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Two Yolks and Finn Poke make their delicious double-header debut in South Bank

After a few months of anticipation, beloved Gold Coast-born concepts Finn Poke and Two Yolks have finally arrived in Brisbane. On Monday June 3, the Jacinto Group officially opened a two new flagship locations on Grey Street in South Bank, offering locals a mix of healthy and hearty eats made from premium ingredients. Whether you’re craving a gooey breakfast burger, a juicy old-school cheeseburger or a sustainably sourced barramundi-topped poke bowl, you’re covered at Finn Poke and Two Yolks.
Jun 06, 2024, updated Jun 06, 2024

On either side of the entrance to Two Yolks’ new orange-hued South Bank location are two signs, each advertising the same thing – ‘The best burgers in the world. Period.’

It’s a gutsy, flag-planting declaration that seems almost like a challenge – an invitation to prove Two Yolks wrong. It’s a move that Jem Jacinto, head honcho of Jacinto Group, typically shies away from.

“It’s so out of character for me to make a bold statement like that, to be honest,” says Jem with a laugh. “It’s a bold statement, but we don’t claim it anywhere else except those two little signs. It’s sparking a little chatter and that’s what it’s supposed to do.”

The thing is, though, the sign’s claim might not be too farfetched – especially if you’ve tried the menu at Two Yolks’ Burleigh Heads location, which opened in 2021. In the years since its debut, Two Yolks has built a feverishly loyal following. Its burgers, sides and shakes, all made from premium ingredients, are regarded by many as some of the finest on the Gold Coast.

The same thing is often said about Jem’s other beloved concept, Finn Poke – its Hawaiian-style poke bowls, which come topped with sustainably sourced and line-caught seafood, set the standard for poke in Australia when Jem unveiled the concept in 2017.

Both brands are predicated on reframing the fundamentals of fine dining in a casual setting – an approach that has helped endear it to diners on the coast. Though Jem might be demure when pressed about his thoughts on Two Yolks’ status as top dog in the patty-flipping pyramid or Finn Poke’s own lofty perch, he conveys a quiet confidence when he chats about what makes his products even slightly worthy of the designation as the world’s best.

“Taste is subjective and flavour is subjective to the individual, but I truly believe we have a great product,” explains Jem. “It’s a balance, right? It’s about the ratios that you put together which, like any great recipe, is all about balance.”

This week Jem lifted the cloche on two new additions to his portfolio. A new Two Yolks flagship has opened on Grey Street alongside a fetching Finn Poke outpost, with the separate-but-linked concepts marking the Jacinto Group’s first foray into the Brisbane food scene.

Now, with both locations officially open to the public, it’s time for Brisbane foodies see for themselves if there is merit to the claim of world’s best.

The two concepts have taken over the site previously home to Cowch Dessert Bar, with the burger joint occupying the larger portion of the interior. Jem has linked up with Sydney design firm StudioMKZ to help fashion a chic retro diner aesthetic that’s welcoming to all comers – be it the younger crowd piling in during the evenings, families seeking a fun-infused feed at lunchtime or early risers swinging through for breakfast.

“In today’s world, you have to attract all of the senses – sight, sound, smell, taste and all that,” Jem tells us. “We really wanted to make this Brisbane site our flagship and the benchmark for hopefully future stores, so we needed to up our game and set ourselves away from the rest.”

Two Yolks’ vibrant orange colour scheme and neon signage is offset by a retro-chic palette of walnut tones, fluted glass panels, Japanese-stone mosaic tile floors and Italian-marble countertops, with cushioned booths offering the majority of the venue’s interior seating (street-side dining is also available). At the rear of the space, a DJ set-up is backed by a shelving unit stacked with vinyl records, with DJs coming through on a regular basis to keep the vibes upbeat.

“It’s got diner vibes – a bit retro, but with our orange pop,” says Jem. “It just brings us to another level. In my humble opinion, I think it’s the nicest burger joint I’ve ever walked into.”

It’s a scene designed to match the quality of the menu, a topic of discussion where Jem’s passion really shines through. At Two Yolks, it’s all about high-quality comfort food. For breakfast, you’ll find brekkie burgs with crispy bacon (or sausage, if you prefer), gooey egg and American cheese, scrambled-egg burgers with cream cheese, chives and basil lime aioli, and breakfast burritos bursting at the seams with scrambled eggs, tater tots, guacamole, Bangalow bacon and Byron Bay haloumi.

The all-day range includes old-school smash burgers, Cali-style burgers with lettuce, tomato, caramelised onions and house pickles, fried-chicken burgers, and spicy sloppy Joe burgers filled with house-made mushroom chilli and vegan cheddar cheese. And then there’s the sides (loaded fries, loaded tots, onion rings and even bacon on a stick), coffee from ST. ALi and a clutch of boozy beverages.

The format may be a familiar one, but Jem and his team have sought to elevate every aspect through an exacting attention to detail and unwavering adherence to sustainable practices and use of high-end ingredients.

“The collective components of the burger is a science – we’ve really studied the science to try and put together what we think is the best burger,” says Jem. “We are using amazing ingredients, like our Cape Grim beef – it’s our own mix, even up to the grind. Our free-range eggs are organic and our bacon from Bangalow Sweet Pork is probably the best pork in Australia.”

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For Jem, an American expat, burgers are close to his heart. The entrepreneur has even gone to great lengths to visit some of the world’s most renowned burger joints to ensure his own is up to snuff.

“I’ve probably tried all of the trending burger spots – from J.G. Melon in New York City, which I think is my favourite burger, all the way to all the top guys in LA like Heavy Handed and The Win-Dow,” says Jem. “They’re all great burgers and I think that we are in that playing field, without a doubt.”

Next door at Finn Poke, Jem and his group are building on the successful formula that helped cement the poke-peddling concept as one of the best in the country when it first opened in Byron Bay almost seven years ago. Much like its burger-centric sibling, Finn Poke looks to set itself apart from its competition by using exclusively premium ingredients, while keeping its menu at an approachable price point.

“For $18, you can have a super high-quality meal, but if you go to a fine-dining restaurant, $18 gets you two pieces of sashimi,” says Jem. “It’s about being fair to the consumer and that’s the difference of our little humble group – that we go to that extent.”

Finn Poke’s South Bank location is more of a grab-and-go-style location, with a simple kiosk-style hole-in-the-wall (still fitted out with the same walnut panelling and tiles) giving diners an express outlet to get their fix.

As always, the menu is built upon a strong foundation of traceable farm-fresh ingredients and responsibly sourced and fished MSC-certified seafood. Tasmanian salmon, line-caught tuna from Walker Seafoods (a Mooloolaba-based company that supplies the likes of Josh Niland and Neil Perry) and barramundi sourced from Humpty Doo in the Northern Territory (a new addition) feature across the menu, which offers a mix of signature items and build-your-own options.

Stand-out poke bowl selections include the The Big Katuna (tuna, seaweed salad, roasted seaweed, pickled ginger, crispy onion and shoyu), the Spicy Thai Barra (loaded with barramundi, mango, cucumber, red onion, fresh mint, coriander, crispy onion, puffed rice and spicy Thai sauce), and the Teri-Mayo Salmon (slow-cooked salmon, edamame, marinated red onion, house Teri-Yummy sauce, Japanese mayo, organic black and brown rice and farmers’ salad). Not a bowl fan? Finn Poke also hawks four kinds of poke tacos as well as a selection of sides, like crispy garlic edamame, sustainable salmon sashimi, yakisoba and miso soup.

While the final judgement on quality is up to you to deliver, Jem is confident that the lengths he and his team go to to deliver the best product possible is, inevitably, what will set Finn Poke and Two Yolks apart from its competitors.

“We’re an established brand, but there are so many new things popping up – so we need to up our game to set ourselves away from the rest,” says Jem. “That’s reflected in the effort we go to to make the food from scratch, the quality levels and how we sacrifice our margin for the consumer.”

Two Yolks and Finn Poke are now both open to the public – head to the Stumble Guide for more info.

 

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