Catch culinary masters in action at Oi Izakaya’s new-look interactive sushi station and bar
If you’ve ever attempted to make your own sushi at home you’ll appreciate it’s actually way harder than it looks. First, there’s the delicate rice-to-ingredient ratio to consider followed by the all-important rolling technique – push too hard and the rice busts through the nori, too little pressure and you end up with a very sad-looking snack that falls apart in your chopsticks. If you too have tried and failed, pull up a seat at Oi Izakaya’s brand-new interactive sushi bar and get some pointers from the pros.
You know you’re onto a good thing when your restaurant begins to push towards its outer edges. In just two short years (one of which was consumed by a global pandemic), Burleigh’s Oi Izakaya has firmly established itself as one of James Street’s most-loved dining institutions. Rather than just kicking back and resting on its laurels, the venue’s owner began to search for avenues that would allow for future expansion and, as luck would have it, he managed to secure the space immediately next door. After many many late nights and early mornings with the crew from OJ Thompson (the team responsible for the venue’s original fit-out), the ‘noren’ (aka Japanese curtains) have been lifted to reveal Oi Izakaya 2.0. The new-look dining den features a slightly moodier vibe than its original aesthetic with dark timber juxtaposed against a striking concrete bar that extends the length of the venue. A couple of prized booths take pride of place at the back of the bar and on the far wall is an interactive sushi bar where you can pull up a stool and watch the knife-wielding masters at work.
One of the main features of Oi Izakaya’s new layout is that there is now a range of different options for diners. Those in the mood for a quick beer and a bite can perch themselves at the sushi bar whilst those keen to tuck into a feast of okonomiyaki (savoury Japanese pancake), handmade gyozas and fiery wagyu (literally), can pull up a seat in the main dining space. Those in the mood to linger a little longer can find a seat at the bar and groups of five-plus diners can nab a booth at the back. The entire food menu is available regardless of where you sit and there are plans to keep the bar open a little later on weekends for nightcaps. There are also plans for regular laneway parties with the first one kicking off on Saturday June 26 featuring saxophonist and DJ Brad Scriven. Japanese eats and bangin’ beats, what more could you want? That’s rhetorical, obviously.
Keen to experience the tastes of Japan without the plane flight? Head to our Stumble Guide for Oi Izakaya’s opening hours, location and contact details.
Image credit: Kirra Smith Photography
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Gold Coast dining guide with more than 870 places to eat, drink, shop and play.