I’ve walked past the George Street Pepper Lunch restaurant many many times since its opening in 2007. Even after another franchise opened up at Harbour Street, I still never found the right occasion to pay it a visit.

One day not too long ago, I was at an event at The Entertainment Centre and so with an appetite for something quick and easy, and a hankering for something new & different, Zen and I finally stepped into Pepper Lunch.

The restaurant name makes absolutely no sense as it opens for dinner as well as lunch… And there’s more to the menu than ‘pepper’ flavoured foods!

So what is it
Pepper Lunch is a popular franchise with over 200 restaurants in Japan and many others around other parts of Asia. The concept behind Pepper Lunch is DIY fast-food steak, made possible with specially designed hot metal plates that are heated to 260°C by an electromagnetic cooker.

Pepper Lunch restaurant on Harbour Street Sydney

Show me the food
The menu ranges from $8.90 for a standard beef “Pepper Rice” and goes up to $16.80 for the “Tokusen” rib eye. Plus for an additional $3.50 on top of the sizzling plates, you can make it a meal with a bowl of rice and miso soup (or soft drink).

It’s a bit dearer than typical fast food, but it does taste a hell of a lot better!

You order at the counter and within minutes, food is brought to your table.

My Hitokuchi (bite-sized) cut steak smells magnificent on arrival. It quickly sears, sending out a wave of drool-inducing smoke.

The idea is to cook the steak to your liking, so quite quickly, I get mine to a perfect medium. I also ‘stir-fry’ my beansprouts into the steak juices and soy & garlic sauce.

The steak is as anticipated – deliciously tender and flavoursome!

Pepper Lunch Sydney - rib eye pepper rice

Zen loves his Japanese curry so has the hamburger curry. It doesn’t look as appealing but I’m assured it is tasty.

Pepper Rice - hamburger curry rice

Would I come here again?
Yes, probably, if I ever were in need of a quick feed around the area. There’s something quirky and loveable about all things Japanese. Plus it’s a great alternative to fast food… Although keep in mind it’s not fast-food-cheap either.

Where can I get it
There are currently two Pepper Lunch restaurants in Sydney:

Pepper Lunch
Web: pepperlunch.com.au/eng/


86/78 Harbour Street, Haymarket, NSW
Phone: (02) 9211 8801

Pepper Lunch on Urbanspoon

537 George Street, Sydney, NSW
Phone: (02) 9264 3222

Pepper Lunch on Urbanspoon

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Jennifer is the founding blogger of I Ate My Way Through (originally, Jenius.com.au). Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. When not running her two companies (she is also the Managing Director of The Bamboo Garden online marketing agency), Jen can be found exploring old-world charms at vintage markets and delving into local eats around the world. She has a weakness for fried chicken.
  • Have only been tempted once to eat here, but they were full so went somewhere else instead. Looks quite okay though so may try it one of these days.

  • Fun! I love interactive dining experiences! 🙂

  • Oooo this looks like fun! The price is reasonable too

  • I always wondered about this place. Looks like it could be a fun eat.

  • Ahhhh Pepper Lunch. I admit, I was a bit apprehensive at first as well when my friend tried to bring me there too. Then I had it again when I was living in Singapore for a month and it was pretty good! Glad to hear you’ve found an alternative place to visit for a quick bite next time you’re in the city. Happy eating! =)

  • I was always curious about this place, I thought the name was hilarious but had no idea what it was. Thanks for the explanation, I’ll have to give it a try.

  • Looks like a place to try for the different experience.

  • Cool concept 🙂 will have to check it out

  • I love Pepper Lunch. It used to be my go to place when I was in uni. Cheap and good! Mmmmmm.

  • I’ve always wondered what this place was about. Normally I pop into Menya Mappen next door. Will take a sharp turn to the left and try this place next time I’m on George Street and need lunch 🙂

  • Never heard of this place before. Sounds like a decent solution for a quick but not terrible meal.