Shop 13, Lido Arcade
24 Orchid Ave
Surfers Paradise QLD 4217
+61 7 5538 7816
Okay, so I may have lied about writing about Melbourne eateries from now on. I didn’t do it on purpose, though. As I write this at work, I had all these wonderful (and not so wonderful) Melbourne restaurants and cafes in my ‘to write about’ list. The only problem was that all the images, all the menu information and all relevant notes were all at home. And it wasn’t like I could look up stuff on the internet here
because our company are absolute Nazis when it comes to web-filtering and will do everything in their power to ensure that we can’t access internet sites in an apparent attempt to increase productivity when really, it has done nothing of the sort as people will still find ways to occupy themselves when they are bored at work anyway, including drawing caricatures of colleagues on MS Paint (Sean) and creating personal budget spreadsheets right up to the 2013-14 financial year (myself) and oh, I’d better shut up about the lack of internet usage at my work before I pop an artery because this issue gets me riled up. The only bit of information I actually had with me at work was a crappy photo of Amimoto‘s menu – Amimoto, being the Japanese restaurant that Marty and I went to earlier this year on the Gold Coast. So we’re going to go with that today. This caterpillar wishes to apologise for any inconveniences caused (but will not compensate Melbourne foodies with a free daily Metcard).
The place I’m talking about is Amimoto, a tiny, tiny sushi bar in a once-popular arcade in Surfers Paradise. The diminutive eatery sits in a dingy corridor and amidst rows of shops with ‘For Lease’ signs slapped unceremoniously across their windows. And when you walk along that very corridor, the overall atmosphere in the arcade is unwelcoming, especially when it’s been raining (think leaky ceilings everywhere). To steal a phrase from my friend, Kate, it’s like ‘rape alley’ (the area just outside Shooters nightclub, ironically located just around the corner from Amimoto) but indoors.
But Amimoto is anything but unwelcoming and the waitresses are certainly NOT creepy. Despite a very wet Gold Coast day, the atmosphere was warm inside thanks to the lively chatter created by the lunchtime patrons and by the ever-smiling waitresses. It was just after the lunch peak period, so Marty and I were able to find a spare table right next to a businessman enjoying an impressive-looking chirashisushi bowl.
While head chef Hidekatsu Fujino chopped his way through an aquarium’s worth of raw fish, we studied the extensive menu that seemingly comprised of bento boxes, though there were several a la carte items available such as hot rice dishes, sushi platters and chirashisushi. In hindsight, I should have chosen the chirashisushi for it seemed to be popular with Queensland bloggers and it certainly looked good in real life (I’m referring to the chirashisushi, of course, not the businessman). Not to worry, though, for the bento boxes weren’t too bad themselves.
I ordered the makunouchi bento ($20), which read like a ‘The Best of’ compilation. It came with sashimi, tempura pieces (prawn, sweet potato, normal potato and eggplant), salted grilled salmon, a small salad, rice and miso soup. Yep, the best of everything. It would have been a fantastic meal if everything was decent but alas, it was a hit and miss. For example, the sashimi pieces – salmon, tuna and kingfish – were wonderfully fresh while the tempura batter was as flat as my hair sans surf spray. That said, I did like the tempura (normal) potato – it tasted like a potato cake-slash-scallop! A far cry from the amazingly light, airy and crispy tempura pieces that I enjoyed at Mayura, 10 minutes further up north. Meanwhile, the salted grilled salmon was a smidgen too dry and I thought the addition of salt was unnecessary. It was an alright bento box, but certainly not the best.
Marty ordered the ‘H Set’ ($18) which was the eighth bento box on the list of about twenty. It was an all sushi affair with cuttlefish, egg and scallop sushi pieces joining the standard trio of tuna, salmon and kingfish. Martin thought his sushi pieces were ‘okay’ but like me, didn’t think it was the best. In addition, we both thought that including a bowl of rice to this bento box was odd (hello? It was all SUSHI!) but the miso soup was a welcome addition.
We really wanted to like Amimoto but thought that it fell short of our (admittedly and probably unfairly) high expectations. I had visited Maruya only a few days ago and loved it, so I was expecting similar quality so I was disappointed not to get it. That said, while our food wasn’t omg-wow-fantastic it wasn’t actually bad. Hell, there is a severe lack of half-decent cheap and cheerful Japanese eateries in Surfers Paradise anyway so if I happened to work or live in the area, I would no doubt be coming here for lunch. That is, if I seriously can’t afford to spend 10 minutes driving to Southport for better quality cheap and cheerful Japanese at Maruya.
*You’re probably wondering how I managed to post this up on my blog with no internet access at work. Simple, I write it up on Word at work, then post it up on my blog when I get home. Heh!