Meriton Pegasus Building
Shop 2-4, 2669-2679 Gold Coast Highway
Broadbeach QLD 4218
+61 7 5570 1010
It was my birthday not too long ago and even though Marty was all like, ‘NO MORE NEW RESTAURANTS! ENOUGH!’ while crossing his arms and glaring at me, he obliged when I said that I would LOVE to go to Ten Japanese Restaurant for my birthday.
The fine-dining restaurant picked up a coveted hat at the Brisbane Times Good Food Guide awards night a few weeks beforehand which gave me another reason to go. Plus, they also featured in the last edition of the Gold Coast Entertainment book so any excuse to use it was as good as any.
Due to the never-ending road works on the Gold Coast Highway, we got lost when trying to find the restaurant. Eventually, we find ourselves at a random carpark which was, thankfully, just across the road from the Meriton Pegasus Building. What we found cool about the restaurant was its entrance; we initially thought we were supposed to enter through that door on the right just behind the menu stand but it turns out the entrance is actually the two metal slabs in the middle that opened up automatically when movement is sensed. Minds blown.
We walked into a labyrinth of wine cellars, Japanese lanterns and sporadically-located nooks where couples and parties were able to enjoy their dinner in relative privacy. As for us, we were seated at the secluded sushi bar where we got to watch the lone chef do his thing.
To kick things off, I ordered a Tokyo Sour ($18), a fun and flirty combination of sho-chu, green tea, lemon, sugar, green tea ice sphere. I loved that the bitterness of the green tea notes added a nice edge to what would have otherwise been a one-dimensional lemon-y sweet concoction.
Marty ordered a glass of Suntory Yamazaki 12-year old single malt ($18). I initially thought that Marty only ordered this because Bill Murray’s character did in Lost in Translation but even I was impressed with the ball of ice that came with the drink. The scotch was unmistakably Japanese with its light and clean flavour, yet it still managed to pack a punch.
Our amuse bouche was a sweet potato ball with miso and spring onions. I’m not a huge fan of sweet potatoes but I didn’t mind this at all (either that, or I was super hungry).
We decided to order the five course degustation menu ($110 per head). The degustation at Ten works like this: you choose a cold or hot entrée, then choose a dish from the sushi menu, one seafood dish, one meat dish and one dessert. Obviously, there are some premium dishes that you can’t order such as the mixed sushi platter and the lobster but everything else is up for grabs.
Marty’s entrée was the Aori squid tempura which was made with ‘the best Tasmanian squid’ and covered with a crispy layer of squid ink tempura batter. Marty initially thought that the squid pieces looked like ‘dried cat droppings’ but I gave props to the creative presentation, ignoring Marty who said that the bowl looked like a chamber pot. The squid pieces were lovely, they were soft and tender on the inside and the tempura remained light and crispy until the last piece was gone.
Meanwhile, I had the spanner crab meat croquettes. Yeah, I know that croquettes are sort of overdone at the moment but screw it, I love croquettes okay! These beauties were served with soy cream along with a 20 year old Portuguese tawny port sauce and Tasmanian grain mustard. I was impressed with the croquettes not just because they were super-crunchy but because they also contained a generous amount of crab meat.
Marty ordered the mixed nigiri for the sushi course, which came with glistening pieces of tuna, toro, seared ocean trout, squid, kingfish and scampi. The toro wasn’t supposed to be in the mix but I had specifically requested it as Marty had never tried the beautifully fatty meat of the tuna belly before. I told the waitress that I was happy to pay extra for it but the sushi chef told us that he wouldn’t think of charging us extra for it – ain’t he nice? On the Gold Coast, one can get over sushi really quickly because so many places offer cheap and pedestrian options. However, the sushi plate at Ten, as simple as it was, reminded us that we were at somewhere special. Every single bit was fresh and Marty especially liked the toro, which was oh-so buttery.
I had the mixed sashimi plate for the sushi course. It consisted of super-fresh pieces of squid, kingfish, tuna, ocean trout and bonito. Faultless.
It was time for the seafood course! Marty had the SA scampi served with ‘kon-nyaku (konjac) noodles.’ It was Marty’s first time eating scampi so he was pretty excited about eating it. For someone who is good at pretending he knows a thing or two about food, he had trouble eating the beast without making a mess. That said, he thoroughly enjoyed the dish particularly the broth which was awesomely flavoured by scampi heads.
I had the black cod ‘saikyo-yaki.’ The dish was very similar to Nobu’s signature black cod miso dish, having been marinated with saikyo miso for three days. Ten’s presentation of the cod was prettier though, with yuzu puree, pumpkin puree with truffle oil, beans and French radish all making appearances. While the cod was nice and buttery, I did like Nobu’s version just a little bit better.
Then came our meat dishes. Marty had the Ten-style ‘nikujaga’, teppan grilled wagyu tri-tip with crumbed mashed potato and wagyu mince. It was a delicious dish and the beef was cooked beautifully. I just thought that it was perhaps a bit ‘safe’, hence why it paled in comparison to our previous dishes which were outstanding.
I had the trio of Flinders Island lamb rack with dark tamari soy and red wine sauce. I don’t normally see lamb on the menu at a Japanese restaurant but I was glad that this dish made an appearance at Ten. The meat was beautifully juicy and tender. I would have been happy if it was the only thing that appeared on the plate, but they had other bells and whistles such as a lamb spring roll and a crumbed lamb cutlet. I didn’t mind the cutlet but thought the spring roll filling (shredded lamb) was dry.
It was time for dessert – and just as well too because we were getting way too full. Marty had the Japanese trifle, a seemingly complex construction of nashi and coconut compote, shiso pastry cream, yuzu panna cotta with nashi and coconut cream sorbet. Surprisingly, it was a light dessert that just happened to consist of complicated-sounding components. Marty say that it was refreshing and a great finish to what had been a wonderful meal.
I had what the menu called a ‘matcha dessert.’ The waitress wheeled a little cart to our table and started preparing a matcha ‘icing’ using fresh matcha powder and hot water.
She then poured the icing over mascarpone ice cream where it set like Ice Magic. Way, way cool. It was a simple dessert but I loved it all the same. I especially liked how the slightly bitter matcha icing paired beautifully with the creamy mascarpone ice cream.
We finished off with some coffees. I don’t normally drink coffee this late at night but I had been planning to have a late one. Given my current propensity to fall asleep before midnight, I really needed a latte just to stay awake. In hindsight, I probably should have went elsewhere for coffee because it was watery and tasteless. Moral of the story: never trust hatted restaurants to make good coffees.
Marty’s Japanese-style iced coffee ($7) tasted a bit better. I’m not sure what made this iced coffee ‘Japanese-style’ but it had more taste than my latte.
We were then presented with a cup of petit fours each. In each cup there was a green tea mochi, passionfruit macaron and chocolate truffle, all of which were sweet and delicious.
Ten reignited the ‘wow’ factor for Japanese food which often comes in mediocre forms such as soggy teriyaki chicken sushi rolls at local shopping centres. The service was amazing throughout the night and the food was sensational. The bathrooms at Ten were even worthy of a mention here – the toilets were those flashy modern ones that you only see in those ‘Made in Japan’-type coffee books and made me feel like I was in Tokyo. The presentation, the quiet but classy atmosphere, and being the only people sitting at the sushi bar in an intimate seating just added to the experience. It was almost like being in a scene in Lost in Translation but my boobs are nowhere near as big as Scarlett’s and Marty certainly ain’t no Bill Murray (snigger). Ten is certainly deserving of its one-hat status and I look forward to my next visit.