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Mermaid Waters welcomes a new, must-try Japanese eatery

Project Tokyo opens, serving the tastiest of modern eats.

Here we are again to discuss a few of our absolute favourite things –you guessed it – exceptional eats and interiors we would like to replicate in our own homes immediately thank you very much.

The latest combination of the two and our most recent eatery crush, can be found in a little place we (and everyone else) like to call Mermaid Waters, where many a great little venue lives and a spot we will now be visiting a LOT more regularly.

It’s called Project Tokyo and it’s an intimate space found in the precinct where Lucky Bao and Nude Sisters Kitchen also reside, bringing the aforementioned exceptional eats and interiors, Japanese-style.

It’s the work of Franz and Geoff, a hospitality guru and chef who have long wanted to open a venue of this variety and we’re pretty happy they did.

The interior is the work of one OJ Thompson, the genius behind Oi Izakaya, Goto Restaurant in Southport and Double Barrel Kitchen (to name a few). It’s made up of moody blues and natural wood with beautiful, authentic artwork painted onto the walls and flags marking the entrance.

It’s pared back, perfectly put together and exactly the type of space we Gold Coasters love.

Menu-wise you can expect modern Japanese dishes from snacks and starters including the always-loveable Edamame, Lotus Root chips and tasty salads to signature dishes and some absolute stunners off the grill.

The Fried Lotus Chips with Miso Kingfish and Salmon Tataki were a standout and one of Chef Misa’s creations so don’t miss out on that one.

We of course, recommend all of the sashimi – Seared Tuna, Kingfish and Seared Salmon, fresh and delicious, yes please. Next up, the Gyoza is some of the best we’ve sampled, so definitely choose a few of those too.

The Duck Harumake was a standout, a crispy little package filled with duck, carrot and wombok and served with sticky Hoi Sin sauce. Loved it.

There’s also sushi, some very delicious tempura dishes, chicken yakitori (skewers) and grilled scallops you’ll definitely want to taste.

For dessert don’t go past the Chocolate Fondant with Green Tea ice cream, it’s next-level.

In conclusion, you should probably try everything and maybe go back the next night to do it all again.

Project Tokyo is that good.

LOCATION: 90 Markeri St, Mermaid Waters
HOURS: Open for dinner Wednesday to Monday and lunch Saturday and Sunday

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

Burleigh Heads scores an epic new Japanese eatery

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.

Oi Izakaya

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

Goto Restaurant

Authentic Japanese food is one of the truly exceptional things this world has to offer and, if possible, we would eat it every single day of our lives. Which is why we are happy to discuss a brand new Japanese eatery that opened in Southport recently and it’s a good one gang.

Opened by Kozo Mitsuyama, former head chef of Reef Seafood + Sushi at The Brickworks in Southport, Goto is a stunningly fitout space at Southport Central bringing a fresh, modern vibe to the northern suburb.

The design is the work of OJ Thompson, whose fitouts you’ve seen at Iku Yakitori Bar and Etsu Izakaya, so you know it’s of the highest quality (and super unique). A table runs down the centre of the space with A-frame style wooden beams holding it in place and reaching from the sky while pendant lights hang down through the middle. Tables around the wall float from the ceiling, also connected to beams and giving the whole space an edgy, fresh feel.

You can also perch at the bar and watch the chefs work their magic in the kitchen using the freshest of fresh ingredients to make up the tastiest of tasty dishes.

Kozo’s plan when dreaming up Goto was t bring the traditional flavours of his hometown of Nagasaki to the Coast with produce, driven dishes using only the highest quality produce.

The signature dish of the coastal Japanese city is champon noodles, said to be the healthier take on ramen, the dish is made with both chicken and pork broths (made fresh daily in-house), plenty of veggies, seafood and noodles. Can confirm; it’s the goods.

There’s also possibly the largest range of sashimi we’ve ever seen on offer including all the usual suspects plus octopus, squid and egg omelette.

You can choose a few small plates to share and we highly recommend Shiokara – salted squid on potato salad and the deep-fried chicken wings with special honey soy sauce.

There are salads, tasty tempura things, Udon noodles and share platters in case you’ve got the crew on board.

To drink, all your fave Japanese beers are available as well as plum wine and sake to accompany the flavour sensations that make up the menu.

Get in there for a five-star Japanese feast.

LOCATION: Southport Central, 9 Lawson Street
HOURS: 12pm until late weekdays and 5pm until late weekends

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

Double Barrel Kitchen

Arriving into Mermaid Waters with guns a blazin’ is Double Barrel Kitchen.


Locking in a killer location in the Waterways Village shopping centre, owner Jess Winters tells me her and partner Peter jumped on the space because as locals themselves, they knew the area’s residents have been itching for a top spot to eat that doesn’t involve going all the way to the Gold Coast HWY. Judging by the Monday lunch crowd, I’d say she was right.

Jess and Peter turned the once Greek restaurant into a smoking new hotspot. Utilizing dark recycled timber, large custom windows, hand picked pendant lights and fresh flowers, the couple have created an intimate space any creature of comfort would be happy to cozy up in.

These cooler mornings beg for a warm inviting space and comfort food, which is exactly what you will find at Double Barrel Kitchen. The Winter Morning Salad will warm you up with winter veggies, warm free range poached eggs and chimichurri. While breakfast is served all day and includes some Aussie classics, the real game changer here is the Brekkie Bao. It’s an Asian inspired dish of quail eggs, thick cut free-range bacon and a soft steamy Chinese Bao bun. As tasty as it is innovative, it has raised the bar on the Gold Coast breakfast scene.

The Texas-style Chicken Gumbo served in a crusty cob loaf is a lunch highlight. The recipe was handed down by the chef’s grandmother and has even been published in its originating Texas town’s ‘community favorites’ cookbook! If you are feeling cheeky, grab a beer to wash this southern classic down!

Now, keep in mind, as you are elbows deep in gumbo, that you must save room for the desserts that are made fresh in-house daily.  Mid-devour of a rich brownie, I was informed it was gluten free. FINALLY a gluten free dessert that actually tastes like the real thing!
The display fridge is packed with gluten free, raw and regular ole’ sweet treats which are sure to be a hit with the Miami State School mums bound to pack the joint for coffee & cake pre-kiddie pick up.

The locals are already crying for more, so come October get ready for the introduction of the Double Barrel dinner (yay!).

Open 7 days 6am – 3:30pm

Shop 4 Waterway Shopping Village, Cnr Karbunya Street & Sunshine Blvd, Mermaid Waters

By Marleigh Kelly


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