Monday, February 19, 2007

Waqu (Sydney)

32 Falcon St Crows Nest NSW 2065, Phone (02) 9906 7736

On our last night in Sydney we were planning on heading out to a posh restaurant like Aria or Rockpool, but since most of the restaurants we had visited so far we had found on, we thought that we would try another place from there. Especially since most of the ratings were spot on so far and the places were very good value. The place we found was Waqu, a Japanese place in Crow's Nest (just across the harbour on the North Side of the Bridge). Eatability users had rated it very highly, especially their 5 course tasting menu for $39.
The first thing we noticed when we walked into Waqu, was that a majority of the people eating there were Japanese. I always think it's a good sign when people from the home country of a restaurant choose to eat there.

The room is tastefully decorated, but with minimal Japanese influence. A lot of Japanese restaurants are covered in Japanese writing, figures, posters, but Waqu seems to have avoided travelling down that road.

I have listed the 5 course tasting menu below and included the pictures of what we ate. There's actually 6 courses if you include the Broccoli Soup Starter.

Cold Soup broccoli cream soup

Course 1 (assorted entree) deep fried soft shell crab taco beef tataki, ponzu jelly and frying fish roe dressing, chargrilled eel fillet and eggplant, yuzu pepper, roasted garlic aioli tartar

Course 2 (sashimi plate) chef's daily selection of sashimi plate

Course 3 (entree) oven baked cod fillet with "saikyo" miso sauce or roasted duck fillet, raspberry sauce or tempura fried prawns, vegetables and 'yuba' tofu sheet

Course 4 (main) salt black pepper angus beef steak, creamy mashed potato or roasted whole quail, tamari ginger sauce or deep fried soy marinated chicken, 'shiso' leaf salsa dressing

Course 5 (dessert) white sesame cream brulee or green tea mousse with green tea ice cream

I'm not going to review each dish for you, but I can tell you that the whole experience was amazing. We loved each dish in it's own way. None of the flavours were over powering, especially considering we were eating strong flavours such as Eel and Creme Brulee made from Sesame Seeds. The sushi was so fresh, you would think it was just killed out the back! My favourite was the deep fried soft shell crab taco beef tataki, ponzu jelly and 'frying' fish roe dressing. I'd never had soft shell crab before - apparently it's a type of crab that shed's it's shell, and when it does, they're ripe for the eating. I read that you usually buy these frozen. The tastes and textures in this little taster were amazing, so fresh and crunchy. It really was like eating a little Japanese Taco! The Angus beef was great too. The sauce wasn't too strong, allowing you to enjoy the full taste and soft texture of the meat.

If you're in Sydney, I definitely recommend paying a visit to Waqu- the quality of food and service that you get for $39 is fantastic and located so close to the city, it's easy to get to. I loved it and will definitely return on my next visit!


thanh7580 said...

That is amazing, how could all that only cost $39. I am such a fan of soft shell crab as well. I had some previously at East Dynasty in Doncaster and then twice at Horoki and they were all excellent. Soft shell crab is extremely popular in Asia and I had some in Hong Kong.

Adski said...

Thanh, if you're ever in sydney and want a great meal, with great service definately try this place! Also try Papaya just down the road in Cremorne if you like Thai. I wish these places were in Melbourne!!

Booty_anda_Beast said...

Went with my wife on her birthday in mid April '08 and I have to say I'd give it an overall score of 3/10 and I am not usually a harsh critic by nature.

I checked out web reviews and it's because of this did we decide to give it a try. I have to say the reviewers hype weren't reflective of our night's event - much to our deflated high expectations.

Wall paint around a specific corner of the dining area was peeling off like a wet, rainy damp mold - the dim light didn't do well to mask it. Overall decor of the dining room looks cheap, outdated albeit minimalistic - and it didn't give my wife and I an appetizing aura. Dining chairs and tables looked like they got it from a discount store.

Food was delicious, we tried the 6-course tester but more reserved for the category of finger food. Heck, both my wife and I aren't big eaters and we're both under 6 feet tall. I didn't expect sumo size, but the portions were a joke. Around the dining area, first timers like us were also commenting on the minuscule portions.

IMHO, I don't think this 6-course thing will do the trick for Australians being used to larger servings. Maybe changing the menu to a 10-course - but it will probably work in an ultra expensive district like Ginza.

So, does this answer the value question? Well, $45 p/p and still leaving a lot of vacancy around the gastronomical hotel, what do you think?

WARNING: Don't come here if you're hungry, you'll just end up going to a McDonalds drive thru at the end of the night.

Service was good with lots of bright smiles from the waitress but the main course took around 20 minutes to arrive. As the clock ticked by 10 mins, we were wondering if they forgot us? And that night wasn't even a half full house. Couldn't staff handle the minimum kitchen stress or perhaps too busy perfecting their take-outs?

Overall, both my wife and I have been fine dining here and abroad, and our conclusion is that there are better restaurants with better value and atmosphere in and around Sydney.

Expensive doesn't necessarily mean minuscule! (unless your main career is a jockey, a top fashion model or you choose to be anorexic)