Food Drink

FIRST LOOK: Niku House unveils late-night Japanese Yakiniku experience in Adelaide’s CBD

New Japanese Yakiniku bar and restaurant Niku House has opened in Adelaide CBD’s South with a focus on high-quality Wagyu and Sake.

The team behind the well-known eatery, The Donburi House, has launched a new establishment: Niku House bar and restaurant, introducing Japanese Yakiniku to the southern CBD. “Niku” (肉), meaning “meat” in Japanese, captures the essence of Niku House serving exceptional quality Wagyu.

Co-owned by Sherry Peng, Lulu He and Ping Liew, the concept behind the new venture revolves around yakiniku, a Japanese style of barbecue where diners cook thinly sliced meat and vegetables over charcoal grills built into the tables.

What sets Niku House apart is its exclusive focus on Wagyu beef, particularly the rare and esteemed Stone Axe Wagyu. Stone Axe’s award-winning Wagyu is of the highest possible quality, free from artificial growth hormones and fed quality produce grown by Australian farmers.

While the company was founded in the early 1990s, the herd maintains 100% Full Blood Japanese Black Wagyu genetics, resulting in beef of the highest possible quality – the definitive taste of Australian Full Blood Wagyu.

“Stone Axe Wagyu is a rare find. It’s not something you’ll stumble upon in most restaurants in Adelaide. Unlike other Wagyu varieties that can be quite heavy, this one’s different. It’s not as rich as other varieties so you can keep on eating it. It’s exceptional quality Wagyu,” Ping tells Glam Adelaide.

The menu at Niku House is obviously a celebration of that Wagyu, with offerings ranging from premium cuts like chuck eye roll to short ribs to wagyu beef oyster blade. There’s also innovative small plates like aburi cheese chili tofu and seaweed salad. For seafood lovers, tiger prawns with chili butter and scallops with truffle salt provide delicious options beyond the Wagyu fare.

As you step inside Niku House, you’re immediately transported into a realm Japanese pop-culture. The backdrop is an animated canvas of neon art, creating a dynamic contrast against the dark walls. You’ll spot characters and elements of anime, with a floor-to-ceiling neon artwork of Totoro, who serves as the mascot for Studio Ghibli and is recognised as one of the most popular characters in Japanese animation.

“Everything is black with beautiful mood light, we also have neon floor-to-ceiling signs. It’s a very different feel which we think people will love,” he says.

However, the real star of the show at Niku House is the dining experience. Every table features its own charcoal grill, where diners can experience the unique flavours that come from grilling over high-quality Australian hardwood charcoal and fruit hardwood (which gives the dishes a sweeter taste).

Ping highlights the difference between Japanese yakiniku and its Korean counterpart which is popular in Adelaide. “The difference between Japanese BBQ and Korean is we use good quality charcoal and the Hibachi grill which is like a mesh compared to a gas hot plate. This gives it completely different flavours.”

As for drinks, Niku House doesn’t disappoint. There’s an extensive selection of high-end sake (Japanese rice wine) flown directly from Japan, along with Asahi on tap, a variety of cocktails and mocktails, straight whisky and more. “If you buy Sake by the bottle, we will actually keep the bottle behind the bar for you for your next visit,” Ping says.

Drinks are an important element of Niku House, as the venue is also equipped with a bar, and stays open for late-night dining and drinking options. “We’re here until whenever you’re ready to call it a night. The ambiance really kicks in after the sun goes down,” he says.

Niku House isn’t the only venture under Ping Liew and his co-owner’s belts. The Donburi House, which opened in 2019, offers a different yet equally delicious experience. Specialising in donburi bowls, the restaurant emphasises quality ingredients and traditional Japanese flavours.

Expect this time, it’s bringing something new to Adelaide. “I think what we’re doing [at Niku House] is very unique. We’ve only been open for a few week and already people have come back numerous times and love the quality of the meat,” Ping says.

Niku House Yakiniku
Where: 112 Sturt Street, Adelaide
When: Monday -Thursday 5pm-1am
Friday – Saturday 5pm – 1:30am
Sunday 5pm-10pm
Instagram: @nikuhouse_adl
Book: Click here

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