Yuzu Lounge, Southport

Unless you’ve spent time in Japan, it’s unlikely that you understand the term ‘izakaya’ dining. However we’re very familiar with the idea of having a few drinks and nibbles with friends to unwind after work, so the basic concept of Yuzu Lounge won’t be hard for us to get a handle on!

‘Izakaya’ literally means ‘sitting in a sake shop’, however it’s evolved to mean any type of casual Japanese dining experience where you enjoy sake or beer with friends and are served a range of small dishes to share.

Tapas and izakaya have a lot in common, in fact, Yuzu’s owner, Dai, believes that izakaya food is so similar to tapas, that it could be termed ‘Japas’!

Yuzu 4 How the Japanese izakaya tradition began is as fascinating as the evolution of tapas in Spain. Hundreds of years ago, sake shops began handing out small snacks to customers to entice them to stay and drink more instead of shopping around for better sake elsewhere.  Slowly izakaya evolved, with larger bars opening to cater for the mostly male clientele who wanted to relax after work.

Yuzu Lounge in Southport is a modern take on an izakaya restaurant. It’s a world away from Tokyo in its pace, ideology and venue, a modern open airy space which is flexible enough to operate as a casual restaurant for a quick workday lunch, an affordable restaurant by night, and a tapas bar on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Yuzu 2 Most lunch and dinners at Yuzu are a simple affair: a choice of meat, fish or vegetarian mains for the Bento boxed sets and / or smaller dishes such as salads, grilled meat skewers and sushi which can be eaten in the restaurant or taken away. It’s quick service, value for money food, yet everything in our Bento set lunch is homemade, even the Panko crumb crust on our fish, yielding a crisp crunch to the bite. It’s served with Takikomi Rice (cooked in light soy sauce with Shitake mushrooms, carrots & burdock roots), edamame, pickles and salad. With the smooth nutty flavours of an accompanying Bun organic blend coffee, I’m more than satisfied!

Yuzu 6 The tapas menu is far more extensive, featuring nearly thirty dishes! Although izakaya is generally quite simple food with unfussy flavours to accompany and mop up the alcohol-laden beer or sake you’re drinking, Yuzu’s fare could not be described as typical ‘bar’ food, either in the plate size or in quality. Some dishes give more value for dollar, depending on the price of ingredients.

There’s an organic feel to Dai’s food, as fresh as the yuzu fruit itself, an insistence on high culinary standards, with all the tapas handmade on that day from scratch, small serves of very good quality food. Fresh herbs are used, many grown in Dai’s own garden, including shiso, its fresh, bright taste a perfect complement to fish served as sashimi and sushi.

Yuzu 8 Much of Yuzu’s food is familiar to us: Yakitori chicken skewers, Fried pumpkin croquettes, Meatballs, Agedashi tofu, Gyoza, Takoyaki (fried octopus ball), Okonomiyaki Pancakes, sushi, Karaage Chicken, Salmon or Beef Carpaccio and Teriyaki chicken. Like modern bars in Japan, it shows the influences of many other cultures on modern Japanese cuisine. There are also plenty of lesser known foods providing points of interest to the uninitiated, with the menu changing according to seasonal produce and demand. Although you can BYO wine on tapas nights ($7 per bottle), it’s a great idea to sample a Japanese beer or sake: Kirin or Asahi beer, Kizakura draft, Asabiraki sake, Shochu, or the fruit infused Choya sake (which I can personally vouch for)!

Yuzu Lounge is not the Gold Coast’s first Izakaya restaurant, but it’s a great new addition to the dining scene for a quick, nutritious yet relaxing lunch or dinner; a great place to go on the weekend with friends or family to share a few drinks accompanied by Japanese tapas.

2A, 82 Marine Parade, Southport Ph: 04 0702 0167

Yuzu Lounge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Atmosphere BYO Coffee & Tea Dinner Japanese Licensed Lunch Main course $15 or less Main course $15 to $25 Restaurants Southport Tapas Vegetarian , , , , , , ,

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1 Review

  1. Merlene Ray, 4 years ago

    WoW! Dai Yuzu lounge looks great congratulations and I hope your venture is very successful, and guess what your location is just 2 streets from where i live further up the broad water, I will pop in soon Merle x TSS staffer.

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