Jonathan Barthelmess’ much-awaited Yoko Dining has launched at Howard Smith Wharves, offering an experience reminiscent of Tokyo’s vibrant izakaya scene.
It’s the second Brisbane venue for the established restaurateur who also owns Sydney stalwarts Cho Cho San, The Apollo and Greca, as well as The Apollo Ginza and Greca Brisbane.
Chef Kitak Lee brings his pedigree (Cho Cho San, Kisumé, Momofuku Seiobo) to the kitchen, delivering a seafood-leaning menu. A hibachi grill takes centre-stage, but there’s also a raw bar with sashimi, tempura, gyoza, tempura, noodles and salads.
Designed to share, bigger plates include tonkatsu, a selection of premium Wagyu and grilled reef fish in ponzu. Matcha soft serve, ice cream mochi with miso caramel and shaved milk ice give dessert a playful edge.
To wash it all down, yuzu slushies, wine on tap and a 100-strong wine list will round out the drinks.
Long-time Barthelmess collaborator and interior architect George Livissianis is behind the ‘retro-futuristic’ feel to split-level bistro.
Blond American ash plywood is juxtaposed against the wharf’s original timber framework, honouring both the Howard Smith Wharves’ heritage and contemporary Japanese design. The space takes its cues from minimalist Japanese aesthetic, before adding a 80s-style futuristic lighting and pops of colour. From Yoko’s mezzanine-level bar and dining space —highlighted with colour accents, found objects and sensory lighting — a bird’s-eye view of the lower level lets patrons take in busy restaurant scenes.
Yoko Dining is open Monday—Friday from 12pm to late and Saturday and Sunday from 11.30am to late.