Taking the vacant space previously occupied by The Blue Door on Fifth (the original Pablo Pablo site), Cafoo Izakaya is a casual eating space serving refined share-style Japanese eats. While the menu foregrounds traditional cuisine, owner and chef Masahiko Kaneko balances authentic styles and flavours with creativity and modern techniques to deliver an intriguing collection of dishes. While Cafoo Izakaya is Masahiko’s first Australian venue, he is no stranger to the industry, having owned and operated his own izakaya in his hometown of Shizuoka for 13 years before moving to the Gold Coast in 2009. Since then, Masahiko has worked across a number of the city’s kitchens including Sofitel Broadbeach, Palazzo Versace, Osushi and (most recently) Reef Seafood at The Brickworks. After a decade on the knives across the coast, it was time for him to delve back into a venue of his own.
Sashimi fiends are in good hands at Cafoo Izakaya, with a series of intricate arrangements of trawler-fresh tuna and salmon to start, alongside light bites like lotus-root chips, char-grilled sumiyaki skewers and seafood salads topped with marinated fresh salmon, tuna and prawns. There’s also authentic dishes like Osaka-style okonomiyaki, wagyu-beef tataki, handmade gyozas and onigiri agedashi – a crispy rice ball immersed in dashi broth – on offer across lunch and dinner. The menu is rounded out by traditional sweets like rice pudding with black-sesame ice-cream, and the Hachimitsu Butter Toast, described as a honey-drizzled toasted butter baguette with Houjicha ice-cream and berry sauce. Cafoo Izakaya is also home to a top-notch collection of Japanese whiskies, gins, umeshu and sake, as well as beers, spirits and Japanese-style cocktails like housemade ‘sakegria’ served by the jug.
Keen to check it out? Head to our Stumble Guide for Cafoo Izakaya’s opening hours and contact details.