It’s the Matcha chocolate ganache tart that gives it away – a pretty little pie case filled with two shades of green chocolate filling…
“Oh my! There’s real talent here,” we think. “I wonder who’s in the kitchen?”
There’s something exciting about finding well-respected chefs in little restaurants, hidden out of the way. It’s like discovering a juicy secret that no one else knows.
Shin Sugiyama, Chanoyu’s owner, came to Australia as a teenager. Starting work as a cook was enough to entice him into hospitality as a career. He went back to Japan to train in traditional Japanese food, returning to Australia to work as a chef in Japanese restaurants, major hotels and one of our most popular cafés.
During those ten years working for other people, Shin carried a dream of giving Gold Coast diners something different, so he opened his own café in August 2016, tucked away in Southport suburbia.
It’s a quiet little venue, peaceful, in a tiny group of shops overlooking a park with lots of street parking available; the sort of place that attracts locals walking dogs or mothers with prams in tow. Shin has added to this appeal, adding a kiddy play area to his shop, a nook filled with blocks and toys.
“Most people find out about the café from other people or through Instagram” he tells us, “instead of through advertising.”
He named his café ‘Chanoyu’, meaning ‘a gathering of people to enjoy food and coffee together’. That’s exactly what it is; a place to relax, enjoy some well-made café food with a Japanese taste.
This is the point of difference: not the venue, but the style of food, with Shin making everything in house except for the milk buns. There’s a tasty Japanese tweek to the all-day menu, and prices are really keen with meals priced between $7.50 – $14:
OmuRice, a dish Shin says most Japanese would eat for lunch, yet we mostly eat it for breakfast – an omelette stuffed with homemade fried rice, chicken and vegetables with homemade ketchup
Eggs Benedict with teriyaki chicken
Japanese-style breakfast – thick white toast with butter and red bean spread, served with a long black coffee
Yuzu chicken burger with karaage chicken and yuzu slaw
Miso croquette burger with slaw
Vegan salad of greens, beetroot hummus, avocado and roasted red onions topped with lotus root chips on toast
Bacon and egg roll with sriracha mayo on a Japanese milk bun
Croque monsieur with miso béchamel and yuzu coleslaw
Katsu sandwich, with katsu pork fillet in soft white ribbon sandwiches. Delicious!
Then again there are the cakes; a small selection of delicious little numbers that catch our attention: Choux cream puffs (the most popular cake), Baked yuzu cheesecake, the Matcha chocolate ganache tart (my favourite), and Matcha green tea and strawberry muffins.
As if the cakes aren’t incentive enough, from 8am – 11am any morning, a cup of Kai coffee and any sweet costs a mere $7. We’re pretty taken with the Iced matcha latte with sticky jelly and espresso, as well as Shin’s smooth Matcha green tea latte.
Yes, we’ll be back.
With keen prices, quirky food and delicious cakes and drinks to boot, why wouldn’t we?
Shop 1/19 Alicia Street, Southport Ph: 07 5532 2442
Open Tues – Sun 7am – 3pm