• What happens when the guys behind an Intstagram-famous dog decide to open a gyoza bar? Well, nothing boring, that’s for sure. (Josef Gatti.)Source: Josef Gatti.
Chotto Motto brings Hamamatsu-style gyoza to Melbourne - melted cheese optional.
Melissa Leong

23 Apr 2019 - 11:49 AM  UPDATED 23 Apr 2019 - 11:49 AM

At some point, good mates who hang out a lot inevitably have a conversation that goes a bit like this: "Hey, one day, we should open a bar!"

Though few have the chops to pull it off, Melbourne restaurateur Tomoya Kawasaki and designer Dylan Jones seem to have this idea in the bag - or in their case, pizza box.

Pizza or gyoza?

Their dream to open a gyoza bar is their second collaboration, the first being the insanely successful Instagram meme page @tofupupper about a Shiba Inu who delivers motivational encouragement to his 142k followers in both English and Japanese.

Taking a leaf from Tofupupper's book 'You can do it!', the pair decided to bring yaki gyoza, a specialty of Japan's Hamamatsu in Shizuoka prefecture, to Melbourne.

Chotto Motto will satisfy your gyoza cravings.

The cooking technique for these gyozas are similar to Chinese potsticker dumplings. They are steamed then fried to create an ultra-crisp edge while maintaining the succulent pastry and juicy filling.

The result is an artfully fanned-out cluster of dumplings, connected by a lacy, golden 'wing' of crunch. It's texturally delightful; crunchy, tender and juicy, all in one bite. The process of cooking each order takes around 20 minutes from pan to perfection, so be prepared to wait for something this good.

It's not all gyozas.

"I haven't seen much of this style of gyoza in Melbourne, so we wanted to open a shop that specialises in it," says Tomoya-san. "Gyoza is something really popular with everyone in Australia, but I wanted to put some Aussie culture into it and serve it like a pizza," he adds. Melted cheese on a plate of gyoza? Don’t knock it till you've tried it.

"Gyoza is something really popular with everyone in Australia, but I wanted to put some Aussie culture into it and serve it like a pizza." 

It's a fusion of styles, but that's what Japanese culture does so well. Japan's interpretation of western culture has resulted in everything from world-class baseball to katsu sandwiches, and the world is better for it.

Fun food at Chotto Motto.

Tomoya-san's contribution to the Melbourne food scene spans over 16 years, starting with his first Collingwood eatery Wabi Sabi Salon and then Fitzroy's Neko Neko, home of some of Melbourne's best vegan ramen. Tomoya-san's cuisine doesn’t exactly adhere to an authentic approach to Japanese food, rather, what makes it so special is that each venue, including Chotto Motto, takes its creative inspiration from its Melbourne roots as well.

"I was born in Japan, and I grew up in Singapore and Malaysia for a few years before going back to Japan for school," he shares.

"When I was in Japan, all I could do was think about getting out. I didn't appreciate my culture as much while living there. But when I moved to Australia, something changed. I moved here to finish my dream of learning English, but when I got here, I couldn't stop expressing my culture in another country."

Chotto Motto has adapted its Japanese fair for a Melbourne palate.

Chotto Motto continues that passionate expression of Japanese culture in spades.

Part super kawaii bar, dumpling restaurant, museum of kitsch Japanese vintage objects – it's a whole lot of fun wrapped up in one neat little dumpling. The menu naturally showcases gyoza (go with a group and order a 20-piece extravaganza), including fillings that run the gamut from classic juicy pork to cheese-topped fusions.

There are also cartoon-perfect soft serves, icy-cold beers and veggie heroes like crunchy vegan cauliflower karage with Thai basil mayo, which are geared thoughtfully towards the Collingwood-Fitzroy crowd.

No matter which way you look at it, Chotto Motto is, just like its gyoza: delightfully cute, expertly executed, thoroughly unique and totally delicious.


Chotto Motto

287 Wellington Street, Collingwood, Melbourne

5pm - 10:30pm | Mon - Fri

3pm - 11pm | Sat


Love the story? Follow the author here: Twitter @fooderati, Facebook @fooderati, Instagram @fooderati.

Photographs supplied by Chotto Motto, by Josef Gatti

Japanese condiments with confidence
Order with confidence at your local Japanese restaurant (and avoid the awkward napkin spit) with this rundown on which flavourful additions are worth taking.
Meet the queen welcoming Japanese women to ramen
The Ramen Girls Festival is all about breaking through the glass ceiling, one bowl of noodle soup at a time.
The cafe serving up sustainable ideas with their Japanese breakfasts
At Ima Project Cafe, there’s more than meets the eye when you order the avo on toast, the onigiri or the prawn katsu burger.
Soy sauce: Japan's liquid gold
Next time you're dipping your sushi, take a moment to appreciate the years of work that goes into producing a bottle of soy sauce.
Philosophy in a teacup: learnings from Japanese tea ceremony
Japanese tea ceremony is one very deep cup of tea.
When the weather turns cold, turn to Japan’s novelty hotpot
The nourishment of a hot pot meets the novelty of fondue-style dining.
This Japanese YouTuber makes fancy sushi ... for his cat
We want what these cats are having.
Japan’s legendary burnt miso ramen arrives in Australia
Kogashi is the charred, smoky ramen of your dreams.