Bar Yoku

Monday11:00 am – 11:00 pm.

Tuesday11:00 am – 11:00 pm.

Wednesday11:00 am – 11:00 pm.

Thursday11:00 am – 11:00 pm.

Friday11:00 am – 1:00 am.

Saturday11:00 am – 1:00 am.

Sunday11:00 am – 11:00 pm.

20 Welles Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

0210 712 338

The only Yakitori joint in Ōtautahi, Bar Yoku dishes out the traditional Japanese street food in a relaxed and authentic environment. Enter through the hanging curtains into the dim restaurant, and be instantly transported to another world. Here the barbeque stays hot, the Asahi taps run and Sake is poured from lunch ‘til deep into the dark hours.

‘Sharing is caring’ is the motto at Bar Yoku, so naturally the food is the kind that multiple fingers can dig into at once. While the traditional focus of Yakitori (literally meaning ‘grilled bird’) is on chicken, the menu here boasts a number of other meats and vegetarian options as well. No corners are cut on the chook side of things however; the chicken that goes on the grill here comes from Bostock’s Organic Free Range farm and is deconstructed on site by the experienced chefs. Another source of pride at Bar Yoku is the Wagyu beef which is sourced locally from Waitaha Wagyu and been granted the seal of approval in Japan.

While the grilled goodness takes the centre stage here, you’d be a fool to look past the sushi on the menu, which is some of the best you’ll taste in the city. Always constructed from the freshest ingredients and made to order, it’s far from your usual grab-and-go maki roll.

Whatever the time of day when you enter this piece of Japan on NZ soil, expect to discover a cosy atmosphere that’s hard not to love. Find a seat along the open kitchen and watch the chefs master the humble skewer, settle into the traditional low Horigotatsu tables and stretch your legs, or find the perfect nook with a drink and a mate within the bar area.

The interior space at Bar Yoku is constructed entirely from up-cycled wood, and imitates the feel of Shrinrin Yoku, which means ‘taking in the forest atmosphere’, or ‘forest bathing’. The tradition is known to improve overall feelings of wellbeing, so Bar Yoku is dedicated to planting a tree for every table that dines at theirs, ensuring there are more trees in the world for this tradition can continue. Kanpai to that!

Words by Petra Nyman & Photography by Nancy Zhou

20 Welles Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

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