For a visual feast that is a canvas of artistry and complete fulfilment both on the eye and the palate, check our Snapshot Gallery here.
For as long as cultures have intertwined with others, there has been fusion. But in the haste to appear innovative and ride the trend, the results may have haphazardly thrown together odd combinations of discordant foods and flavours, creating dishes that had devolved into con-fusion. However, it has all come full circle for chefs to understand that this synthesis approach must retain authenticity in style and with intention, with origins stemming from a classical foundation. Fusion is now the overall understanding and respect of cultures, flavours and style, with a holistic philosophy.
With Australia’s laser force focus on health and the wholesome, it is no wonder that Japanese cuisine continues in popularity with healthy and clean eating. All the subtle tastes and flavours of Japanese cuisine continue to be driven by food presentation – which is as imperative as its authentic taste. Chase Kojima, San Francisco-bred and Executive Chef and founder of The Star’s Sokyo has traversed north, bringing his dynamic energy, culinary skills and creativity across the border for a relaxed and Gold Coast approach to Japanese dining. His relaxed attitude belies his skill as the leader of Nobu kitchens in Las Vegas, Dubai, London and Los Angeles.
With all his innovation and youth, Kojima-san honours his traditions, remaining mindful of the environment he is in and the patrons he seduces with the delightful dishes he presents. The result is Kiyomi, an establishment that gently sparkles like burnished gold; intricate and ingenious from the heart of The Star Casino, Gold Coast.
The Kiyomi is a Japanese citrus fruit; a hybrid of the mandarin and sweet orange, so named for Temple Seiken-ji and lagoon Kiyoma-gata in Shizuoka city. The subtly of the kiyomi is a perfect reflection of the establishment, the cross-bred fruit’s sweetness symbolic to the citrus flavours that abounds throughout the menu, as well as a nod to its east-meets-west union between Japan and Australia.
The warm tones of woods abound, presenting a very Izakaya style – the casual bistro bar perfect for relaxing and mingling with colleagues after work over a few drinks and plates of tasty food. The ambiance is immediately calming but still as formal as you want to make it: impressive for corporate meetings and dates and upmarket enough for special occasions yet not even slightly intimidating or stiff. Japanese culture has perfected the art of ambiance, with all the stealth of a ninja and facility of simplicity.
From the bar, the Chasing Kiyomi is the signature cocktail – and no wonder, as a colourful homage to its namesake of both Chef and establishment. Presenting a blend of gin, Grand Marnier, San Pellagrino mandarin sparkling, Aperol and orange bitters, it is sweetly refreshing. And doesn’t even vaguely taste alcoholic. While there are many cocktails, the sochu-based mixes are particularly worthy of attention; the sochu a unique base flavour to western palates. Sitting right in that comfortable space between whisky and sake, sochu is perfect for pairing to food, given that’s what it was made for. For the less adventurous, the sake list ranges from traditional to classic and served within a carafe especially designed to keep the sake cold. While it can be ordered by the glass, who ever stops at just one? The wine list is a hub to many local and international drops, while the whisky of course stands out with Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki and Kakubin – surely the finest drops of whisky across the globe.
But the drinks list is merely a buffer to the Omakase style menu. The food offering reads as a bible to tradition, with new-world Japanese energy propelling these dishes to front and centre. Each course is a visual canvas of artistry, presented on bespoke dishes for complete fulfillment both on the eye and the palate. Kiyomi ‘s menu certainly honours traditions, fusing with the energy of modern Japan while rejoicing in the finest Australian produce and celebrating all things umami. Indeed, this new fifth flavour is an intriguing piece in the puzzle of our gastronomic metamorphosis. Kojima-san’s artistry of umami is a subtle explosion to the palate.
The amuse-boche of Flash-roasted Shishito Peppers with Lime Miso and grated Parmesan is, at first glance, rather intimidating. Visually arresting, peppers are still to be respected for their fieriness. The heat of these peppers however, is wonderfully balanced by the miso’s citrus and perfect in galvanising the tastebuds.
The Seared Scampi, Foie Gras, Apple and Mizuna plays foie gras ‘s richly delicate butteryness against the scampi’s clean freshness in a most harmonic fashion; the acidity of the crispy apple adding texture and balance.
The Hiramasa Kingfish, Miso Ceviche and Crispy Potato presents a subdued taste of the fish, gracefully synthesising with the crispy potato and the miso marinade.
The Tuna Tataki, Asparagus, Enoki, Tosazu and Leek Sauce is a sublime feast, the subtlety of the burnt leek fusing with the vinegar of the tosazu; the mushroom and asparagus fibres crisply balanced to the lightly seared tuna for a veritable carnival of infused smokiness and tang.
The Moreton Bay Bug, Grapefruit and Sambal Mayo continues to revere umami, the lightness and airy crunch of the tempura batter and delicacy of the bug upheld by the vinegar sauce, the sweetness of the grapefruit enhancing the spice of the sambal mayo.
The Dengakuman, Toothfish with Carmelised Miso arrive from the binchōtan grill, the clean taste of the hardwood’s charcoal allowing the miso flavours and luster of the toothfish to shine.
The Wagyu Striploin, Eschalot and Spicy Teriyaki are a building block of succulent protein, the spice of the teriyaki gently dominating in this gentle dish.
The King Brown Mushroom, Truffle Poke and Lime proves aromatic, the citrus and truffle offset by the fleshiness of the mushroom. The knifework on the mushrooms alone are a demonstration of the craftsmanship at large.
And of course, what meal is there without sushi – the Japanese chef’s chance to showcase his skills. Tai Nori with Shio Konbu Salsa on a sheet of crusty nori sheet, The Crispy Rice Spicy Tuna with toasted rice and topped with spicy tuna; and the Queensland Roll featuring spanner crab wrapped in delicate soy paper with a crest of creamy avocado.
As gelati cleanses the palate, so too does Yatsuhashi, a souvenir Japanese sweet made from rice flour, sugar and cinnamon. The green pillow is an envelope to the strawberry goodness within.
The Yatsuhashi is a beautiful segue to Goma Street: tempered chocolate with crunchy caramelised white chocolate mousse and a suave quenelle of black sesame ice cream. It’s no wonder this is a Sokyo classic come north – when something ain’t broke, there’s no need to fix it.
Kiyomi is the epitome of progressive Australia, where the modern east meets a conventional west. Kojima presents a rebirth of fusion for food to be mainstream cool in the ultimate sensory mashup. From the outset, Kiomi presents the essence of modern trend in new flavours from a highly evolved culture. Without a doubt, this is one of the highest dining experiences to be had in Queensland – quite the statement given Brisbane’s strength in the culinary department. Modern fusion is at its height where the emphasis remains on flavour, with beautiful Kiyomi a tribute to all this entails.
Kiyomi Gold Coast
The Star Casino, Gold Coast
1 Casino Drive, Broadbeach
1800 074 344
Photographer: Lady Lex