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Yoko Dining set to translate the energetic experience of Tokyo’s izakaya culture.

September 18, 2019 Dining No Comments Email Email

Yoko Dining is restaurateur Jonathan Barthelmess’ latest venture, set to translate the energetic experience of Tokyo’s izakayas, music bars and pop-infused counter culture to a raucous split-level bistro on the river at Brisbane’s Howard Smith Wharves, opening in November.

Set over two levels of dining, drinking and fun classics on vinyl, Yoko marries Brisbane’s breezy lifestyle with all the highlights of Japan’s sophisticated and sustainable cuisine restaurateur Jonathan Barthelmess has enjoyed on his many travels to Tokyo.

At the centre of the kitchen led by chef Kitak Lee (Cho Cho San, Kisumé, Momofuku Seiobo) is the hibachi charcoal grill – influencing Yoko’s seafood-leaning menu with smoke and char. Abundant bar snacks such as seasonal gyoza, tempura, plentiful noodles and light textural salads are perfect cocktail partners.

They accompany large-format dishes including whole local fish, a premium wagyu selection and roasted duck, all designed to share between friends over yuzu slushies, wine on tap or bottles from Yoko’s 100-strong wine list. Japan’s signature playful desserts will appear as the meal winds down (or gears up for more) such as shaved ice kakigori, mochi and sweet waffles.

Drawing inspiration from the heritage waterfront space located beneath Brisbane’s Story Bridge, longtime collaborator and interior architect George Livissianis has transformed the “beautiful old shed” on the water into a sensory, intriguing and geometrically designed space. Pops of yolk-hued yellow, concrete and blond timber are juxtaposed against the wharf’s original timber framework.

The resulting space exudes a retro futuristic feel which heightens in intrigue and curiosity as you’re lured up the stairs to Yoko’s mezzanine, a hidden bar and dining space highlighted with more obvious colour accents, found objects and sensory lighting design, offering a bird’s-eye view of the story unfolding below.

Yoko is a place where all formalities are left at the door, where flavour falls in step with frivolity, where everyday concerns are flung into the river, never to distract you again.

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