Saturday, 23 August 2008


After the disaster at Viet de Lites before our last trip to the opera, this time we went back to Ginga, a tried and trusted Southbank dinner spot. Ginga has been at Southbank for as long as I can remember and I've eaten there plenty of times over the years. I should start off by saying that I don't eat a lot of Japanese food. That's not because I don't like it, it's just that the gluten free diet really cuts down my menu options.

Ginga has two parts to it - there is a more formal restaurant, which has some great booths to sit in along the back wall, as well as a more casual, sit outside/takeaway part. It wasn't exactly warm the night we were there, and it was raining, so we sat inside.

Even at 6pm (which is very early in my books to be eating dinner) there were a good few people in the restaurant. When we told our waitress that we had to be out by 7pm, she said it would be no trouble, and took our orders straight away.

My favourite thing about Japanese food is ordering lots of little dishes. If you go with a big group, you get to plough through about half the menu. Tonight there was only two of us, but we still managed a good selection from the menu.

To start with, we had a plate of edamame (soy beans) which were $6.90. I can't go to a Japanese restaurant without wolfing down a few edamame - they are so moreish. They came out almost straight away and were demolished equally as quickly.

I ordered the maguro (tuna) sashimi ($16.00). I didn't used to be the biggest fan of sashimi, but I've had some really fantastic sashimi at Sakura and now I'm hooked. The sashimi came out as about 5 pretty big chunks of tuna, served with a soy based dipping sauce and some wasabi. I don't think it was as good as Sakura's sashimi, but it was tasty nevertheless.

Keeping on an (almost) raw theme, next I had the beef tataki ($12.90) which was served with ponzu sauce and pickled ginger. I also ordered some steamed rice ($2) with the beef tataki, as I didn't know how big the serving would be and I didn't want to have my stomach grumbling during the opera. Beef tataki is beef which is only just seared around the outside, then sliced very thinly. It was delicious.

Our meals were being brought out as soon as they were cooked, which is exactly what we needed for a quick getaway. We also ordered the Shojin bento ($19.00), which is a tray made up of vegetable tempura, steamed fresh vegetables & tofu, vegetarian sushi, miso soup and steamed rice. The vegetable tempura was probably the winner from the bento plate with delicious fresh pieces of broccoli, mushroom & asparagus. The miso was also particularly good.

Like any good Japanese restaurant, there are plenty of other things to choose from. The menu is split into sashimi, sushi, maki sushi (nori rolls), temaki, salads, robata yaki (grilled meals), tempura, noodles, sets, hot plates, bento and a few dishes which are called a la carte.

There is a fairly compact, but good, wine list. We had a couple of glasses of the Jim Barry Watervale riesling ($7.50 a glass) which was a great match for my raw fish and beef. We also had a yuzu sour ($8.90), which was vodka with yuzu juice (or some kind of yuzu drink). The yuzu sour was a super drink - sour, tangy and refreshing. It would be hard to stop drinking them on a hot summer night, believe me.

Service throughout the night was excellent. Our food came out extremely quickly. A waitress was never far away, and our bottle of water was replaced with another as soon as it was empty.

Ginga is a good, reliable option for lunch or dinner at Southbank. It's deservedly popular with both locals and tourists. That's why Ginga is still going strong after all these years.

What does all this mean? A great selection of Japanese food at reasonable prices, with excellent service.

food bling ratings
Food - Good
Service - Great
Ambience - A Japanese feel inside or relaxed outdoor seating (try to sit in a booth)
Value for Money - Good
Wine - Compact, but good selection
Vegetarian - Good

Ginga Japanese Restaurant
Shop 11-12, Little Stanley Street
South Bank 4101
P - 07 3846 2313
W -

Ginga on Urbanspoon


coeliac said...

if you are coeliac, try Wasabi Sunshine Beach for the best Japanese food in QLD. 99% of dishes can be made gluten-free if you ask (they just make new sauces with tamari instead of soy) and the tempura can be gluten free too with no hasssles.
The noodle dishes can be served with rice instead. The only dish that cannot be made gluten-free is the gyoza dumplings.

Jacqueline said...

Ginga are soon to open a new store at the Emporium, Fortitude Valley. I eagerly await it with anticipation!!