Yamagen Japanese Restaurant

Yamagen relaunches at QT Hotel with samurai perfection

Wow! Yamagen you have my heart.

QT Hotels are known for their unique concepts, art installations and edgy designs. The Surfers Paradise property was the first of their now eight hotels and has clearly been inspired by the local beach culture of the 60’s.

After the unveiling of Yamagen last night it is safe to say they know how to throw a party!

You never get a second chance to make a first impression and Yamagen did not disappoint. From the moment we arrived through the hotel lobby the atmosphere was electric with over two hundred foodies mingling poolside under a sea of lanterns and a perfectly lit cherry blossom.

There was a sense of anticipation as the restaurant was closed off and smoke started filling up the windows.

Once the dramatic performance of Taiko drumming finished we were moved through into the decadent venue. Combining Japanese styling with modern elements it really did feel like we were now in Tokyo.

Yamagen Japanese Restaurant reopening

PHOTO: Gold Coast Insider

For those who are not local, Yamagen is certainly by no means a newcomer, they have been at the forefront of the Gold Coast dining scene for over 30 years.

After a complete facelift via acclaimed international designer, Nic Graham, it’s an exciting new chapter for this local icon.

The restaurant is divided up into three distinctive areas, the bar, the table-seki and the sushi counter. It feels reminiscent of a traditional Izakaya you might found in downtown Tokyo but has a modern twist with glass windows throughout, creating a dramatic backdrop for the city skyline beyond.

The talented team of chefs are mixing old school samurai skills with new school chef invention and the results are next level menu items.

Yamagen Japanese Restaurant reopening

PHOTO: Gold Coast Insider

Hands down best dish of the night was the sashimi tacos with the steamed noodle dumplings coming in a close second.

With so many options to choose from why not try and secure a booking at the exclusive sushi counter where you can experience authentic omakase. Who doesn’t love a stream of fresh market fish sashimi and sushi expertly chosen by the chefs each day?!

The bar options are endless with top shelf sake, craft beers and well over sixty whiskeys (everyone need options).

There is something naughty about cocktails on a school night, they always seem to go down far too easily and our hot favourite was the “Utsumi Sour” a mixture of Tanqueray gin, peach liquer, amomo peach and lemon.

The only downfall of the night was that we hadn’t booked one of their plush hotel rooms. Sneaking upstairs to fluffy slippers and buffet breakfast at Bazaar would have been the perfect end to an amazing night.

Outback Steakhouse opens in Pacific Fair

Just when you thought Pacific Fair could not get any more delicious!  Outback Steakhouse is scheduled to open later this week and before the doors open to a hungry public, Gold Coast Insider was invited to take a sneak peak…

The first Outback Steakhouse opened way back in 1988, so you know the team have been serving up the goods to passionate steak lovers for a hell of a long time.

With seven established restaurants in Australia the team are excited to be launching a restaurant within the new foodie mecca that is Pacific Fair.

Located just next to the entrance near Hooker Boulevard, the restaurant almost feels like a cocktail bar with a dramatic staircase full of greenery and modern fixtures throughout.  Their goal is to create a restaurant that has a casual, friendly feel backed by serious food.

They are committed to providing the best steak experience.  Their steaks are carved from grain fed MSA beef that has been inspected, hand selected and ‘wet aged’ in a controlled environment to ensure tenderness. I didn’t even know ‘wet aged’ was a thing till last night. But now, how will I ever go back??

And, that’s not all. Before being cooked to perfection by chefs expertly trained to understand the nuances of beef, the steaks are seasoned with a blend of 17 herbs and spices.

If you’re not a steak lover don’t despair.  There is a wide variety on the menu with classics like grilled chicken, tender ribs, hearty salads and seafood prepared fresh to order.

Their cult classic bloomin’ onion ring lived up to expectations and was full of flavour. I also loved their “no rules, just right” mantra, which offers options customers with allergies or gluten concerns.

They offer domestic, international and local beers, an extensive wine list and some very creative cocktails! My personal favourite was the “Lychee Rose Rickey”.

I can highly recommend Outback Steakhouse for your next Friday night drinks or even Sunday afternoon with the kids. After all, everyone needs a rest after all that shopping?!

Where do you latte?

Coffee lovers unite! There are so many new kids on the block, it can be hard to keep up.  So that you can spend more time sipping on their liquid gold and less time thinking about where to go, here’s my favourite new café spots…

Marketplace Robina

Shop 71, Arbour Avenue, Robina

Passionate Sydney foodies Matt & Sarah Shaeffer have recently opened the exciting new addition in Robina. With their signature seafoam coloured coffee machine they are the first café on the GC to be serving up the uber popular Glee Coffee Roasters via the central coast. With an all day breakfast and lunch menu these guys are opening up for private events and supporting local artisans with their marketplace stocked full of gifts.

Papercup Coffee Southport

201 Ferry Road, Southport

Next time your heading down or up Ferry Road you might notice a newbie in residence.  The friendly team from Paper Cup Labrador have opened their second venture located within the Southport service station complex.

Their mantra of coffee, eats and blooms has proven popular due to their outstanding service and accessibility. Blackboard coffee and Proud Mary are the beans of choice. Don’t forget to get one of their loyalty cards.

Mr Bengel Palm Beach

1099 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach

Palm Beach welcomed Mr Bengel earlier this year and their tagline of “your friendly neighbourhood café” is paying off. With friendly service, fresh menu options and epic coffee Mr Bengel is third venue from the owners of Justin Lane.

They are serving up supreme coffee roasters and have recently launched their responsible cafes option for customers bringing in their own cup for takeaway receiving a 0.20c discount.

That Blue House Coolangatta

5 Dutton Street, Coolangatta

If you have been to Coolangatta recently you may have noticed the big blue house on Dutton Street just a quick stroll from the beach.

Providing indoor and outdoor seating, wholesome food options and numerous coffee alternatives this spot definitely delivers on the good vibes.

Their signature Corn and chilli fritters and Acai Bowls come highly recommended.