limitless, and yakitori can come in many forms. Chicken breast meat, thigh, meatballs, wings, and far more besides can all be used in cooking; everything tastes good on a skewer!
Of course, there are always going to be those days when you don’t fancy cooking yourself. And on those occasions? Our restaurant can provide! With an extensive menu of tasty snacks and delicious drinks, it’s our mission to provide you with an authentic Japanese dining experience. So if you’ve been searching high and low to find the best yakitori in Melbourne, don’t make your decision until you’ve been to Gyoza Gyoza!
Itching to try Japanese street food in Melbourne? Hankering after a little bit of diced octopus, or perhaps a little tempura? Well, allow us to introduce ourselves. We are Gyoza Gyoza, and while our street-stall days are now behind us, we proudly serve delicious Japanese street food to the hungry masses of Melbourne.
You see, Gyoza Gyoza is a Japanese restaurant inspired by the iconic izakayas of Japan. An izakaya, for those not in the know, is an informal establish for eating and drinking that is Japan’s answer to a British pub, an old timey American saloon, or a tapas bar. You duck inside with your friends, you order from a staggeringly huge menu drinks and delicious bar snacks, and you wile away the hours chatting, imbibing, indulging, and soaking up the ambience.
And when it comes to Japanese street food? We’ve got all the answers at our fingertips (or rather, at the fingertips of our talented chefs). Izakaya-style food comes in small portions, quick to cook, quick to eat, and naturally this has meant that izakayas have developed a strong affinity with street food. Come, let us whip our magnifying glasses together and take a closer look at some of our menu’s star players.
Important Japanese Street Food Case Study Number One: Okonomiyaki
If you don’t speak Japanese and you can pronounce it correctly on the first try, congratulations! (There’s no prize to be won, we’re just impressed.) Okonomiyaki is a favourite among izakaya-goers; a Japanese-style pancake with pink ginger and spring onions, topped with mayonnaise, katsu sauce and bonito. Sound tasty? It is. And we’re not just saying that because we made it.
The beauty of this dish is that, should you be keen for a little variation, you can use a huge variety of ingredients. Much in the same way that you can throw whatever you like on your pancakes or how you can simply keep piling ingredients into a sandwich until your fridge is empty, the word ‘okonomiyaki’ literally means ‘cooked as you like it’.
Important Japanese Street Food Case Study Number Two: Takoyaki
Next dish to be thrust under the microscope is takoyaki. Takoyaki looks a little bit like profiteroles at a glance. However, you’d do best not to make the mistake between the two at meal times. Takoyaki is a traditional ball-shaped Japanese snack, filled with diced octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger and green onion, topped with mayonnaise for good measure. Takoyaki makes for an ideal bar snack as you sit with your friends and regale each other with tales of your office politics; if you all end up losing interest in each other’s meandering tales, you can always solace in lovely takoyaki.
So then: yes, we are not technically on the street. You caught us out, there. But we most definitely do serve up some of the best Japanese street food in Melbourne; you can take our word on that one. And if you still need convincing? There’s only one way to settle the matter.
Come and pay us a visit, and put our chefs to the test!
居酒屋! Fans of fine food and relaxed drinking rejoice: Gyoza Gyoza allows you to experience the cultural bonanza of wining and dining in a Japanese izakaya in Melbourne CBD and beyond!
There are so very many different types of Japanese cuisine available for Australians to experience and indulge in, and izakaya (居酒屋) culture is one of the most fun. What is an izakaya, we hear you cry? It's a type of small, cosy bar and restaurant which is extremely popular all the way across Japan. They’re completely unique in style, exuding effortless cool and inimitable Japanese charm.
In atmosphere, Japanese izakayas are similar to Irish pubs, tapas bars, early twentieth century saloons, and English taverns – that is, they are intimate, comfortable, occasionally boisterous, and they have a rich heritage. If you’re looking for a good time in the city, you won’t be disappointed when you spend an evening at a Japanese izakaya in Melbourne. It’s such a popular culture in Japan for a reason!
The term ‘izakaya’ is actually derived from two separate Japanese terms; the term ‘I’, which means ‘to stay’ is combined with ‘sakaya’ which means ‘sake shop’. Similar to Berlin’s ‘spätkauf’ culture, in which the corner shops and bottle shops allow patrons to purchase and consume their drinks on the premises, izakayas came into being as a result of patrons staying around in sake shops to enjoy a refreshing glass of sake (or three). It wasn’t long before seats were introduced (well, people sat on the empty sake barrels, at any rate), and from there it was only a couple of centuries of slow development that led to the modern izakayas we see lining the streets of Tokyo today, bustling at all hours. Today customers may sit on mats, chairs, or stand, depending on the establishment and its sense of tradition (don’t worry – Gyoza Gyoza has chairs for you!).
In 2019, izakayas are well-loved across Japan as casual places for after-work drinking and tasty snack food. When it comes to food, typically dishes will be small in portion size and affordable, with the emphasis being on sociability. Food and drink are ordered continually throughout the visit, rather than in a one-off order at the beginning; this in part adds to the relaxed feel of a typical izakaya. Similarly, food items are presented as soon as they are cooked, rather than all together, as is more common in Western dining.
Usually the first dishes to be consumed will be lighter and quicker to prepare, such as edamame (green soy beans in a pod) or hiyayakko (tofu with various toppings). Dishes will grow in richness, with the meal usually culminating in a rice or noodle dish. Expect a varied and exciting menu (which you can read in full here), including such treats as karaage (fried chicken), sashimi (thinly sliced raw fish), yakitori (chicken skewers), and yokisoba (noodles). At Gyoza Gyoza we offer even more – oysters, gyoza, tuna tataki and more the eager grip of your chop sticks!
And if you work up a thirst eating all those delicious snacks? Izakayas have you covered. With a range of drinks that typically includes dozens of types of sake, Japanese beers, wines, whiskys and a wild variety of liquors, a brief duck into an izakaya for a snack and a quick drink on the way home from work can soon turn into a lengthy – and memorable – affair.
What does it take to be the best Japanese Izakaya in Melbourne?
We’re done our utmost to create a unique and timeless atmosphere across Gyoza Gyoza’s six branches. If you’re looking to experience the joys and indulgences of a Japanese izakaya in Melbourne or at any of our other restaurants in Chadstone, Westfield Doncaster or Adelaide, we can’t recommend enough that you pay us a visit. A wonderful new experience is just around the corner!
One of the earth’s most sprawling, spectacular, overwhelming, intoxicating and stunning cities, Tokyo is infinitely deserving of a place on any traveller’s bucket list, and is a paradise for food lovers. The city is home to well over 9 million people, and stretches to the horizon in every direction at once. In such a bustling metropolis, one of the world’s true megacities, where the devil can you find a good bite to eat? Fortunately for you, Gyoza Gyoza has all the answers!
Toyuso Fish Market (formerly Tsukiji)
You really haven’t seen a fish market until you have visited the market at Toyuso. Where even just last week, a Bluefin tuna sold for an eye-watering $3 million, Toyuso is serious business to fishermen. You’ll need to get down there early in the morning to see the best of the bartering action, with stalls and restaurants typically opening at 5am and closing around noon. The atmosphere is electric, the pace is rapid, and the food is absolutely delicious.
You’d seen all those photos of the streets that are so impossibly crowded with neon signs that they look ready to collapse under their own gleaming garishness? Yeah, that’s Shinjuku. The district is arguably the city’s most vibrant when it comes to nightlife, be it drinking, eating, dancing, or just about anything else you can think of. Many restaurants are hidden away, too, with countless thousands of eateries hidden away down alleyways and inside the borough’s glittering buildings. You could eat in a difference restaurant every day in Shinjuku alone and be kept entertained for years to come.
Looking for something a little more upmarket? Ginza is the place to head. With eye-popping prices, dining might be only a fantasy for some, but all can browse the many shops and restaurants, and marvel over sights such as $500 melons and $90 apples, all presented in immaculate little fruit boxes. Don’t worry, there are still some cheap eats to be found if you keep your ear to the ground – you can even find $5 dollar meals!
Tucked away in Shinkuju is the Golden Gai, a winding little network of narrow streets home to some 200 izakayas – Japanese bars. These cosy little establishments evoke the richness of Japan’s history, and due to the small size of the bars, it’s practically impossible not to make new friends as you drink and snack the night away.
From ninjas and prisoners to ghosts and robots, if you’re looking for dinner and a show, Tokyo is the place to go. There are dozens of themed restaurants across the city, each one more immersive than the last. Should you pay a visit to the ninja restaurant ‘Ninja Akasaka’, for example, expect to be immersed in Shogen-era madness, as doormen ask you for a secret password, and black-clad waiters sneak up on you with menus. Truly, nowhere does dinner and a show quite like Toyko – which brings us to our final stop…
The Robot Restaurant!
Look, we couldn’t not include this one. Is it a tourist trap? Definitely. Is it tacky? Oh heavens yes. Is the food tasty? Erm, if you like popcorn and chicken wings you’ll be fine. But you don’t go to the Robot Restaurant for the food. You go for the absolutely bonkers spectacle of twenty foot robots fighting dinosaurs, futuristic soldiers brawling with woodland creatures, and Mad-Max style rock bands thundering past atop neon-drenched trucks. If you’re hankering after the finest cuisine in Tokyo, maybe hold onto your money. But if you just fancy a few snacks and a wild show? You can’t go wrong.
Are you searching for the best spot to try some tasty tempura? Gyoza Gyoza can provide. We serve tempura as part of our east-meets-west izakaya dining experience, alongside a menu packed with affordable and delicious treats. While it may be a tad cheeky of us to suggest that we serve up the best tempura in Melbourne, let’s just say we’re quietly confident that once you’ve dined with us, you’re going to want to keep coming back.
If you’re a tempura fanatic and your heading is already swimming with hallucinations of delicious battered seafood snacks, head on over to our contact page and book a table! If, however, you’re new to Japanese food, allow us to take you on a whirlwind tour of everything relating to that most delicious and versatile of snacks, the tempura.
Feeling peckish already? Check out our menu!
Tempura: How did it reach Melbourne?
Widely acknowledged as one of Japan’s national dishes, tempura has been steadily growing in popularity for the last 250 years or so, since the early 1770s. At this time, it was sold as a snack from street stalls and at bustling marketplaces. The recipe was as simple then as it is today- tempura usually only consists of battered vegetables or seafood, deep fried. As a tasty, quick and affordable meal, tempura has grown and grown in popularity. Today, you will find your tastebuds tantalised by options such as tempura with udon noodles, tempura with soba (another noodle variant made from buckwheat flour), or tempura shrimp.
The origins of the meal pre-1770 actually lie far away, on the other side of the earth. Portuguese migrants and sailors who lived in Nagasaki in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries introduced the fritter-cooking technique to the locals, who honed and perfect the method for hundreds of years after.
The recipe is simple, yet an expert hand is required to produce the very best tempura possible – which, incidentally, is why we’re so sure of our excellence at Gyoza Gyoza! A light batter is made first of all, primarily from cold water and soft wheat flour. Extras can be added as the chef sees fit, such as eggs and starch, but these are not crucial. The batter should be mixed only for several second; this leaves imperfections in the batter that give tempura its typical fluffy, bumpy texture – which in turn means extra pockets of trapped flavour!
Now for the frying – and again, it’s a simple process. Thinly sliced veggies or seafood items are lightly rolled in the batter, and fried in vegetable oil (or sesame oil, if you’re aiming to do it the traditional way) for the briefest of moments at around 170 degrees Celsius. Frying can take anywhere between a few seconds to a couple of minutes, depending on the size and weight of the food being fried.
A treat for everyone
So there you have it: tempura is as versatile as it is tasty and satisfying. Tempura is commonly served alongside other dishes, such as udon and soba, or as a donburi, which is typically tempura served with steamed rice and soup. Of course, tempura also makes for a great snack due to its bite size nature, and this is exactly why we serve it at Gyoza Gyoza. Alongside other delicious treats like gyoza, sashimi and edamame. Mouth suitably watering yet? If so, pop on over to Gyoza Gyoza this evening and we’ll cook you up the best tempura you’ve ever tasted!
Japanese whisky bars take their liquor seriously. That’s why, when opening our izakaya-influenced establishment Gyoza Gyoza, we set out to stock its shelves with as many delicious Japanese whiskies, sake, and beers as possible. Our aim was to create an environment that captured the intimacy, familiarity and relaxed atmosphere of izakaya bars in Japan.
Becoming one of the best Japanese whisky bars in Melbourne required us to utilise our knowledge of Japanese flavours, customs and tastes, and to combine them with Australian culture to create an exciting new restaurant and bar combination. Along with our food selection, we have tried to create a drinks menu that contains something for everybody – so whether you’re a beer drinker, a wine connoisseur, a whisky aficionado, a cider lover, or you are seeking to try one of the many dozens of sake we have on offer, Gyoza Gyoza will provide.
Feeling thirsty? Take a look at the drinks menu!
One of our most popular whiskys on offer is Suntory Whisky, a premium Japanese whisky offered in flavours including lemon, lime, lychee, and passion grapefruit. Suntory is a Japanese institution, having produced delicious spirits since 1923, when they opened the country’s first ever distillery at Yamazaki. Suntory produce grain, blended and single malt whiskies, and regularly reveal new limited edition drinks and unique bottle designs, adding to the brand’s palpable elegance.
Although it may seem a million miles from life in Melbourne, Japanese whisky was initially created in an effort to recreate Scotch whisky. This is evident even in the spelling: ‘whisky’, the Scottish spelling, over ‘whiskey’, the Irish version. Early distilleries in Japan were situated at sites with an environment and climate that was similar to Scotland, in order to recreate the exquisite flavours as minutely as possible.
Uniquely Japanese Production
A key difference in Japanese whisky and whiskies elsewhere in the world is the production process. Because distilleries and brands of whiskies may be owned by a hodge-podge of different companies in other countries, the blending process may use combinations of these that reach beyond any one company. However, in Japan whisky companies own particular whiskies as well as the distilleries, which means that a blended whisky in Japan will almost certainly contain only whisky from the distilleries that particular company owns.
Since whisky’s inception in Japan, many critics have suggested that Japanese distilleries have long-since surpassed their Scottish counterparts. Indeed, today if you are searching for the smoothest, most delicious whiskies in the world, Japan is the best country to start your search - or of course, you could save yourself a little money and simply nip on over to Gyoza Gyoza!
Japanese Whisky as a Status Symbol
Over the years, Japanese whisky has become both a status symbol and a staple of izakaya-drinking. Despite its existence in the country since 1923 (and possibly even earlier outside large-scale distilleries), Japanese whisky didn’t truly explode until the 70’s and 80’s. With Japanese industry spreading across the globe and money flooding into the country, Japanese businesspeople would often end a frantic working day with a visit to a whisky bar or izakaya, where they would consume a whisky or three before heading home.
The whisky business in Japan slumped at the beginning of the twenty-first century, with the economy slowing and the consequent decline of businesspeople running wild tending to slow the sale of whisky. However, in more recent years this downward trend has turned around, with new economic success bringing with it a whisky-scented nostalgia for the eighties. In Tokyo today, take a walk through Shinjuku and you’ll once more see suited and booted individuals ducking inside an izakaya for a crisp glass of Suntory after a hard day’s work. Of course, you don’t have to travel to Tokyo if you’re looking to wet your whistle. Come and pay a visit to Gyoza Gyoza!