Yoko Dining is the new kid on the dock at Howard Smith Wharves | The Gourmand & Gourmet

Yoko Dining is the new kid on the dock at Howard Smith Wharves

HSW keeps getting hit after hit.

Just when you thought Howard Smith Wharves couldn’t get any tastier, then comes Yoko Dining, the retro Japanese restaurant and bar Brisbane was absolutely missing!

Opening Thursday, November 21, Yoko Dining is the brainchild of Jonathan Barthelmess (the legend who brought us Greca), and is inspired by his past experiences in Japan. With executive chef Ben Russell, formerly of Aria, at the helm and Kitak Lee, who previously cooked at Cho Cho San, Kisumé, and Momofuku in the kitchen, you know these fellas aren’t playing around.

Diners can expect to find light and fresh fare on offer, a perfect palette to match Yoko’s waterfront position. Start with the raw bar where you’ll find the likes of scallop with yuzu kosho and silken tofu to hiramasa kingfish with sesame and cucumber before rolling into classics like gyoza and steamed buns.

Meatier options include stuffed calamari, charcoal chicken with sansho pepper, grilled reef fish with ponzu, and pork kakuni bo ssam with all the fixin’s, to name but a few. Vegetarians won’t be disappointed, either, with kimchi okonomiyaki, miso-glazed eggplant and salads of silken tofu with tomato all sure to be crowd favourites. Round out the night with a matcha soft serve or classic shaved ice with kinako and caramelised pistachio, and you’re onto a winner.

When it comes to the drinks menu, she’s a hefty one. We’re talking over 100 hundred wines with enviable whisky and sake offerings as well. Complete with quirky cocktails like the Yoko Spritz with yuzu, passionfruit and prosecco to a pina colada slushie with rum, pineapple, coconut and shiso we think we’ve just fallen in love.

The décor at Yoko will see diners relax in an expansive dining room with river views and outdoor seating to capitalise on the knockout view. An open kitchen will bring the Japanese vibes and create a bustling atmosphere. Upstairs will feature a mezzanine bar with a dedicated DJ space where there’ll be sweet vinyl spinning all night long.

Fabulous Japanese fare, vinyl bangers and cherry blossom daiquiris? Yeah, we don’t need convincing either – Yoko Dining opens Thursday, November 21!

Words by Nikki Shields
- the gourmand who's found her matcha made in heaven