A new Japanese eatery for Miami.
A new Japanese eatery for Miami.
They say the little things are actually the big things and that is certainly the case around Miami these days. Everywhere we look, small businesses with big hearts who want to make our city an even better place are opening (to rave reviews mostly) and it’s a really good time to be alive.
The latest little addition to the Miami dining scene is Little Itoshin, literal younger sibling to one of the Coast’s most-loved venues, Itoshin in Mermaid Beach.
It’s quite the institution around here and, when asked their favourite spots to dine, local chefs and restaurateurs always mention the little Japanese gem.
Which is why it’s very exciting news that we now have Little Itoshin in our lives and having been open for just a few short days, the love is already rolling in.
You’ll find the intimate space at the Miami Village Shopping Centre on Mountain View Ave where local legends like That’s Amore, Hide and Seek Espresso and The Good Wolf also reside. It’s a hidden foodie paradise and you know the hidden ones are often the best ones.
Little Itoshin, which we want to but won’t call Little Itty, is raising the precincts’ bar even higher with an eclectic, colour-filled space and a whole lot of soul. Adorning the walls is the stunning work of Claudio Kirac, local artist and co-owner of Art-Work Agency.
Owner Hibiki Ito, a master of the art of Japanese cooking, designed the space himself finding vintage chairs and tables and eclectic little decorative pieces to enliven the space. The floor is tiled in black and white and a bar takes up one corner, overlooking Hibiki at work.
We recommend perching there if possible because watching him work, with precision and a unique artistic flair is quite the mesmerising experience.
Japanese are some of our absolute favourites and the Little Itoshin menu is a special one. Hibiki has created it with the intention of making every dish both healthy and (of course) extremely tasty. Which they certainly are.
The Beef Tataki was a firm favourite with perium (melt in your mouth) eye fillet, Celtic sea salt, button mushrooms, shiso, yuzu kosho, GF ponzu and garlic chips – to name a few ingredients.
We also loved the Okonomiyaki which is a pancake made out of shredded cabbage, spring onion, chikuwa fish cake and fresh corn with dashi butter and topped with mushrooms and prawns. The toppings for this one will change seasonally so you can order it every time you go. Taste sensation.
There’s also a dish called Temaki, or open sushi, and you may choose your topping and either lettuce or nori as a wrap, dip it into your soy sauce (or Wasabi if you’re brave) and away you go.
Hibiki is also using gluten free soy sauce and his (epic) Karaage Chicken is also gluten free in the interest of everyone getting to taste all the epic things. Oh and you can both eat in or takweaway all of the goodies.
Drinks-wise there’s a perfectly paired wine menu and a list of exceptional mocktails for those who don’t want a drink but also want to feel like they are drinking.
All in all, it’s the perfect new addition to our little foodie scene and we think you’re gonna love it.
LOCATION: Shop 6/110 Mountain View Ave, Miami
HOURS: From 11.30am until 2.30pm and 5.30om until 8.30pm Wednesday to Saturday
Words and photos by Kirra Smith
There aren’t enough words in the world to describe the sky high levels of inspiration, creativity and general good vibes Claudio Kirac brings to the Gold Coast (but please, read on and you’ll get the gist).
He’s an artist, photographer and designer who has travelled the world to make magic with some of the biggest brands out there but, lucky for us, he calls our golden shores home. Over the last few years he’s worked closely with HOTA, Bleach* Festival and Festival 2018, to name a few, but his most recent project is a little closer to home.
We sat down for a chat with the absolute legend that is CK about his agency Art-Work’s epic new creative space and why the Gold Coast has become a well-oiled arts and culture machine.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I have been on the GC for most of my life, was not born here, but definitely consider myself a die-hard local.
What do you love most about our beautiful city?
The small country town feel with some of the luxuries of a big city. The GC’s connection to nature is one of our most valuable assets and a definite game changer when it comes to quality of life and enjoying where you live.
Tell us your exciting news…
Our agency, Art-Work (AW) has climbed some big mountains in the past few years, from the strength of our collaborators to our internal creative and business mindset, you could say we are growing. With growth comes challenge and change, and your daydreams eventually manifest into something that is greater than you could possibly imagine. So, we have combined all our experience and knowledge, dipped our big toe in, and are creating a physical home for Art-Work, a multi purpose space for Design and Dreaming, right in the growing creative hub of Cronulla and Karen in Mermaid Beach
What will you have going on in the new space?
Our new creative space, the AW World HQ, will be our daily go-to for all of our creative production. It’s a blank canvas of sorts that we can use to experiment, play and grow ideas for the years to come – business in the front and dancing in the back. On a daily basis it will serve as our design office, with space to do photography and video production, contemporary art and creative consultation, with a vision to host exhibitions, industry gatherings and workshops from time to time – the space will be by appointment only, but you are welcome to drop by with coffee, tacos or wine anytime.
Tell us about your career journey so far, where did you start and how did you end up here?
I have always lived and loved art, from a 15 year history working in the surf industry, to jumping out on our own with Art-Work to work on the projects we love, it has been such an inspiring journey. I started AW with my long-term colleague and friend Paul Bow almost seven years ago now, from humble beginnings to trailblazing new territories; we are the perfect blend of creativity and commerce. My wife Laura Strange has brought such a new light to what we do across digital, design and strategy, that I find myself learning new things every day, which is one thing that we, as humans and designers, should never stop doing.
No doubt there have been many highlights, what are some favourite career moments?
The ultimate highlight is everyday when I pinch myself and am grateful for being able to be creative and get paid for it, also travels to far away lands of sunshine and snow and the memories and friendships we create along the way are experiences you will never forget.
Where do you find inspiration as such a creative guy?
I used to devour a lot of print collateral – still do, but much less – AW has an amazing design library BTW. I have to sometimes force myself to look beyond the pages of Pinterest, as it is veritable minefield of collated, curated craziness! These days a calm mind, a jump in the ocean and good verbal download helps to put things into perspective.
What are your thoughts on the Coast’s growing arts and culture scene?
The arts and culture scene on the GC is now a well oiled machine, compared to where we used to be five, 10 even 15 years ago now, the term ‘Cultural Wasteland’ never even entered my mind, although it’s taken a long and winding road to get to where we are now. With independent galleries through to HOTA and ongoing support from government infrastructure, I feel it is now at the perfect place to go next level and be taken seriously, with a community of talented creative hearts and minds to help tell the story.
What else would you like to see happen?
For artists and designers to stay here and embrace the ride.
What’s the plan for the rest of 2018?
We have had ridden a crazy wave this year, all the way from the beginning with HOTA, Bleach* and Festival 2018 through to working on creative content with our favourite locals at Dwell Store. Now over the hump with launching our new space and embracing the neighbourhood vibes we have some super exciting projects on the horizon across photography, video, brand and mural work to round out the year, but not before Laura and I head to the USA for a month long road trip of culture, food and good times!
Best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
Wait for the moment, but do it now.
Favourites on the Coast:
Beach: From Cooly to the Spit, there’s nowhere like it on this planet!
Cafe: I’d have to throw my favourite Mermaid Beach locals in the hat, the best from All-Time, Hula Girl, Le Cafe Gourmand and Door 50 – you can’t go wrong
Restaurant: LUPO, Itoshin, Harry’s and Justin Lane for the cross section of good local cuisine
How does your weekend usually look? Up for the early or sleep in, depending on what’s on the cards, walk to get coffee and start from there. We sometimes work on Sunday because it doesn’t always feel like work. I like to cook, catch up with family and friends, reset and plan for the week ahead. A good schedule makes for a productive week, so the weekend is the time to reflect and refocus.
Get in loser, we’re going shopping (and eating, and brewery-hopping, and sight seeing, and exploring street art, and… you get the idea)
Now you might be wondering why we’re throwing around random movie quotes to kick off this list (in our defence there is a Mean Girls line for *every* occasion) – but if suburbs were Mean Girls characters, Miami would for sure be the one to utter this iconic line. Miami has it all, and it knows it. Take one glance at just some of the epic spots we’ve lined up and you’ll soon see why all the other suburbs wish they could be this cool.
One thing locals know, is the only thing loose in this (top) paddock is only the most scrumptious, buttery baked goods in 4220. Ever since Paddock opened it’s charmingly renovated doors in 2014, locals have been flocking there daily for their much-kneaded Paddock fix.
Reigning supreme as our baked-goods, brunch and lunch hookup ever since, the ex-Queenslander-turned-treehouse-of-our-childhood-dreams has expanded to welcome us and our relentless sweet tooth’s with open arms. With the lush gardens, cottage, loft, rooftop and barn to retreat to, the only thing more extensive than the dining space options is the menu to indulge from.
Where: 20 Hibiscus Haven, Miami
It used to be that Granddads were good for stealing our noses and sneaking us butter candy, but in Miami, Granddad Jacks is good for plying us the finest locally distilled spirits, gin making classes, distillery tours and of course and just an all-round cool haunt to sit back with a top notch bevvy and let our mullets run free. These masterful wizards didn’t amass a whopping 70+ awards by getting distracted by anything other than distilling, so it’s BYO food too (and surely that means more to spend on the good stuff!)
Where: 45 Lemana Lane, Miami
Miami Fish Market
It would be shell-fish of us not to include the absolute pearl that is Miami Fish Market, and we have two words for you: Sashimi box. Soy-n us up, pls! Fin-ally, we have a hook up for the finest and freshest seafood that’s a sure thing (unlike heading home empty handed from your holy grail fishing spot). Also unlike a day on the water, the pros will handle all the dirty work so you can do as much or as little as you like – oysters shucked to order, anyone?!
Where: 1/54 Paradise Ave, Miami
Wine not take those fresh sucked oysters to-go and mosey right on over for a bougie picnic at the picturesque Pizzey park. As one of the biggest parks on the GC, Pizzey is a local icon and hub for sports, clubs, recreation and all round fun times for all ages. There’s an aquatic centre, playgrounds galore, a wheely epic skate park and let’s not forget the off-leash dog area for our four legged BFFs (paw out of five dogs agree Pizzey is the best park for zoomies on the GC)
Where: 80 Pacific Ave, Miami
The Coast’s OG street food night markets that put Miami on the map as a must-visit destination for foodies and live music lovers alike. The first venue of it’s kind to Miami and perhaps even the Coast, Marketta quickly grew to establish itself as a mainstay among the GC scene, bringing good vibes, live music and great food galore via the eclectic creative and cultural hotspot for over ten years now. Our beloved market brings us all our favourite tastes of the world as well as that same buzzing atmosphere that’s favoured by families especially, for rounding up their rowdy broods for an easy night out that everyone can enjoy.
Where: 23 Hillcrest Pde, Miami
UGG Since 1974
With the hotter weather officially taking some mercy on us now we’ve packed away the budgie smugglers and it’s the perfect time to slip into something a little more cosy. Enter, Ugg Since 1974 – churning out wearable warm hugs for your feet since, well, 1974. Don’t be feeling sheepish if you didn’t know they’ve expanded their range to include a huge selection of colours, styles and options to customise – including monogramming (cute!) through to paw-dorable pet accessories (even cuter!) With factory tours running right out of Miami, the only thing better than supporting local, is treating your tootsies to a cloud-nine experience in the process.
Where: 23 Christine Ave, Miami
Ever find yourself struck by the sudden and insatiable urge to don your flanno’s and yeet sharp objects at the wall? Okay so perhaps not, but when your usual rotation of outings is just not cutting it anymore – it might be time to hit up Lumber Punks because you really can’t axe for a better way to get the crew together for some laughs or some fun date night axe-ction. If you haven’t yet tried your hand at the phenomenon that is axe throwing, chop chop – because this is one adventure that brings the axe-mosphere in blades (er, spades, rather). If it’s good enough for Jason Momoa, it’s obvs good enough for us.
Where: 19 Ozone Pde, Miami
Okay, now it just feels like Miami is showing off and 469 (no kidding) google reviews can’t be wrong. At first glance those deceptively colourful trademark stairs might look all sunshine and rainbows, but one thing’s for sure – conquer that climb and you will be rewarded with one of the best vantages on the coast. With stunning views of the coastline from Surfers right down to Burleigh, there’s only one thing left to say: How’s. the. serenity. (and maybe a hearty dose of *heavy breathing* depending on how many times you decide to take on those stairs #cardi-no thanks)
Where: At the south end of Miami (you can’t miss it)
Trader Trove, more like treasure trove. Welcome to Miami’s own worldly homewares haven for those who prefer their interiors on the luxe side – and their swoon-worthy assortment of bohemian inspired home decor, that’s more expertly curated than an influencers insta feed.
We love: a family run local biz with a dreamy selection of ethically minded homewares. We don’t love: that all self control seems to exit our body when we visit.
Where: 22 Christine Ave, Miami
You no longer need a certified 90’s banger to be proclaiming ‘fergalicious (so delicious)’ because ever since Fergs moved to town we’ve had an excuse to be saying it daily. For the unacquainted – f.e.r.g.s aka Fresh Eats Really Good Sh*t – has been dishing up breakfast and brunch much to the delight of southern GC, with all the staple brunch suspects you’d expect, but also the likes of Lemon Meringue Crumpets and really, need we say more?
Where: 2/43 Hillcrest Parade, Miami
It’s no secret us Gold Coasters are quite partial to doing what we can to our put our best #lewks forward, and over the last few years the streets of Miami have also been undergoing somewhat of a glow up themselves (and #spoileralert – there’s no filler to be found here folks). If it’s been a while between visits, it might surprise you to learn the suburb is at the heart of a thriving GC art and cultural boom, with a bunch of incredible artists transforming the local laneways into a destination in and of themselves. There’s even the Art Roll website dedicated to mapping out the best routes for your own self-led street art tour.
And the event that started the movement, Surface Festival returns for it’s third year this July, set to transform the local footpaths, fence lines, laneways and walls with some art-mazing fresh new works to admire and we’re here. for. it.
Where: Check the Art Roll website for locations
Precinct Brewing Co
If you’ve worked up a thirst just reading this list – last but by no means least is everyone’s (yep, we called it) favourite brewery, Precinct Brewing Co. Once you’ve stepped through the doors you’ll be welcomed into a sleek, all-white space with greenery dripping from up high, and an absolute slew of tanks brewing up some tasty treats. You can see why people say, it’s the place to beer! Don’t forget to grab one of the tasty pizzas coming from the onsite kitchen too…
Where: 17 Christine Ave, Miami
How good is making new friends in a sweet, good time space while pretending to work but really just watching animal docos? So good, gang.
In an (un)surprising turn of events, you can now do all of those things at the Coast’s sweet new co-working and events space in the suburb that may just be our new fave – Miami.
The gist is this. Lemana Lane is a kind of urban, cool kids paradise that was once only home to mechanics and warehouses hording who knows what. Now though, it’s a place you definitely want to be, what with the recent opening of Hotel Miami and a coming soon gin distillery.
Hotel Miami’s creators realised the areas potential far before the rest of us, nabbed themselves a warehouse space and filled it with all kinds of goodies. There’s velvet couches, handmade desks (ask ‘em how that went down) perfect for Insta-snaps, a dartboard and best of all, a Yamaha parked right in front of a neon sign that reads “fuck yeah”.
Oh and there’s a photo studio too. See, good times.
The idea was to open a space that would allow co-owner Nick to escape from the confines of his bedroom and a cat whose actual name is Winston Smushface.
Jokes. It was so Nick, along with his fiancé Jessie (the boss) and mate Darran, could create a place to hang out with other creatives, “work” on their various other businesses and create a fun little Miami community. They adapted a community event they used to attend in Venice Beach where local businesses would come together and showcase their goods while also making rad new friends.
The point is, you can rent one of those handmade desks for a day or on a fulltime basis (recommended for bulk good times) and there are upstairs offices up for grabs too.
The photo studio can also be hired for any fun projects you’ve got going on and there’s super speedy Internet and everyone’s other favourite thing – air conditioning.
As of April 6th there’ll be an event on the first Friday of every month (dubbed First Friday to make writing about it easier) that’ll showcase local artists and finally bring Gold Coasters the live music we need and deserve.
Whether you’re in the market for a new workspace or not, get down there and check it out, the crew are keen to meet all the like-minded creatives they can muster.
And they’re not bad at hilarious banter either.
LOCATION: 1/49 Lemana Lane, Miami
Words and photos by Kirra Smith