Etsu @ Gold Coast – Very Cool Japanese Izakaya Bar
Hidden behind a big barn door, Etsu is a little piece of Japan. Inspired by traditional Japanese izakaya bars where men gathered after work to sit around, talk, eat and drink sake, this cool Japanese bar has certainly captured the same essence of it. Once I opened the door, I was hit by the loud music, the interesting Japanese wall design, a well-stocked bar and of course, the sumptuous plates to share.
Etsu’s dishes are designed to be shared. You can choose from sushi and sashimi, tempura dishes, salads and meat and seafood from the Robata grills. Begin your night with a plate of spicy edamame ($6) and pork gyoza ($6).
These small bites can be enjoyed with your favourite Japanese beverage. They have a number of Japanese beers on tap including Asahi, Kirin and Sapporo beer, and other options include sake and shochu. I had the Yona Yona (“Night after night” in Japanese) Pale ale which is medium bodied American Pale Ale with generous amount of cascade hops. It is citrusy and has a well-balanced bitterness and sweetness.
Do yourself a favour and sample the Beef Tataki ($15). The sliced beef is seasoned and seared then cut thinly and served cold with a ponzu dressing. It’s one of the 50 dishes to try by Gold Coast Bulletin. If you wish to have something more premium, they also have Wagyu Tataki ($22) sprinkled with some onions. The Tuna Tataki ($22) is a great option too.
The skewers of chicken, seafood and vegetarian goodness all cooked by Robata Grill. At Etsu, they use binochotan charcoal which adds a sweet, smoky flavour to the dish. We had some skewers to go along, including cherry tomatoes ($5) and Tsukune ($8). Nothing much to shout about unfortunately.
Along with the Robata grill skewers, they offer Wagyu Ishiyaki ($60). This stone cooked steak is an event in itself. The meat is cooked on a hot stone, and finished off with the sprinkling of brandy to flambe the meat, leaving it with a nicely charred fragrance. The lamb cutlets ($20) came out deliciously tender and juicy, flavoured with kochijang (spicy paste) to cut the gamey taste.
If you’re looking for a totally different Japanese dining experience, then this is the place for you. The service, the food, the music, the drinks are all worth coming back for. Make sure you make your reservation early. Don’t try to find the sign for Etsu if you’re driving because they don’t have one. But it’s not hard to spot with a red lantern shining brightly on the dark street. Once you open the doors, it’s becomes a crazy loud Japanese Izakaya.
Address: 2440 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach, Gold Coast, Australia
Tel: +61 (07) 55260944