For a full Japanese dining experience, few restaurants on the coast transport you away to another time and place as effectively as Donto Sapporo.
Named after Sapporo, the capital city of Hokkaido, Donto Sapporo opened in 1990.
Located away from the retail hub of Broadbeach yet still on the highway, the restaurant occupies the ground floor of a large two-storey house, surrounded by gardens, with its own parking area behind the building (accessed from Chelsea Avenue).
Inside, there’s a choice of traditional zashiki style seating, shoes removed, at Western-style dining tables, the area divided by a tempura station, or on high stools around the sushi bar. There’s also a function room at the far end of the restaurant.
The menu covers an extensive range of styles and size of meals, ranging in price from $4.20 to $180 – $200 per kilo for abalone and lobster. There’s the option of tabletop cooking or set menus which offer value for money, but we decide to order à la carte for a little more adventure.
We order a range of small plates, which we presume will be served in order, degustation style. Instead, we are overwhelmed when the dishes all arrive within a space of a couple of minutes. By then it’s too late to amend our order. Ahhh… lost in translation!
So, instead of a relaxed pace of dining, we feel pressured to finish the sashimi before the tempura gets cold. It’s the only thing that mars a perfect evening.
True to form, the food is delicious. Fisherman’s choice, the mid-size sashimi, contained five varieties of fish: cobia, kingfish, tuna, ocean trout and hapuka (35). The trout and tuna were bright in colour, all startlingly fresh and well arranged, served with house made soy sauce. Tempura Soran (16.5), crisp from the fryer, contains seafood and vegetables, even enoki mushrooms.
We also enjoyed Softshell crab karaage (14.8) in curried ginger batter served with seaweed salt and sweet chilli sauce; Beef Tataki and Oysters Donto, their wasabi-laced Japanese mayo topping grilled and sprinkled with shallots (3.5 each).
Our waiter, Shō, gives us attentive service. Being Easter, he’s wearing bunny ears, totally unafraid of looking ridiculous. It’s all in the sense of fun of this contemporary Japanese experience: a nod to the past, living in the present, while still looking hopefully towards the future.
2763 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach Ph: 07 5539 9933