Christmas is over and the budget has felt the pinch. It’s time to add a little spice to the summer heat with another top ten Asian eats on the Gold Coast. Whether it’s curry or pho, there’s a place in our hearts for a cheap feed, especially one where we can share with friends and BYO. Here are some of our picks:
Petro’s Corner Shopping Centre, A2/1 Tibbing St, Nerang Ph: 5500 4748
If you’re a bit partial to Tandoori Chicken, then you’ll be keen to know that you can get a whole bird cooked in the tandoor for under $16 at Foodie Indiya! We don’t really care if you don’t like the name; this is one of the best Indian restaurants around with some of the keenest prices to boot.
Perched up on a hill of Petro’s Corner opposite Coles, once inside your doubts will be put aside. With a ruby feature wall and sheer curtains giving privacy to each table, this is a pleasant little affordable restaurant. Curries are really tasty, naan is perfect, and service is pleasant. There’s takeaway and delivery too, of course, and the venue allows BYO.
14 Kalimna Drive, Broadbeach Waters Ph: 07 5538 6941
If you want the best Roti channai in town, you can’t go past Kenny’s Malay Kitchen. Relocating from Mermaid Waters Shopping Centre to the unassuming Gold Coast Lawn Bowls Club has been a win win for both the club and owners Kenny and Tracey Foon, their Malaysian food adapted to the Western palate well loved by locals to dine in or take away.
It’s our local which we visit for casual meals with friends, noteworthy for its generous sized dishes of sizzling duck, beef or prawns, duck salad or satay chicken skewers accompanied by a $3 bowl of coconut rice, Malay and Penang curries, a few Nyonya dishes and Thai red and green curries. Drinks are available from the bowls club next door, a quaffing shiraz setting you back $15 if you are a member. No BYO.
1/33 Tallebudgera Creek Road, West Burleigh Ph: 5520 2433
West Burleigh holds a little enclave of restaurants – a bit of a local secret. Wazen, a cute little Japanese restaurant, is among them. 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. Many main course dishes 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! The chef’s specials hold interest for regulars.
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.
Australia Fair Centro, Young St., Southport Ph: 0449 556 981
Owned by Jake and Clifford Gutierrez, Kubo’s Café Bar & Grill is a rare Filipino food presence on the coast, finding its audience immediately.
Breakfast is a big deal in the Philippines, one of Kubo’s customers tells us. Following their custom in the Philippines, Sunday brunch is a communal feast at Kubo’s after church, just a short walk away in Scarborough Street. Dishes on offer include typical Filipino breakfasts such as tapsilog (marinated meat or sausage served with garlic fried rice and two fried eggs) or tsokolate served with puto (hot chocolate made from raw cocoa served with sticky rice cooked in a banana leaf – the Filipino breakfast in a hurry) through to kinilaw (a raw fish salad), grilled pork skewers and pig on the spit, the extensive menu covering many Filipino favourites.
It’s a cuisine where pork and sugar feature prominently and there are lots of sweet treats at Kubo’s, the cabinet full of gorgeous Pinoy cakes with swirly icing and other sweets treats. Topping off the feast we spot the famous Halo-halo on the menu, the Filipino dessert that’s sweeping the world, a colourful mix of shaved ice and evaporated milk with toppings of boiled sweet beans, coconut, sago, jelly, fruit, and purple yam ice cream. ‘Mix mix’ as its Tagalog name implies, and you have a light, refreshing treat; perfect to share on a summer’s day.
Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, Hooker Boulevard, Broadbeach
Motto Motto is one of our favourites for a healthy affordable quick eat if we need to do a night time shop.
Part of William Liu’s empire (Sono and Nagomi), Motto Motto is notable for its top quality fresh and healthy casual Japanese cuisine. Choose from traditional donburi rice bowls (which include Wagyu beef or sashimi bowls), Japanese curry, 12-hour Ton-kotsu Ramen bowls or Japanese-style bread rolls stuffed with fillings such as softshell crab as well as sides.
There are lots of sets and deal upgrades, one of the best being the Motto Motto Super set, a Bento set with a difference: five small interlocking bowls of goodness giving you a taste of the menu for $19.80: miso soup, karaage chicken with seaweed salted fries, potato salad, crunchy crab croquettes served with edamame and teri-teri chicken with rice. It’s an absolute hit!
Mermaid Waters Shopping Village, 90 Markeri Street, Mermaid Waters Ph: 07 5554 5888 or 0424 868 949
If you wondered what had happened to Quan Ngo, former owner of O-Me-ly Broadbeach, he’s opened another restaurant almost next to Yuen’s in Mermaid Waters. Employing the former chef of O-Me-ly, there are many similarities in the menu: a pretty good Pho ($14.90) accompanied by a bowl fresh Vietnamese mint and bean sprouts, chilli and sauces (as well as several other soups), vermicelli dishes including Sugarcane Prawns, other hot dishes with rice, as well as other entrées and mains. Summer rolls ($9.90 for a plate of four) make a great meal or light lunch to share, while the Banh Xeo (fried crepe filled with prawns and bean sprouts $16.90) was a good version of the dish.
At Saigon 101 there’s always plenty of chance to get involved in dining, either with a steam boat or wrapping fresh sprouts and herbs with your meat or sugarcane prawns into a crisp lettuce leaf. Alternatively, choose some Lemongrass and chilli beef on rice if you like a spicier dish. Fresh juices can accompany your meal, Viet coffee or a Tri-colour shake (Che Ba Mau), or it’s $1.50 for BYO.
Saigon 101 is a clean but unpretentious ‘laminate café’ venue with friendly genuine service. While it’s possible to dine in for under $20 per person, most dishes are also available to take away.
4/77 Scarborough St., Southport Ph: 5503 0899
While we felt a little ‘lost in translation’ at Soba Soba, there are so few places to buy soba on the Gold Coast that we’re going to include this little Japanese diner. Centrally located just outside the Scarborough Street entrance to Australia Fair, the venue is ambient enough, the main feature being the hanging plants and upside down orchids from Brisbane florist Hanasho. Original art works for sale will soon join the plants in a permanent display.
Soba Soba bridges the language barriers by posting photos of dishes on both the menu and restaurant walls. Choose from Rice meals, Soba, Udon or Teppanyaki noodle dishes.
Our two dishes, the Oz Special (teppanyaki noodles with beef, chicken, cheese and a fried egg), as well as the Tokyo Mix (Soba noodles topped with a ring of stir-fried pork mince with BBQ sauce and sesame oil, bean sprouts, seaweed and bonita flakes, topped with a poached egg) were tasty, if unusual. It’s rather a different addition to the multi-Asian street food dining scene in Southport.
Suite 28 – 29, 137 Scottsdale Drive, Robina Ph: 5575 8365
It has been over six years since Arjun Jaiswale opened Agnee Indian with his father Inder, however it soon established itself as having the best of both worlds: Mr Jaiswale’s fabulous cooking and Arjun’s exquisite service.
With its rich and exotic food, Agnee may not be the cheapest Indian restaurant on the coast, but it’s certainly one of the best: 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, 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 only at lunchtimes.
This is a place where food is cooked by a master chef and served in a modern setting by experienced staff who put the customer first. Agnee is licensed with BYO wine only.
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
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 moved from Highland Court, carrying his reputation with them. 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 some fusion dishes 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.
Read more of Marj’s reviews on Good Food Gold Coast