It’s always exciting to re-visit one of your favourite restaurants on the Gold Coast, more so when it’s even better than you remembered.
When Chase Kojima (of Sydney’s celebrated Sokyo, and the more recent Chuuka) first opened this slick modern Japanese restaurant at The Star back in 2015, reception was instantly, and understandably, enthusiastic. Sokyo is, after all, one of the few contemporary Japanese restaurants in Australia that is well and truly ahead of the pack. Even those who bring high standards back from eating adventures around Japan can’t help but fawn over the omakase experience, which is usually so popular you have to book far in advance.
The superstar chef replicated the charisma and quality up at the now hatted Kojima, but he didn’t do it without the help of a reliable team which, since opening, has included young chef Wilson Law. Recently promoted to Head Chef for Kiyomi, Law has worked along Kojima for the better part of a decade, said to be his go-to for inventive, thoughtful additions to the menu.
In his new position, Law has kept the fundamentals of innovative and unwavering respect to produce front and centre for the changes here, and the dimly lit restaurant is all the better for it. The seafood in particular is outstanding, the sake list laser focused on quality, and the cocktails hit all the right spots. But it’s the service that manages to stand out the most, and I’m not usually fussed on service at all. Attentive, sincere and full of suggestions at the word go – it’s exactly what you’d want in a restaurant of this repute.
My visit was during winter, and since the kitchen is committed to an ever-changing round of specials, the truffle exclusives sounded too good to resist. A beautifully presented Wagyu Tartare ($35) with burnt leek, nori crumb and truffle validated my choice, with a fatty and sweet profile built up with a powerful spread of Tasmanian truffles.
Although it wasn’t as left-field as the #ChaseToroToro Sushi ($25), oddly named and oddly conceived with toro of both tuna and blue fin mixed up with Tasmanian uni with two big truffles posted on either side of the sushi, looking as if they were the ears to this franken-nigiri. The whole experience was over in one bite, but sacrificing satisfaction with serving size was well worth the revelation of several beautiful, harmonious tastes at once slipping down the palate. If anything validates Law’s penchant for experimentation, it’s this.
On the regular menu, where consistencies serve as an anchor for Kiyomi’s many regulars, the Hiramasa Kingfish ($22) is served as three gorgeously soft pieces swimming in miso ceviche and topped with a tower of three crispy potatoes, peeled to present a kingdom of thin crispy frites. It’s bested only by the substantial Kiwama Wagyu 9+ Inside Skirt ($48), a cut that’s exclusive to the Kiyomi kitchen, and one that’s relatively untouched with only a mount of koji and Tasmanian wasabi. As good as the seafood is at Kiyomi, the meats are even better.
You can’t leave Kiyomi without ordering at least one of their reliable sushi rolls, and for me it was the simple Salmon Belly & Avocado that did it; 8 pieces of a perfect roll to wipe that meat from the palate and give at least some refreshing rush towards an indulgent dessert, the signature Goma Street ($15) which has remained on the menu since opening. Here, it’s a stack of creamy tempered dark chocolate played up with caramelized white chocolate mousse and goma ice cream – a weak-at-the-knees kind of dessert that calls for one of several dessert wines to help it down.
Yep, still one of my favourite Japanese restaurants in Australia.
Note that if you’re heading along during the month of October, the Kiyomi team has launched an 18-course omakase menu. And given how popular the omakase is at Sokyo, this is definitely something worth booking in to. It’ll be priced at $225pp and be offered only on 10th, 17th 24th and 31st October. Reservations for that can be made by calling 07 5592 8757.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Address: Lobby Level, The Star Gold Coast, Casino Dr, Broadbeach QLD 4218
Contact: (07) 5592 8757
The writer dined as a guest of Kiyomi. This is not a sponsored post and all opinions are that of the writer’s
Venue photos supplied. All other photos by Chris Singh.