A traditional Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice with additions of water, yeast, and koji, the legend of sake surrounds the story of a prince who once used the beverage to intoxicate a dragon to save a princess. Not your average fairy tale, but a clever prince nonetheless.
Originating in Japan over 1,300 years ago and traditionally revered as an offering to the Gods, it has become popular worldwide thanks to its unique hot and cold varieties and its ability to enhance the tastes of our beloved Japanese food. Always on the hunt for flavour, we found the 11 best sipping spots of sake on the Gold Coast in honour of the sacred brew.
Misono Japanese Steakhouse
An in-house speciality, sake is much loved at Misono. Served solo in six varieties and with detailed explanations of each on the menu, Misono’s sake options all fall within the range of the four main designations of the drink (dependent on how much the rice grains are polished). Not only can you drink it straight, but Misono also specialises in cocktails incorporating sake for something totally unique. Try the Kiwi Sparkler with sake, muddled kiwifruit and lime on ice topped up with sparkling wine.
Where: JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa, 158 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise
Eddy + Wolff
The intimate little venue hidden away in Robina, Eddy + Wolff are the masters of contemporary Asian eats, tasty tipples and an interior like no other. You’ll love the rounded, polished concrete ceiling, neon sign and soft pink hues that make up the stunning space. Of course, the team have chosen only the very best sakes to complement their menu, including one reminiscent of Limoncello that we can’t get enough of. The perfect spot to share a sake with your pals.
Where: 12/217-219 Ron Penhaligon Way, Robina
Masters in the art of sake service, the team at Kiyomi have been through a rigorous training program to ensure they know their stuff. Offering a sample from each sake category, flavours range from earthy mushroom to citrusy and floral in both still and sparkling varieties. Kiyomi serves their warm sake at 46 degrees, the traditional temperature, and present it in a stone Tokkuri, handmade in Japan. Cold sake comes in a mouth-blown Tokkuri made with a large divot for holding ice spheres to keep it at the correct temperature. If sipping sake on the Gold Coast is a must for you, you have to visit Kiyomi.
Where: Lobby level, The Star Gold Coast, Broadbeach
Iku Yakitori Bar
Iku Yakitori Bar is a Burleigh favourite boasting many a delicious Japanese dish cooked over Binchotan coals and with lots of extra smoky flavours. Of course, there’s a handpicked selection of sakes on offer of the absolute highest quality possible, as is the way of the Iku team. Ask for the story behind each and prepare to be dazzled by their knowledge and the unique flavours on offer.
Where: 1730 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Tucked away in Robina Quays is Cocotte offering a fusion of Japanese and French dining and plenty of sake options to complement the delicious dishes. Eight opportunities await from the popular Hyogo, Yamaguchi and Fukui regions, both by the glass and the bottle. A favourite is the Dassai Junmai Daiginjo, made with rice milled to just 23% of its original size and boasting flavours of grapes, flowers, strawberries and the freshest mineral water.
Where: 16A Robina Quays Shopping Centre, Corner of Robina Parkway and Markeri Street, Robina
At Etsu, they say sake has something to give that wine can’t, most notably texture and umami (the flavours that’s neither sweet nor sour). With over 16 varieties of sake from seven different regions of Japan on offer, Etsu has one of the most diverse ranges on the Coast. Keen to try them all? Ask for a Sake Flight – three, 40ml samples of selected sakes. Add a little fun to your dinner with a selection of one cup sake, take-home souvenir cups printed with popular classic Japanese cartoon and Disney characters.
Where: 2440 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
If opulent plates of the freshest hunks of sashimi matched elegantly with crisp and refreshing sake sound like a flavour party you want a piece of, then may we suggest you look no further? Cafoo has been wowing Palm Beach locals for a while now with excellent displays of off-the-charts Japanese cuisine and is often booked out. If you manage to grab a spot, you must try one of their signature sake cocktails — to freshen your palate, of course — or an ingenious twist on a European favourite: Sakegria.
Where: Shop 6, Fifth Avenue, Palm Beach
A hidden gem out the back of Burleigh, Wazen is serving up incredible Japanese eats at VERY affordable prices. The menu is extensive, so go there at a starving time of the day and, of course, don’t forget to sample a few sakes while you’re there. There are several authentic varieties to try, and the staff know exactly what they’re talking about: ask what will best go with your favourite dishes, and you’ve got yourself a tasty time.
Where: 1/33 Tallebudgera Creek Road, Burleigh Heads
Tucked away in the residential backstreets of Miami should by no means put you off dropping into a haven of Japanese delicacies. And when you do drop in, be sure to try some of their fantastic fresh oysters or deftly made nigiri with a crisp and well-matched sake that will leave your tastebuds all shook up. It doesn’t end there. If you have the space, be sure to ask about their desserts not found on the menu: if you know — you know!
Where: Shop 6, 110 Mountain View Avenue, Miami
With playful vibes of Tokyo’s most notable suburb throughout their Broadbeach venue, crispy gyozas and the freshest Japanese craft beer are eternally flowing at Harajuku Gyoza. But it’s the hard-to-find sakes — served both warm and chilled — that round out a taste adventure not worth missing. Grab your gang and request a cheeky round of sakes to up the ante on your evening out — kampai!
Where: G66 The Oasis Shopping Centre, Victoria Avenue Broadbeach
Mamasan Kitchen + Bar
This Gold Coast favourite specialises in an enticing blend of modern and traditional tastes, and offers a range of sakes from house to premium and speciality sweet blends. Ranging from dry to delicate and fruity to floral, flavours include apricot and marzipan, mandarin and lime, tropical fruits and banana and savoury and nutty — to name a few! Mamasan also offers a Sake Flight served chilled and made of three 30ml choices from the menu.
Where: 3 Oracle Boulevard, Broadbeach
Words by Alex Mitcheson.
They say good things come to those who wait and that certainly seems to be the case for the good people of Robina who have (probably) been waiting quite some time for an eatery of newbie Eddy +Wolff’s calibre.
The not-quite-open space has been the talk of the town for the last couple of months with owners Thao and Vien Nguyen (of Can Tho Kitchen fame) keeping tight-lipped on the location and style of venue. But it’s a secret no more with the intimate eatery set to open on Wednesday March 27th and here’s the low down for your learning pleasure.
You’ll find Eddy + Wolff in the midst of bustling Robina, just slightly out of the way and bringing all your Asian food dreams to life. The space, a former Laundromat, has been absolutely transformed into a chic, 22-seat venue with a curved, polished concrete ceiling, a neon sign reading ‘I love drinking beer’ (written in Chinese Mandarin, which is amazing) and a pink velvet corner bench seat we would give up everything we own for.
You can perch up at the bar, with iron shelves holding many a bottle of delightful spirits hanging overhead or, at said pink velvet couch underneath the front window. It’s all very edgy and understated and, to be honest, one of the most beautiful fitouts we’ve come across in our local travels.
Having taken over and transformed Can Tho Kitchen (from Thao’s Mum) in 2014, the pair were keen to create something quite different for the Coast. Eddy + Wolff is a combination of their travels throughout Asia and, a trip to sample many a Melbourne eatery, and it is indeed unlike anything else around these parts.
The menu is made up of BBQ-style dishes, snacks, bigger plates and sides, all of which are designed to share and hail from Thao and Vien’s home country of Vietnam, China, Japan and Korea to name a few.
Don’t go past the Vietnamese-style Pork Collar, Korean BBQ Quail (with a bit of a spicy kick) and the Isaan Tofu Salad with Kaffir lime and sweet and sour caramel. All absolute taste sensations.
The wine list is tight, curated to match the menu perfectly and featuring a select few Canberra beauties because Canberra, friends, is the city where the couple met and Eddy and Wolff are the streets they lived on at that time.
There are just four cocktails on offer and we highly recommend Peace to the East with Jinzu gin, maraschino liqueur, Yuzu lime juice and cucumber. Fresh and zesty.
All your favourite Asian beers, and a few local ones, are on offer too and a very tasty Lychee cider that can’t be found anywhere else locally. YUM.
As always, you may choose your own adventure in the dish department or go with The Lucky Eight set menu ($40 for lunch and $45 for dinner), which is made up of two dishes from each section of the menu – BBQ, snacks, a bit bigger and side dishes. Such good value.
Oh and, quite the fans of meaningful little touches everywhere, the team have created a sweet menu that features both an illustrated cityscape of the spots they’ve travelled and also little speech bubbles with words like ‘love’, ‘tradition’, BBQ, and ‘spicy’ in many languages, dotted throughout.
So you see, good things really do come to those who wait. We’ll be in Robina if you need us.
LOCATION: 12-217/219 Ron Penhaligon Way, Robina
HOURS: Wednesday 5pm until 10pm, Thursday to Saturday 12pm until 2pm and 5pm until 10pm and Sunday 12pm until 2pm
Words and photos by Kirra Smith