The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar

YES, this is yet another Melbourne food blog!

Heiroku Sushi (Gold Coast, QLD)

10A Frank Street
Labrador QLD 4215
+61 7 5532 4831

Labrador. A suburb on the Gold Coast that’s famous for, well, nothing. Its close proximity to Smackport Southport means that many tourists and overly sheltered locals stay away from it. But if they knew that Labrador is home to one of the nicest Japanese restaurants in Goldy, I’m sure they’d come in droves.

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Heiroku Sushi is located just off the Gold Coast Highway, in a quiet court that houses a Chinese restaurant and several vacant stores with ‘FOR LEASE’ signs plastered across their stained windows. Heiroku opened during Gold Coast’s halcyon era, in 1967, where the beaches were full, the girls were less tacky and the investors were coming in droves. Thus, given Gold Coast’s crappy economy it’s surprising to see such places still standing.

I probably wouldn’t have heard of Heiroku if it weren’t for my reader, Kewyn, a Gold Coast boy. After I told him that I loved Maruya, he urged me to try Heiroku and with that, I dragged Marty over there for lunch despite his protests. WAH WAH WAH, why do we always have to try new places? WAH WAH WAH, what’s wrong with eating at our favourite places? WAH WAH WAH I bet this Kewyn guy is wrong.’

He soon shut up not long after.

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Heiroku is, first and foremost, a sushi train restaurant. Here, little plastic plates topped with very reasonably priced goodies ($2-$6 a plate) cruise on a conveyor belt around the dining room – kind of like the Broadbeach monorail but more useful. In addition to selecting your dishes from the ‘train,’ the option to order off the a la carte menu is also there.

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We started off simple with the salmon nigiri. The salmon was surprisingly fresh and at $2, there really wasn’t any reason NOT to select it.

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Then we had our obligatory ‘non-authentic’ sushi, the teriyaki chicken roll ($3). It’s not something I’d be quick to order at sushi stalls but I didn’t mind this one as it was so tasty.

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Marty loves squid sushi so he was delighted to see it on the menu ($3). Although he prefers the squid sushi at Maruya (‘it’s fresher there,’ he reckons), this wasn’t bad given the price.

We also ordered a serving of assorted sashimi off the menu ($9), which featured the obligatory triumvirate of tuna, kingfish and salmon. Although I did find the kingfish fillets a bit ‘pongy’, I thought the other two were beautiful.

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Our aburi salmon with onion ($4) wasn’t bad but to be honest, I only ordered it because I saw all that sauce and it reminded me of takoyaki. It was probably my least favourite dish but only because the others were so good.

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Better were the crab meat croquettes (two for $3) which were beautifully crispy on the outside and packed with a luscious creamy filling. I did find the use of patty pan to hold the sauce and the lettuce a bit odd though.

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My favourite dish, however, had to be the udon noodle soup with tempura prawn which is made to order and costs $9 for a standard bowl. What I really loved about Heiroku Sushi was the fact that a lot of their more substantial dishes come in half sizes so that diners can have more room in their stomach to sample the other dishes. This beautiful bowl of soup noodles, for example, was $5.

What made this the best udon noodle soup I’ve ever tasted was the sweet, sweet broth that was peppered with all manners of umami – and not the MSG type either. There was a perfect balance between the kombu and the dashi, while you couldn’t get more springy udon noodles elsewhere on the Gold Coast. As for the tempura prawn? It remarkably stayed crispy while it was in the broth. I knew I should have ordered a normal-sized bowl.

Given that we normally eat like crazy people, we were surprised that we were full after only ordering a small variety of dishes. Then again, we did consume our share of post-workout supplements that morning and those things apparently suppress appetites. In the end, we paid only a smidgen over $30 for two including soft drinks, making Heiroku one of the best value places to get Japanese food on the Gold Coast despite its faded decor and inconvenient location.

Heiroku Sushi on Urbanspoon

11 Comments on Heiroku Sushi (Gold Coast, QLD)

  1. Kewyn Appadoo
    April 5, 2013 at 20:10 (2 years ago)

    Ah! I forgot to tell you they changed management! I haven’t been there for a while then the quality started picking back up! Glad you liked it! Did you manage to get a seat at Justin Lane?

    Reply
    • libishski
      April 6, 2013 at 13:31 (2 years ago)

      My first time at Justin Lane was in August last year so I wasn’t in any real rush to re-visit it.

      The night I was chatting to you (I think this was when you had JUST left Justin Lane as we were driving to Burleigh), we were told that we’d have to wait 45 minutes or something ridiculous like that so we ended up going to an Italian restaurant on the same strip (it’ll be my next post!). On our second attempt, we were told that it would be a 20 minute wait so we just stood at the bar and enjoyed cocktails before we were able to be seated. We did try the trio of gelati this time around – sooo good!

      Reply
      • Kewyn
        April 7, 2013 at 17:14 (2 years ago)

        The trio of ice cream! I always make sure I leave room for that when am at Justin’s. We should catchup around some food next time you are up!

        Reply
  2. Hannah
    April 6, 2013 at 07:50 (2 years ago)

    Ooh, squid sushi! I love that.

    Reply
  3. CCU
    April 6, 2013 at 20:00 (2 years ago)

    Everything looks so exotic and delicious :D
    And loving the new site!

    Cheers
    CCU

    Reply
  4. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    April 6, 2013 at 21:26 (2 years ago)

    The prices are really good! Hehe my husband does occasionally ask if we can go to the same place twice :P

    Reply
  5. Daisy@Nevertoosweet
    April 8, 2013 at 15:16 (2 years ago)

    Heiroku Sushi reminds me of Sushi Train in adelaide and I think they have it in Sydney :) Looks like great value too! Would love if we have more sushi places in Melbourne I think that’s what we lack >_<

    LOL Ricky always wants to go back to the place I have already visited and I don't want to revisit so I usually just ignore him hahaha

    Reply
    • libishski
      April 9, 2013 at 19:31 (2 years ago)

      Ohhh weren’t we meant to go to Sushi Hotaru with Dave at some point? :-O

      I do agree, Melbourne needs more nice sushi places. I can’t ignore Marty though cos he doesn’t shut up, lol.

      Reply
  6. Lowenbrau
    May 11, 2013 at 23:06 (1 year ago)

    Sorry but your post is extremely misleading on several parts…hope you won’t mind me pointing out a few things in honesty.
    Southport is the CENTRAL business district of Gold Coast, not a tourist hot spot, I believe the suburb you’re referring to is called ‘Surfers Paradise’.

    FYI, >99% of heiroku’s diners are locals and not bris bloggers like yourself who finds the location ‘inconvenient’. We certainly don’t ‘stay away’ from it, the place is open from lunch til dinner with no breaks in between and parking’s plenty and free, that to us locals is convenience.

    And please… I’m only a local in GC for the last 19 years but I’m pretty 100% sure that Heiroku never existed back in “Gold Coast’s halcyon era, in 1967″… in fact it’s not even 3y.o. yet….

    Reply
    • libishski
      May 12, 2013 at 09:23 (1 year ago)

      Hey Lowenbrau,

      Thanks very much for your comment. I always welcome feedback and although mistakes do happen, let me say a few things myself:

      NOWHERE in my post did I say that Southport is a tourist hot spot. I’m well aware that Southport is the central business district and that Surfers Paradise is the tourist hot spot. Additionally, I say ‘many tourists and overly sheltered locals stay away from it.’ I did not say that locals don’t go. I say that SHELTERED locals don’t go. I guess I should have been clearer in my blog though. By locals, I don’t mean Labrador/Southport residents, but people who live on the Gold Coast (referring to my friends from the Robina/Broadbeach area who often find it a bit of a hassle to drive from their end up to Southport until it was absolutely necessary).

      As for the ‘inconvenient’ bit, again I was referring to our mates who live further down who often say that driving up north is something they’d rather avoid unless they have to. PLus, from an outsider’s perspective, it’s not exactly in the most central location. Unless you have a car, it’s not the easiest place to get to.

      Additionally, I’m NOT a ‘bris blogger.’ ‘Melbourne Restaurant Reviews’ appears on my title and my banner says ‘Melbourne Foodie Adventures and Beyond.’ I love Brisbane and all but that is not where I’m from.

      Thanks for pulling me up on the facts though. I was always under the assumption that they closed between lunch and dinner but I was wrong so thanks. As for the 1967 thing, there was a sign at the restaurant saying that they had ‘been in business for over 35 years’ which easily lead me to believe that it’s been there since the ‘halcyon era’. I did have a look on their Facebook site though and it says that the owner opened up a store in Japan in 1967 before opening on the Gold Coast years later. True true, but not quite so!

      Reply

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