We were quietly devastated when Mme Grenouille waved her beret adieu and departed the dining scene earlier this year. Say goodbye to the best macarons in town, to French breakfasts and dulcet accents which made us weak at the knees! In fact, we hadn’t been able to go near the empty shopfront until we heard what was coming…
Daichi by Ten.
Same owner, different cuisine, in fact it’s cuisine which owner, Mr Bob Jones (formerly Mr Yamagata), knows a lot about! With a background in French restaurants (hence the Mme Grenouille connection) and catering in Japan before settling in Australia, Mr Jones soon realised that there was an opening for fast and healthy Japanese food in Australia.
“I saw a business opportunity here in Australia, but it was love at first sight, because I moved a year later [laugh],” Mr. Jones told a Livedoor reporter.
With his 1994 ‘business opportunity’ becoming the popular Sushi Train chain of over 30 stores, as well as owning Ten Japanese Restaurant (Broadbeach), Ten Fine Dining (Kuala Lumpur), Top Noodle (Coolangatta) and a Japanese minimart, Mr Jones has proven his success at both ends of the restaurant spectrum in Australia as well as overseas.
The cuisine at Daichi by Ten sits at a different place to Mr Jones’ other restaurants – top quality fine casual food of French and Japanese culinary origins, including tastes from Ten’s kitchen, yet bathed in incongruities.
Why so? Knowing that Daichi’s chef, Yusuke Ito, was the Sous Chef straight out of Ten’s kitchen, we had no doubts about the quality of the food. Our problem lay in the ordering. No single menu seemed to sum up all the choices. With three or four different places around the restaurant to check out, we felt scattered and restless, bouncing from one surface to the next.
“Oh look in the cabinet! Here’s a laminated menu of six dishes with photos, a full takeaway box deal on the counter, a D4 flyer…and a blackboard up there!” Nothing intuitive in this food advertising!
Some of the fresh food under glass looked enticing, the salads less so; the French-Japanese elements of the menu intrigued us; we peered questioningly into the prepared boxes on top of the cabinet… and how large would each dish be? How many plates should we order?
Far more smiles than clarification passed across the counter as we clucked and fussed, finally ordering (very generously, as it turned out, for a Saturday lunch).
We sat outside fanned with wafting breezes, took our cutlery from an empty (sigh) Hill of Grace box (…guess that was not BYO!), and prepared for the onslaught: firstly, a rich French classic Wagyu beef rillette with oven-baked baguette; Handmade Gyoza still sizzling on the hotplate as they reach the table dissolve with a single bite; Soft shell crab with rich tangy homemade tartare; Ricepaper rolls filled with 9+ Wagyu beef and sashimi-grade salmon and avocado (my standout dish); Fish (salmon) and chips…
The dishes appeared quickly with little attempt to pace their arrival, each one plated with a simple garnish such as microherbs, or a slice of lemon. Not fancy-looking, but they were all pretty damn delicious and we polished them off without ceremony… Sure I would have liked to finish one dish before the next arrived – there was no rush, no diners waiting for the table, and the food was so delectable that we would have liked to linger over it, savouring each scrumptious mouthful.
Next time (and there will definitely be a return visit) we’ll order a couple of dishes at a time to pace our own meal, working through from cold to hot, or fresh to fried, depending on the specials. Perhaps we’ll luck out at a weekend brunch when Ten’s Executive Chef Daisuke Miyake’s signature omelette is on! Or we’ll indulge in sashimi grade blue fin tuna, or some Flinders Island lamb. Pricey but exquisite, we don’t think we could make a bad choice with ingredients of this calibre!
A sidekick for Ten it may well be, a strange juxtaposition of haute cuisine and takeaway, a cultural experience which is sometimes a little lost in translation, but there are culinary treasures to be enjoyed at Daichi if you are patient enough to overlook some of the ambiguities.
The translation of Bob Jones’ signature restaurant ‘Ten’ in Japanese is ‘heaven’. Mr. Jones has been quoted as saying that he wants “to work hard to create the best possible dining experience for guests, to give them a ‘taste of heaven’ on the Gold Coast.” (Ten Blogspot)
‘Daichi’ (dai-ichi) means ‘number one’, so perhaps Daichi is our worthy introduction to fine Japanese food in an informal setting while we’re saving up to indulge in the gastronomic experience of Ten…
UPDATE October 2013: Fantastic! Daichi by Ten has new menus! Problem solved, and everyone is happy!
UPDATE April 2014: Menus have been improved again at Daichi. One sheet, easy to read, they’re a joy!
Shop 1, 2669 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach, Queensland 4218 Open for Lunch Mon-Sat 11:30am – 2:45pm, Sun 11am – 2:30pm; Dinner : Mon-Sun 5pm – 8:45pm