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Yoko Dining Is Howard Smith Wharves' Soon-to-Open Waterside Japanese Izakaya and Bar

With wagyu, gyoza and yuzu slushies, it'll take inspiration from Tokyo's lively bars.
By Sarah Ward
September 17, 2019
By Sarah Ward
September 17, 2019

Since opening late last year, Brisbane's Howard Smith Wharves precinct has continued to expand. The spot already boasts a riverfront brewery, an overwater bar and a sprawling Greek taverna, as well as an Art Series hotel with a rooftop pool and a waterside Betty's Burgers. A Cantonese restaurant and bar is on the cards, too — and so is Jonathan Barthelmess' new two-level Japanese izakaya.

Called Yoko Dining, and set to launch in November, it'll mark restaurateur Barthelmess' second HSW venue. The new restaurant and bar will sit next door to his existing Greca restaurant, and take inspiration from his time spent in Tokyo, where his fine diner The Apollo is located.

If you've ever visited the Japanese capital's izakaya and music bars, you'll be well prepared for Yoko Dining. Think tunes spun on vinyl, an upbeat vibe and a retro-yet-futuristic feel both in the downstairs restaurant and on Yoko's mezzanine level. The upper space will also feature a hidden bar and a dining space. Decor-wise, renowned interior architect George Livissianis is jazzing up the heritage building's original timber framework with bursts of yellow, concrete fixtures and blonde wood, plus an interesting lighting design.

Howard Smith Wharves

In the kitchen, Kitak Lee will lead the charge, with the head chef already a veteran of Barthelmess's Japanese joint in Sydney, Cho Cho San. A hibachi (a Japanese charcoal grill) will sit pride of place in the kitchen and a seafood-heavy menu will hero smoky flavours. You'll also find gyoza, noodles, wagyu and roasted duck among the mains — and desserts such as shaved ice kakigori, mochi and sweet waffles.

As for drinks, expect to sip your way through yuzu slushies and wine on tap and in bottles —  from a 100-strong list.

Yoko Dining will open at Howard Smith Wharves, 5 Boundary Street, Brisbane from November. We'll keep you posted with an exact launch date when it is announced.

Top image: Kitak Lee, Jonathan Barthelmess and Executive Chef Ben Russell. Photo by Sarah Marshall/The Photo Pitch

Published on September 17, 2019 by Sarah Ward
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