Whenever I go home to Manila, I have a mental list of restaurants I want to visit – not necessarily Filipino food, but old favourites and new openings I can’t experience in Melbourne. Do-it-yourself okonomiyaki (Japanese savoury pancake) joint Dohtonbori is on the list, but I’ve never made it in. Now I can finally cross it off: the first Australian outpost has landed.
The eatery got its start 30 years ago in Japan and now has hundreds of branches, including in Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines. This location in The District Docklands is the brand’s first outside of Asia.
“There’s a debate over the birthplace of okonomiyaki,” says Jenny Mok, Dohtonbori’s general manager in Australia. “Some people say it started in Tokyo, others say it’s from Osaka, where the Dōtonbori district is. Each region does different things; it’s kind of like asking where dumplings are originally from in China.”