Hidden away behind a rather bland concrete-rendered façade, Hideaway Kitchen & Bar is the latest addition to the Gold Coast’s Asian street food scene.
It’s the dark backstreets of Asia that co-owner Scott Imlach visits in his latest restaurant; those shady alleys with overhanging awnings and neon sign lit dodgy bars, with hawker food carts cooking skewers and soup on street corners.
Entering Hideaway the alley runs towards the back door, the bar over to one side, its hanging benches swaying as slowly as the lilt of a head or a sideways glance: ‘Come here!’
Sitting in cosy booths surrounded by gawdy lighting and the amazing graffiti art of Jamie Cutrupi brings the intimacy of a clandestine street meet in a chic corner of Hanoi or Phuket, while in another corner there’s a discreet party area which promises a good time to groups of eighteen or so.
Fortunately for us, though, this is a sanitised version of Asia – no chicken beheadings, unpleasant odours, or sitting on milk crates on street corners. Instead, enticing aromas drift out from the kitchen as we face decision time with the menu.
Choosing a range of dishes from Head Chef Jon Hizola’s menu (ex-Etsu and Nobu), some dishes are standouts, such as his signature yellowtail citrus soy sashimi (which seems impossibly clean-flavoured given the setting), and lamb ribs accompanied by pickled ginger and lime for balance, its sauce so sticky it begs to be licked off our fingers.
The huge sixty item menu encompasses as many Asian countries as there are nationalities in the kitchen, yet it’s a fairly safe scattering of Asian favourites: dumplings and dim sum, chicken karaage, BBQ Asian prawns, honey crab wontons, gyoza, satay, pad thai and whole fish cooked to your choice: tempura, wok-fried or steamed with ginger and shallots.
While some dishes carry the critical amounts of heat, salt, sugar and sourness in balanced proportions, we wished dishes were bolder. Toned down to the Western palate, these recipes have not delved too far into pungent unknown ingredients, dirty master stocks or big bowl food flavours. Some traditional dishes have gained a modern twist, such as sugarcane prawns, here served crumbed with sweet chilli tomato jam and noc jim, the strength being in ingredients which are fresh and made in house, even down to the soy sauce! While the addition of a few lesser known dishes would have added interest for seasoned travelers, for all that, it’s a menu with enough scope and flavour to keep the punters coming back to share a plate or five.
A cool night when we visited, a peek out back revealed another point of interest – an expansive astro-turfed deck replete with vibrant coloured upside-down umbrellas and café lights promising some excellent Sunday sessions. With Asian-inspired cocktails, a choice of Asian and local beer (including our own Balter Brewing’s ‘sessionable’ XPA), whisky or sake and a fair range of smart wine, there are plenty of reasons to spend a few hours with friends.
For Scott Imlach, it may seem a long journey away from other establishments he’s founded, however the good choice of Asian beer and sexy cocktails (here’s looking at you Mr Hemingway), not to mention some ripper boutique wines, as well as the funkiest venue in town, lead us to think that come summer, the outdoor brollies will be swinging and the place will be rocking.
2657 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach Ph: 07 5679 0369
Open: Wed – Mon 5pm – late