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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!