It was our third date in 11 months, so I had to choose somewhere special, and somewhere we could go for lunch (dinners out are still not an option yet).  I’ve always wanted to try Ten Japanese and they have some great lunch specials so I surprised Sime with a lunch date.  What a great experience!

Since visiting Japan a couple of years  ago our appetite for great Japanese food has increased and it’s hard to find good Japanese on the Coast (stay tuned for a short post on one of my faves in Surfers).  Ten gets rave reviews (one hat and a listing in the Brisbane Times 2013 Food Guide) and after our lunch it’s easy to see why.  Its entrance is in a side street in Broadbeach south of the mall and main restaurant area which probably explains why a lot of people don’t know it’s there.

We entered and were seated temporarily at some chairs near the door by a waitress who read through the lunch specials with us and asked us what we would like.  There are two Teppanyaki and two other set lunch menu options to choose from.  Teppan doesn’t really do that much for us, so we decided to have the Sakura Gozen $70 per person six course set menu.  Yes $70 is more than you might spend on a lunch but what a great deal for six courses!

Initial impressions of the decor – no expense spared.  Floating ceilings, dark, stark colours.  Stone walls, benches inlaid with pebbles and topped with glass.  A glassed in Teppan area.  There was one other patron there and us, and we counted 4 floor staff and one sushi chef, and I’m not sure how many staff were in the kitchen.  We were seated at the sushi section so sitting facing the sushi chef.  I also noticed the Teppan Bar had similar seating, and couldn’t see any tables which doesn’t bother us at all but for those of you who like a table for two in a cozy corner it doesn’t look like an option.

The waiting staff brought us some hot rolled towels, I love this little detail in Japanese dining, what a great way to start your meal!  We ordered some Sake at the recommendation of the waiter.  I think it was the Kuheiji Kudan no Yamada – another splurge at $44 but worth it.  The clean, sweet flavours of the Sake married well with our food.

We started our meal with the Pork Nibuta & Spanner Crab and Soy Milk Croquette.  The croquette had a deliciously crunchy exterior with a soft, tasty filling of spanner crab.  The pork nibuta was a small piece of pork belly, with just the right amount of fat, slow cooked to perfection and so melt in the mouth and tasty that I closed my eyes to savour the flavour.  This dish was served with some smoked tomato mayonnaise which was also a good accompaniment.  As you can see the presentation was amazing.

Next up was the sashimi platter which included king fish, salmon, ocean trout and tuna.  Again, beautifully presented and amazingly fresh melt in the mouth pieces of fish.

For our next course we enjoyed a pumpkin soup – Rich Kaboka Pumpkin Soup with Truffle.  The waiter explained that this is a Japanese variety of pumpkin served with Tasmanian truffles.  You could see the shaved black truffle floating on top of the soup.  This was a small, rich, warm and tasty soup, presented in a gorgeous pottery bowl.

Following this was the Grilled Black Cod with Mushroom Sauce. The fish had a crispy skin that Sime loved, and was cooked to perfection and served with a ponzu mushroom sauce.  This was probably my least favourite course, I felt the sauce was a little unbalanced with the fish; but as I said Sime loved the crispy fish skin.

For our mains we had a choice of either Tempura, Sushi or Wagyu Tri-Tip 120g steak, each of which was served with rice, miso soup and pickles.  Sime chose the tempura which included okra, prawn, fish, pumpkin and sweet potato.  He said that the tempura was perfectly cooked with a light batter and still crispy vegetables.  He doesn’t normally like okra but really enjoyed it prepared this way.

My Wagyu Tri-Tip came out cooked perfectly medium rare served with two dipping sauces – one a truffle and soy and one a spicier sauce (can’t remember ingredients sorry, there were a lot of courses!).  The steak also came with a garnish of volcanic black salt and wasabi – great attention to detail and extra bits of flavour to add.  The Wagyu was excellent quality – buttery, veined with fat and melt in the mouth.  Sometimes I regret ordering wagyu because it’s so rich, but this is the way I like it – in a small tasty portion.

The miso, rice and pickles served with our mains were also great.  Home made crunchy, piquant oshinko (pickles), tasty miso and well, what can you say about rice except that it was cooked perfectly?

Last up was Ten’s Heavenly Dessert – in this case which was a raspberry and chocolate mousse and raspberry sorbet.  This was another beautifully presented dish with small flowers and smashed pistachio.  The sorbet was delicious, and I did like the mousse but it wasn’t a highlight.

So overall each course’s presentation was amazing – the choice of plates and side dishes marry together so well with each dish.  Almost every course was a winner, and we really enjoyed the overall experience.  The restaurant itself can be a bit quiet but we found the dark somewhat stark design quite relaxing.

At each course each element of the dish was explained to us, with every dish delivered by a waitstaff member wearing white gloves.  As I said staff almost outnumbered customers, but their presence was unobtrusive and professional.

So we would highly recommend a visit to Ten.  There are a lot of Japanese restaurants on the Coast and not many get it right.  Even if you just come for the lunch special like we did, give it a try.

Loo review: very clean modern toilets with Japanese loos (i.e. a little electronic panel with bidet options) and hand towels instead of paper towels 8/10.

2679 Gold Coast Highway (07) 5570 1010

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