We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Japanese food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. So when a new, perfectly curated eatery bringing the traditional tastes of Japan to Burleigh Heads opens up, we are obviously all about it.
The newbie, Oi Izakaya can be found in the little alleyway off James Street where the Mexi-goodness that is Hail Mary also resides.
It’s the work of local lads Troy Olsen and Stephen Thompson who, along with renowned Gold Coast design genius OJ Thompson (of Ally Chow and Etsu fame), have created something the Gold Coast is going to absolutely love.
The newbie is a low-lit, moody space reminiscent of back alley, Tokyo-style Izakayas with all burnt wood paneling, dark intimate corners and an open-style kitchen, so you can watch the magic unfold.
The bar, at one end fits snugly into the corner and is jam-packed with an impressive array of whisky’s (love you), sake and Japanese beers. Tiny samurai fight for attention on one wall, while a (really quite magical) golden orb shines out from another.
The vibe is the perfect combination of old school Japanese and modern sophistication and we’re big fans.
Menu-wise the eats are refined and authentic, infusing mind-blowing flavours into dishes you’ll never want to stop eating.
To start, sashimi, always. The freshest of tuna and salmon for your tasting pleasure. But also Edamame Cheese Chips, a thing we have never before had the pleasure of sampling but will now order at any and every opportunity. Don’t ask, just order.
The Squashed Cucumber is not only one of the great dish names, it is a great dish. Basically it’s cucumber in plum sauce but the flavours defy that overly simplistic description. Eat it.
Oi Izakaya also have a Sushi Burger on the menu and yes it is indeed stacked like your run-of-the-mill burger but made with sushi. Genius and so very tasty.
Of course, the menus’ pièce de résistance is Okonomiyaki, the dish that made Troy and Stephen fall in love with Japanese eats and the reason we now get to spend all our time at Oi Izakaya.
If you’ve not yet had the pleasure Okonomiyaki is made up of many things including egg, cabbage, flour, Japanese spices and your choice of meat. The dish we sampled was Hiroshima-style (with noodles) and it was the very best variety we’ve ever tasted.
We ate the entire thing and you should order it and subsequently be impressed by how good we are at eating.
To drink, we suggest getting involved in one of the MANY Japanese whisky’s on offer but if straight up isn’t your thing, the Brown Rice Old Fashioned is as good as it gets.
All in all, Oi Izakaya is quite a treat and the perfect addition to Burleigh’s foodie scene and we suggest you get down there at the earliest available opportunity and give the boys some love.
And if you need someone to mentor you in the art of whisky drinking, you know where to find us.
LOCATION: Shop 4-6, 30 James Street, Burleigh Heads
HOURS: Wednesday and Thursday 4.30pm until late, Friday to Sunday 12pm until late
Words and photos by Kirra Smith