Center Arcade, 3131 Surfers Paradise Boulevard
Those who live in Brisbane know that it's getting quite Summery these days. If these last few days of Winter are a taste of what is to come Dec, Jan and Feb, I'd say with a good degree of confidence that we're in for a scorcher.
On this plus side, this means sunny skies and time for the beach. On the down side, pants are losing out in favor of skirts and everything is getting shorter. In other words, it's becoming increasingly unsuitable to hide extra lumps and bumps behind layers of clothing. Hot weather fashion is unforgiving. Time to watch what I eat.
Last weekend, my parents decided I was just too bored for my own good. A trip to the Gold Coast was announced and off we went. For some reason, the traffic along Gold Coast Highway was beyond atrocious so that by the time we got there, all we wanted to do was have lunch.
I remembered this little arcade of Asian eateries when I was last at the coast so that's where we headed. After tossing up between a few joints, we settled for J Kitchen, which is a casual Japanese-style eatery.
Now, I'm quite sure I remember the name of this place right; besides, it's in the photos and on the menu. But, no matter how hard I Google, I can't find an address for it.
Lucky for you, I'm infinitely resourceful. I remembered a bubble tea shop I tried that was located near J Kitchen. I found its address and learnt that this arcade of Asian eateries is actually called Center Arcade on Surfer's Paradise Boulevard. Smart, huh? There's also Thai, Cantonese and Chinese all in the same joint so it's worthwhile to checkout if you're after cheap Asian food.
When we entered, there were no empty seats except a 'reserved' table. The ladies assured us that we could take that table... so we did. The menu is huge and full of photos but it's a bit embarrassing that the page I took a photo of has so many 'not available' stickers on it.
Between us, we ordered a 2 rice dishes and a noodle dish to share.
Vegetable and seafood noodle stew
Mum's noodle dish came first. I'm having trouble remembering the exact title of the dish but it's a noodle stew with lots of veggies, some seafood bits and pieces and mushrooms. She's quite cynical about Japanese food but thought this dish was pretty tasty. I thought it was sort of average.
Special eel rice
Dad had chosen the special eel rice. It was a bit like a mix between a fried rice and a heavy porridge. This dish was full of flavor and had quite a good portion of eel. Out of the 3 menu choices, this was my favorite.
My pick was the sukiyaki-don. I've really enjoyed hotpot-style sukiyaki in the past. This is pretty much the rice version. The sweet soy beef on top of the dish tasted alright - just a bit dry. I like the onion (perfectly matches the flavors of sukiyaki) and egg. The rice underneath was plain and boring so I left it alone.
Each menu item comes in 'regular' size or 'large'. Regular is already pretty massive so I recommend you choose that, unless you're REALLY hungry. Our rice dishes also came with complimentary miso soup.
The service at J Kitchen was fast and the waiters spoke Japanese to each other. This is somewhat reassuring for authenticity. The layout is cute and food is affordable.