Mr Kojima on Chevron Island delivers a modern take on traditional Japanese fare
The once bustling strip of Chevron Island has been a bit quiet in this crazy post-Covid landscape, but a spicy new tenant has arrived to breathe some much-needed life into the suburb’s dining scene. Mr Kojima opened quietly before Christmas and has won over the locals with its delightfully modern take on traditional Japanese fare. Here’s everything you need to know about this tasty newcomer …
If you’ve dined at one of the city’s esteemed Asian-fusion restaurants including Kiyomi, Etsu Izakaya, Hideaway Kitchen and Bar and Mr Hizola’s, chances are you’ve tasted one or more of Jon Hizola’s signature dishes. The culinary wizard, who lends his name to the Burleigh Heads eatery, has helmed some of the city’s busiest (and most awarded) Asian kitchens for more years than he’d care to count and has ventured out on his own for the first time to assume the position of chef de patron at Mr Kojima alongside his partner Eileen. Whilst it wasn’t their initial idea to open a venue in the midst of a global pandemic, the real Mr Kojima was forced to return to Japan as a result of COVID, which left the opportunity wide open for Jon and Eileen to seize it and make it their own. Situated in the old Chevron Social space, much of the former cafe’s fit-out remains as the Hizolas opted to invest in the culinary team including recruiting Blu Reque as chef de cuisine and stocking the bar with top-shelf liquor rather than replacing the furnishings. Mr Kojima may not boast the flashiest fit-out on the block but the bustling 36-seat dining room is booked to capacity nightly with locals embracing the new kid with open arms.
Mr Kojima’s expansive menu is designed to walk the line between traditional and modern. Traditional dishes such as the beef toban (caramelised onions and beef slices sizzling away in a clay pot) are left untouched whilst others – such as the tuna tartare with crispy rice and zingy wasabi soy dipping sauce – have been completely reimagined to incorporate a little drama in the plating. The gyoza are made in-house but if you’re after a real show-stopper, the rib-eye fillet with kinoko mushroom butter is guaranteed to please. If you simply cannot decide (we don’t blame you!), there’s an omakase option to free yourself from the burden of ordering. Accompanying the eats is a satisfying selection of sake, Japanese whisky and signature cocktails such as the Pink Geisha (muddled strawberry and watermelon, vodka, Shōchū and Calpis) and the Wagamama Margarita (pineapple Shōchū, lime, yuzu, tequila, sake and passionfruit).
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