Although Juliett has an Australian flag displayed in the window, it doesn’t initially seem to have much to do with the land down south. Instead, it has an extensive menu similar to many other modern fusion restaurants in Japan: pizzas, pastas, omelet rice and desserts. The connection with Australia becomes a little clearer when you reach the meat section of the menu; like Australia, Juliett loves steak.
There is a range of cuts to choose from, including rump (¥1,000), sirloin (¥1,300) and Australian wagyu (¥1,500). If you want rice with your meat, you’ll need to order a set meal for an extra ¥300, otherwise the only thing that will come with your steak is a smile from the wait staff. You can select how you would like your meat cooked, but it will always be served precut into tasty bite-size slices — don’t expect a big chunk of steak.
Juliett’s wagyu is reasonable, exceptionally soft and juicy — to the point where the sirloin and rump seem chewy and dry in comparison. Although delicious, it is not in the same league as Japanese brand beef such as Kobe or Hida, which have fat evenly marbled throughout. Juliett’s Australian wagyu, though significantly cheaper and less marbled with fat than a Japanese steak, still tastes amazing.
What makes Juliett unique is that all of the steaks, including the wagyu, have a halal option, which explains why the restaurant has become so popular with Nagoya’s Islamic community.
Although Juliett offers a halal menu and an extensive menu of non-alcoholic drinks, it serves a great selection of draft beers, cocktails and some high-end spirits, such as Highland Park’s 18 Year Old Whisky.
Aside from the liquor and meat, the only other thing that makes Juliett Australian is its wine selection, which tends toward antipodean producers. Bottles start at ¥2,000.
Finding somewhere more family friendly than Juliett in downtown Nagoya is no easy task. We went on a busy Saturday night with a gang of noisy toddlers, and the staff were not only accepting of the mayhem, they joined in by playing with the kids.
Surprisingly, the connection between Juliett and Australia extends beyond wine and steak. Australia is a Western leader in producing and establishing standards for halal meat, thanks to its Australian Government Authorized Halal Program, which ensures that such meat labeled is suitable for Muslims to eat.
2-4-2 Kaminagoya, Nishi-ku, Nagoya, Aichi; 052-508-9909; nearest station, Joshin; open 5 p.m.-midnight; English menu; dinner ¥2,000-3,000 per person including drinks. For more details, visit www.juliett.nagoya.