Every so often we love to give you a list of places worth watching out for, just in case you missed our reviews. Here’s our latest: 8 More Hot Asian Eats. Whether it be a hot steamy night after a day at the beach or a blustery evening when the cold seeps into your bones, there’s nothing like a cheap night out, a ‘slurp your way to goodness’ heaven with a hot Asian eat. Tasty and nutritious, many of these ‘layers of meaning’ meals give you a bang for your buck – fresh, affordable and cheerful, and mostly BYO.
You’ll find our last Hot 10 Asian Eats list here. We’ve also linked the titles through to our full reviews.
Suite 28 – 29, 137 Scottsdale Drive, Robina Ph: 5575 8365
It has long been recognised that Mr Inder Jaiswale is one of the best Indian chefs on the Gold Coast. After arriving in Australia in 1971, Inder opened restaurants in Melbourne and the Gold Coast: House of India in Broadbeach, The Indian in Robina (2004), and Agnee Indian (2010) in Robina with his son Arjun.
It’s the rich exotic flavours of the East that draw us to Agnee: dishes fresh from the tandoor, still smoky from the clay oven, and curries which are more aromatic than fiery. The menu covers a diverse selection of Northern and Southern India: the north famous for its complex curries aromatic with saffron and spices and made thick with yoghurt and ground nuts, breads fresh from the griddle and tandoor, tandoori platters, fruit and nut laden pulao and sweet gulab jamun. The cuisine of the south is less known – rice dishes such as biryani, meen moilee, tomato-based curries, and masala dosa (a pancake-like dish) and idlis which at Agnee are served at lunchtimes.
The food is well complemented by Arjun’s attentive and charming service. This is a place where timeless recipes handed down through generations are cooked by a master chef and served in a modern setting by experienced staff who put the customer first. With food and service right on the mark, it’s little wonder that Agnee Indian is a favourite for locals and curry lovers from further afield. It’s an understated gem! Agnee is licensed with BYO wine only.
5/465 Oxley Drive, Runaway Bay Ph: 5529 0098
When Tara and Vien decided to renovate their restaurant Can Tho Kitchen in Runaway Bay, they travelled back to their roots. It was a journey that they decided to share with their patrons. Their home town, Can Tho, is ever present. Besides the restaurant’s name, there are Mekong Delta echoes in the menu: our food arrives in little courses to share, there’s an abundance of seafood as well as pork, the flavours of Vietnam accenting every dish.
Softshell crab served with pickles and dipping sauce, handmade Chilli steamed dim sim smothered in a tangy sweet sour chilli sauce, ‘Viet taco’ (the traditional Banh Xeo or Vietnamese pancake, this one the ‘beer added’ version), Pork and prawns slow simmered in caramel palm sugar with fish sauce and chilli in a clay pot…
Modern takes on traditional Vietnamese food, it’s a feast to enjoy, all hands in, sweeping up the dregs of sauce with some rice, not willing to let any of it go back to the kitchen.
With a Beer Hanoi in hand and a Saigon Mojito, steamy nights in Saigon come flooding back. (Can Tho is mostly fully licensed, however it has one BYO night per week. Check their Facebook page for details.)
3/221 Christine Ave., Burleigh Waters Ph: 5576 7255
Indian Hut, the family restaurant of Manmohan (Mani) and Parina Bagga, has been serving up quality Indian cuisine since 2004. Mani’s insistence on fresh vegetables and his traditional cooking techniques grinding spices from whole and excluding oil mean that the flavours are full, the vegetables crunchy and the meat lean. Chef Sukhraj Singh works beside Mani, managing the clay tandoor oven.
Indian Hut’s menu is extensive – lots of choices, and varieties of dishes, for example, six rice dishes, including biryani and Kashmiri pulao, and a dozen breads including different naan, roti and paratha. While most of the dishes are from North India, there are a few from Southern India, such as Madras Curry. We notice lots of choice for vegetarians, (about half the menu, in fact).
Chicken Tikka is succulent and sweet – among the best we’ve tasted, and our Lamb Nawabi falls apart with the touch of a fork. Every single dish we’ve had at the Indian Hut has been exotic, aromatic and deliciously fresh. This is food to share. With each curry so different, it’s great to savour each taste, to choose complementary flavours and textures, noting their difference.
Indian Hut has a keen price point, and there’s a three course ‘All you can eat’ Sunday buffet for under $20 per person. Beer and wine are extremely keenly priced, but BYO is also an option. Despite Indian Hut’s affordability, it’s the consistent quality of their rich aromatic curries made by an owner chef that brings back the locals.
Shop 5, Waterways Village, Cnr Karbunya St & Sunshine Blvd., Mermaid Waters Ph: 5572 5911
If you’re looking for excellent Chinese Malay food on the Gold Coast, look no further than Ipoh Satay House – one of our oldest and arguably our best Malaysian restaurant. Thomas and Meelin Hoi came to the Gold Coast from Malaysia in 1980, establishing their first restaurant, Banga Raya, then Ipoh Satay House over twenty years ago. Ipoh (named after the second largest city in Malaysia) has recently enjoyed a new lease of life with the shopping centre renovation improving the ambience of the alfresco dining area.
Ipoh has an extensive menu of Chinese and Malay favourites with some Thai food thrown in for good measure. Mains of Roast duck with star anise scented sweet plum sauce and Rendang Beef are delicious, but the restaurant’s ‘pièce de resistance’ is Hainanese Chicken, cooked to melt-in-your-mouth perfection in a soy sauce with ginger and shallot and chilli sauce accompaniments. It’s arguably Thomas’ bestselling dish. There are so many influences in Chinese-Malay cuisine that there’s something to please everyone. The venue is licensed, with BYO wine a simple task due to a bottle shop almost next door.
Shop 6, 42 Nerang Street, Southport Ph: 07 5564 0190
Izakaya Ichi is as cute as a Ningyō Kabuki doll; a cool place to chill and hang out. When we dine there, we see lots of English language students and local workers, joined by a wide cross-section of diners at night times and hospitality workers eager to down some sustenance after work, last orders placed just before midnight. Almost directly opposite the Southport tram station, it’s also close to transport.
There’s an extensive well-priced menu of Japanese tapas, with nothing over $15: many small dishes such as sushi, sashimi, salad, fried and grilled dishes ($8 – $12) as well as donburi, rice and udon dishes, and dessert. Lunch also includes bento boxes ($14 – $16). Place your order on the iPad at your table and it gets delivered. Cool!
But the OMG dish setting Instagram on fire is the Icy Snow Flake dessert ($12), a huge bowl of shaved fresh milk ice with condensed milk added, in eight flavours including Green Tea, Sweet Red Bean, Mango, Strawberry, Coffee and Chocolate. Only available at this store, it’s a huge delicious confection to share with friends. Izakaya Ichi is fully licensed. BYO is $5 per person.
Outrigger Resort, 2007 Gold Coast Highway, Miami Ph: 5535 2112
NOTE: Alan Yap has sold Miami Rice.
Miami Rice is named in tribute to the now demolished iconic Miami Ice (next door), a tongue-in-cheek reference to Miami Vice as well as the owners’ Chinese Malaysian heritage.
Seasoned restaurateur Alan Yap did not need to choose salubrious premises to gain customers. Moving from Highland Court, he carried his reputation with him. Alan’s food is renowned for being excellent quality at a highly affordable price. We usually choose dishes from the specials board, with seafood a highlight and no expense spared on the quality of bugs and prawns.
Some dishes are exceptional, such as Chilli Bugs and Black Bean Pepper Steak, while other fusion dishes (such as Kiwifruit Scallops) led to a variety of opinions at our table. What we all agreed upon was Alan’s innovative approach to Chinese and Malay food, and the outstanding value for money this restaurant provides. Red feature walls, black chairs and white tablecloths brighten the dining experience. Miami Rice is licensed, but BYO wine is also allowed. Lunch is also available daily.
1/33 Tallebudgera Creek Road, West Burleigh Ph: 5520 2433
Wazen is an ambient little Japanese restaurant run by Katsu and Aki. Fairy lights beckon, but walk inside and it’s restrainedly cosy. Better still, you’ll receive a warm welcome. There are no set rules for dining at Wazen, so you can choose a selection of tapas and sides or mains from the Sashimi, Sushi, Nigiri, Curry bowl or Main meal plates section. All dishes are MSG free.
The Tapas menu has some interesting choices, but beware – the mains are large, so it’s a good idea to share the starters. Main Course section plates have common sides, a time-saving formula for a one chef kitchen, however it also ensures that all patrons are well fed!
Want more? You can upsize the rice, or upgrade to organic brown rice for a little extra. We’re dining with gluten-free friends, who are obligingly catered for, a quick swap of freshly steamed veg in place of the tempura beside the free range Teriyaki chicken, rice and salad and everyone’s happy!
In line with the rest of our night’s experience, service is charming and nothing seems like a fuss. Watch out for the chef’s specials. They provide exciting excursions off the menu. Wazen is a charming little restaurant in an accessible location. It provides value dining and delightful service; and you certainly won’t go away hungry! Although licensed, Wazen accepts BYO wine.
Shop 10, 31 Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin Waters Ph: 5521 0061
Named after the ancient title of Japan, Zipang, this café has a split personality. By day, it’s a tiny ‘dine in’ or quick ‘grab and go’ eatery where workers stop in to get lunch, by night it’s the local izakaya, BYO Currumbin style.
As the sun sets, the atmosphere changes from necessity lunch pit stop to funky eatery. Dim lighting, BYO and blues on the airwaves help create an awesome atmosphere, the stools and little tables cluttering the path outside soon to be filled by locals.
Owner/chef Atsu tells us that he wanted to introduce real Japanese food to the Currumbin community. We dine on specials of Crumbed oysters rich with mayo, perfectly Seared scallops with fried lotus chips and fish roe, Gyoza, and Seafood Hotpot. The seafood is stunningly fresh, seafood bought directly from a fisherman. Everything except gyoza (from a boutique local maker) is made in house. Little wonder that the restaurant sometimes turns tables three times in a night. It’s not upmarket or flashy, ultra-comfortable or fashionable, but that’s the point. It’s the tiny place you’d love to have around the corner; the place where you could just pop down with a couple of friends and spend the evening downing a few drinks and some good fast nosh. Be sure to book!
Other Asian Eats we love:
Feeling like something more upmarket or exotic? What about…
Etsu 2440 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach Ph: 5526 0944
Kiyomi The Star Gold Coast, Broadbeach Island, Broadbeach Ph: 5592 8443
Mamasan Oracle Boulevard, Broadbeach Ph: 5527 5700
Misono 158 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise Ph: 5592 9770
Rick Shores Shop 3, 43 Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads
Dining with vegetarian friends? Try:
Easy House Vegetarian Shop 8, 90 Markeri St., Mermaid Waters Ph: 5572 8808
Kuan Yin Tea House 2/152 Scarborough St., Southport Ph: 5511 5121