At The Urban List, we would dine in Tokyo every weekend if we could. While taking a weekly trip to Japan might not be on the cards, finding a slice of Japanese culture right here on our doorstep is the perfect alternative.
We’ve teamed up with Sapporo Draught Beer to bring you Japan On Tap, a guide to the best Japanese everything in Brisbane. Because some days, nothing beats a sashimi platter, some origami, and a freshly poured beer.
Do you ever get the feeling that you had a past life in Japan but you can’t afford the plane ticket to confirm the suspicion? Yeah, same. And in case you were wondering, trying to plug the Japan-sized hole your life with Astro Boy re-runs and instant Miso isn’t going to work forever. What you need is a back up plan with a bit of spunk, and we’ve got just the thing. Eight of them actually.
Before you really lose yourself and the Japanic sets in, abate your desperate need with a gander through some of Brisbane’s best Japanese restaurants and local hot spots. BYO kimono, yeah?
Commonly known as The Pearl of Eagle Street, Saké provides the power player’s ultimate Japanese fix. Their menu is exclusively comprised of top form edible artistry. Not to mention the brimming selection of saké, shochu and beer to offset the headless pleasure like you just swallowed the entire city of Osaka.
These kids understand. Nikyua knows how much Studio Ghibli’s depictions of food messed you up and they’re here to help. The bounteous offerings of their BBQ buffet are pretty darn flagrant such that more than one diner has tried to register Nikuya as a place of worship. Be prepared for lashings of Sapporo, smoky Izakaya, and bulk panko crumbs.
When the hankerings hit, sometimes it takes more than a sushi train to quell the impending anarchy. Enter Izakana-ya Okuman and their transcendent sushi situation; platter on platters of hand-rolled ricey seaweed medallions, each one a bite-sized love letter to your insides.
You’ll get so much more than wasabi and instant miso here. Besides proffering everything you need to throw your own lavish Japanese feast, Genki Mart is also one of the few Asian grocery stores with a liquor license. It’s the best of Japan and the ACT under one roof! Take that, Coles! Toted as Brisbane’s largest Japanese grocery store, Genki Mart means serious business stocking an extensive range of rare products like ama-zake (a gluten, dairy and sugar free energy drink), kelp noodles, and Japanese ice cream as well as pre-made meals to whip out on the couch when you’re run out of damns.
Don’t be fooled by the bike; behind the ostensibly quaint exterior of Bonsai Botanika lurks an even quainter triad of Japanese intensity. If you can get past the entry-level café and tear yourself away from the allure of brownies, Kyoto cold brew, and green tea matcha cake, another TWO WHOLE LEVELS of Japanese feasting awaits where they serve more ramen and chicken katsu than you could feasibly fit in a wagon.
Nonbei Saké Bar
With the bristling Valley scene on its doorstep, Nonbei Saké Bar is the perfect jumping off point for every Japanophile in town. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a brief and tasty tipple or an all-out glorious feast, Nonbei’s library of sakés and Sapporo on tap is just what you need to kickstart an all-night rager.
The Japanese Garden
As bizarre as it sounds, sometimes the orgasmic flavourscapes of the finest Japanese food in Brisbane falls short of the Japanorific enlightenment we constantly searching for. Contact your inner cool with a toddle around the lush and verdant patch of the Hello Kitty homeland at The Japanese Garden; just remember to keep your cool if a water dragon tries to start something.
Camp Hill’s Kobe Butcher has a pretty hectic Wagyu situation, which is just as well because I was getting SO TIRED of filet mignon. This specialty butcher’s Wagyu offers that new perspective the guy from Ratatouille was looking for. Fling the marbled slabs on your sizzling outdoor grill and boom, you’ve reinvented the home BBQ game forever.
Image credits: Ariana Gillrie
Looking for more of Brisbane's best Japanese restaurants? Check out our article Brisbane's Best Japanese Hot Spots!
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