Gold Coast’s Jupiters is in the midst of a $345 million dollar refurbishment, aimed at completely revitalising the impressive building from the endearingly simple pool area to the in-house dining scene. I was kindly flown up there to check out the two starry restaurants that have opened due to the transformation, the first of which was Kiyomi, a modern Japanese restaurant opened by celebrated chef Chase Kojima of Sydney’s Sokyo fame.
Kojima serves as Executive Chef at the relatively new venue, which occupies a sleek space nearby the hotel’s reception desk on the second floor. The same flair and innovation seen at Sokyo should already give you an idea of what to expect: a forward-thinking adaptation of Japanese food, filled with excitement and focused on augmenting classic flavours with new twists. It’s a formula that has seen Sokyo rise to become one of the best restaurants – of any cuisine – in Sydney and it works here; so much so that an experience at Kiyomi is just as good, if not better, than the best Japanese restaurants (that I have been to) in the country.
The design of the place is funky, with a dark and contemporary bar greeting you before you tunnel off into the narrow row of cosy booths, set by sharp murals and framed by dark timbers. Past the booth area is a dark, intimate, and almost cavernous area with tables and chairs. There’s 120 seats all up, with three distinct areas to the restaurant. I chose to sit opposite the bar, on the long bench overlooking the action of the street-level floor of the casino.
Sydney-based design company Luchetti Krelle are behind the unique look of Kiyomi, setting it up to the same standard with which they have worked other memorable venues like ACME, Adriano Zumbo (at the Star), and Momofuku Seiobo.
A quick look at their cocktail menu and it’s obvious they are going for accessible and fun signatures. Take the Chasing Kiyomi ($18) for example; it’s a mix of Gin, San Pellegrino Mandarin, Grand Marnier, Aperol, and orange bitters. While the taste of it is far more complex than the description ‘alcoholic fanta’ would bring to mind, I think that those two words sum the drink up pretty well. The name ‘Kiyomi’ denotes a type of citrus fruit in Japan with a sweet orange flavour to it, so the flavour of the cocktail makes complete sense; as does the others, with citrus frequent throughout the drinks menu.
The food is what will really keep you coming back to Kiyomi though.
I began with two lovely Scampi, Foie Gras, Apple & Mizuna ($9 each), which arrived in a beautiful presentation on a bed of ice. The scampi shells are angled at the edge while the meat floats above the ice on a bamboo leaf in the middle. The meat is gone in a bite or two but it certainly leaves a lasting impression, with apple, foie gras, and mizuna all stamping the meat with a spectacularly sweet, crispy flavour.
My feast only got stronger from there. Next was the textural masterpiece that is the Hiramasa Kingfish, Miso Ceviche, and Crispy Potato ($19). The tower of thin, crisp potato stands on top of the Kingfish, outnumbering it drastically. But looks can be deceiving; the potato is not at all overpowering, kept light to let that incredibly rich, zesty Kingfish melt on the tongue.
Those who have been to Sokyo will recognise the Crispy Rice, Spicy Tuna ($20), and they would probably recommend it above all else. There’s no surprise that this is an essential inclusion to the menu, with the full-flavoured tuna sitting on top of that puffy, not-too-sticky, and slightly crunchy rice. There’s not much kick in the tuna, so the word ‘spice’ is to be taken lightly here.
The Moreton Bay Bug, Grapefruit, Sambal Mayo, and Vinegar ($24) is as moreish as they come, with the lightly battered bug ever so warm and delicious. You have a choice of sambal mayo or vinegar here. The mayo is very rich and transforms the flavour with a sweet, buttery taste but it can overpower the meat; despite that, it was my choice here over the vinegar and I made very sure I scooped up every last drop.
The King Brown Mushroom, Truffle Poke, and Lime ($14) was an item of the menu I neglected due to not expecting to fit everything in, but the Chef insisted on giving me a plate. I’m glad he did. The large, squishy mushrooms soak up those subtle truffle and citrusy flavours and release them on every bite along that nice earthy taste.
On the specials menu were the eye-catching words Binchotan King Prawn with Peruvian Glaze and Charred Lime ($18). It’s a dish the chef is so proud of that it’s going to become a regular fixture, and it’s a very well-advised addition. The prawns are huge (of course), giving you a generous amount of meat that’s teeming with a slightly honeyed flavour from the glaze and a smoky scent of citrus. It may be a bit of a struggle getting the meat out of the prawn, but once you get a good grip on it, the meat peels straight off.
The Dengakuman, Toothfish, Carmelised Miso ($37) is the pride and joy of the Binchotan Grill section of the menu. Toothfish is a useful meat, flaky and delicate so it really absorbs whatever you put on it; here it’s a nice, caramelised sweet and savoury miso glaze that may be a bit heavy for some, but it’s counterbalanced by the refreshing cucumber on the side.
I order up the Wagyu 7+ Oyster Blade, Citrus Jus, and Baby Gem ($37) but am quickly told that I might want to change my mind and switch to the Wagyu 7+ Tenderloin, Eschalot, and Spicy Teriyaki ($55). When I ask why my waiter kindly explains that the chef has been experimenting with the tenderloin and is planning on introducing a new take on the dish to the menu, one drizzled in wasabi butter.
I’m not usually one to like wasabi, but the way this butter continued to melt all over the steak, stamping a strong flavour into the juicy meat was too hard to resist. Having had tried so many excellent dishes that night, it was hard for any one dish to stand out on it’s own but this one certainly steamrolled to the top of my list. I only hope that it’s a big hit up at Jupiters, because if this makes it’s way to Sokyo in Sydney (where I’m based) then it’d become a mandatory weekly tradition.
I couldn’t end a visit to Kiyomi without trying at least one of their sushi rolls, so the Queensland Roll ($23) seemed like a good idea. This roll has a texture unlike your standard sushi roll, it’s softer and melts the second you put it in your mouth. It’s a well-balanced layering of flaky spanner crab meat in soy paper with avocado puree on top. There’s also a little crunch there thanks to some puffed rice.
“You don’t have to finish it all, but we’ve made you a dish with three desserts” my very professional and diligent waiter tells me. I nod passively and ignore the fact that I might need to crawl up to my room if I have one more bite of anything.
It’s dessert though; who in their right mind would skip dessert? The Dessert Platter ($30) let’s you choose three of the five desserts to have all at once.
The Goma Street is definitely one for the chocolate lovers, and it’s another classic taken from the Sokyo menu. Admire the presentation of tempered dark chocolate, caramelised white chocolate mousse, and black sesame ice cream before you mess it all up in a frenzy in an attempt to get at that smooth, nutty, and rich combination.
As I move down the platter I get to the Mochi Ravioli, soft and sugary mochi pancake filled with frozen strawberry milkshake that pops in your mouth and spreads that cooling flavour around.
Mango Shiso is best saved for last as it also serves as a palate cleanser. The fresh combination of mango, mango sorbet, shiso meringues, mascarpone, and sour cream is the right way to end dinner; made even better if paired up with some delicate Plum Wine, of which Kiyomi have plenty.
If Kiyomi speaks to the standard which Jupiter’s are holding themselves to with this refurbishment then I would say that this Hotel and Casino, which has long needed a transformation, is on the path to becoming some truly special.
Address: Jupiter’s Hotel & Casino, Gold Coast; Broadbeach Island (off Gold Coast Highway), Broadbeach, Queensland
Contact: 07 5592 8443 or 1800 074 344
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 5.30pm – 10pm
The writer visited Kiyomi as a guest of Jupiters Gold Coast.