Izakaya vibes and Japanese eats abound at Teneriffe newcomer Hikari
The past three months have been a whirlwind for Japanese chef Joon Shimamura. After relocating to Australia with his family in the latter half of 2018, he immediately got to work opening a brand-new restaurant in the heart of Teneriffe. This frenzy of activity seems to have paid off – Hikari opened just before the end of 2018, dishing up a savvy interpretation of izakaya-style cuisine. The name hikari means gleam or light in Japanese, and the restaurant is perfectly placed as a shining beacon for fans of sushi, sashimi, sake and more.
Brisbane is experiencing an influx of quality Japanese eateries and, in good news for fans of food from the Land of the Rising Sun, 2019 looks to continue the trend. Hikari is the latest izakaya-style venue to open, softly launching on Florence Street in Teneriffe in the last days of 2018. Chef and co-owner Joon Shimamura was convinced to open a restaurant in Australia after being introduced to partner and Hikari’s chef de cuisine Patrick (ex-Le Cordon Bleu) by a mutual friend. After Joon relocated Down Under, the pair scouted for a suitable location – settling on a great spot next to local hotspots Wilde Kitchen and The Dalgety Public House. The space was given a cosmetic overhaul, removing traces of the tenancy’s past life as a Thai restaurant to make way for a sophisticated new look. Renovations replaced the bar and new equipment was installed in the kitchens, while decorative touches such as hanging lanterns and replicas of famous works from Japanese artist Hokusai give the space life.
Joon and Patrick are delivering the goods when it comes to the two core focuses of izakaya-style dining (alcohol with food) but have given the traditional menu options a slight tweaking to break the mould slightly while making the food approachable for all. The menu runs from hot and cold tasting appetisers and small plates to robata-grill dishes, makimono (sushi rolls), yasaimono (Japanese salads) and amaimono (dessert). Joon’s experimental flair has been applied to dishes such as the hiramasa kingfish with yuzu soy, fresh jalapeno and truffle oil, deep-fried soft-shell crab salad with shrimp chips and corn salsa, jalapeno salmon shooters with cream cheese, and New Zealand Ora king salmon with edamame and avocado mash. A lunch menu gives diners the option of donburi rice bowls, Hiroshima-style okonomu-yakisoba and katsu sandos. The kitchen will be shaking up the menu weekly, with new dishes popping in and out regularly. Joon – also a sake sommelier – has assembled an impressive list of drinks, including Dassai sake, draught Orion beer, umeshu, shochu, premium Japanese whisky, Australian wine and a host of cocktails.
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