When I heard that Waqu was introducing their Summer menu (available 02/12/08 – 01/03/09), I made an immediate reservation. While being one of the first people to experience this new five course degustation was cool, I must confess my failure to timely blog about it. If it weren’t for my new addiction to the gym and Gossip Girl, this post would have been done five days ago… well, here you finally have it!
I’m not sure how else to describe Waqu than to compare it to Rise. They both offer ingenious fusion Japanese cuisine through affordable degustation menus.

Waqu Sydney restaurant (modern Japanese dining) 5 course Summer degustation - interior
Waqu’s new location at Pacific Highway… the interior is like a dimly-lit modern cafe

Course 1 was a trio of spicy soft shell crab taco, asparagus flan with prosciutto creme and sliced wagyu rolls. The taco was an absolute delicacy… we were instructed to eat it with our hands and surprisingly meant it was mess-free! The wagyu was over-cooked for my liking but it was still tender and the soy-infused marinate made its way into the zucchini and carrot. The asparagus flan with prosciutto creme on the other hand was bland.

Waqu Sydney restaurant (modern Japanese dining) 5 course Summer degustation - starter of spicy soft shell crab taco, asparagus flan with prosciutto creme and sliced wagyu beef rolls
Starter of spicy soft shell crab taco, asparagus flan with prosciutto creme and sliced wagyu beef rolls

Next was a refreshing carpaccio dish of ocean trout and kingfish. The tangy lemon mustard sauce and plum wine jelly were mouth-watering accompaniments, bringing out the gorgeous raw textures and natural sweetness of the fish.

Waqu Sydney restaurant (modern Japanese dining) 5 course Summer degustation - sashimi dish of ocean trout and kingfish carpaccio with lemon mustard soy sauce and ume-shu plum and wine jelly
Sashimi dish of ocean trout and kingfish carpaccio with lemon mustard soy sauce and ume-shu plum and wine jelly

The third course was a choice of three. I had the scallop galett which was a lightly fried steamed scallop cake with a condensed sponge-like texture. Zen had the roasted duck udon with sweet soy sauce which he finished off with no excitement or complaint – a mediocre dish lacking oomph.

Waqu Sydney restaurant (modern Japanese dining) 5 course Summer degustation - entree of scallop galett, lightly fried steamed scallop cake, sauteed prawns and shimeji mushroom, edamame bean sauce
Entree of scallop galett, lightly fried steamed scallop cake, sauteed prawns and shimeji mushroom, edamame bean sauce

Waqu Sydney restaurant (modern Japanese dining) 5 course Summer degustation - entree of roasted duck udon, roasted duck, ina-niwa udon noodles, steamed seasonal vegetables and sweet soy sauce
Entree of roasted duck udon, roasted duck, ina-niwa udon noodles, steamed seasonal vegetables and sweet soy sauce

I’ve been dreaming about Yoshii’s black cod marinated with blue cheese flavoured miso, and Waqu’s baked sweet miso cod fillet was a not bad substitute. The cod was rich, buttery and flavoursome… sublime when eaten with the cute colourful pickled vegetables – capsicum, miniature daikon, red radish and zucchini. I was so delighted with my main dish that I didn’t take much notice of Zen’s spatchcock.

Waqu Sydney restaurant (modern Japanese dining) 5 course Summer degustation - main course of miso cod, baked sweet miso marinated cod fillet with Japanese pickled vegetables
Main course of miso cod, baked sweet miso marinated cod fillet with Japanese pickled vegetables

Waqu Sydney restaurant (modern Japanese dining) 5 course Summer degustation - main dish of spatchcock, cooked two ways; grilled and confit, yukari mashed potato, daikon and mizuno salad, barley-miso vinaigrette
Main dish of spatchcock, cooked two ways; grilled and confit, yukari mashed potato, daikon and mizuno salad, barley-miso vinaigrette

Dessert was a generous scoop of mango sorbet, azuki creme mille-feuille which resembled a red-bean baklava dusted with green tea powder and a slice of rich chocolate mud cake with plum sauce. It wasn’t as original as Rise’s funky panna cotta variants but it was a satisfying ending.

Waqu Sydney restaurant (modern Japanese dining) 5 course Summer degustation - dessert of chocolate cake, azuki creme mille-feuille with dusted green tea and mango ice-cream
Dessert of chocolate cake, azuki creme mille-feuille with dusted green tea and mango ice-cream

And lastly, a quick note: the service was a hit and miss. The waitress couldn’t open our bottle of sparkling water properly and ended up tipping part of it around the glass and on the floor, while other waiters inconsistently described the food.
Nevermind that though, come to Waqu for their $55 five course menu… not the service smile.gif


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Waqu
308 Pacific Highway, Crows Nest NSW
Tel: 02 9906 7736
Web: www.waqu.com.au
Waqu on Urbanspoon

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Jennifer is the founding blogger of I Ate My Way Through (originally, Jenius.com.au). Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. When not running her two companies (she is also the Managing Director of The Bamboo Garden online marketing agency), Jen can be found exploring old-world charms at vintage markets and delving into local eats around the world. She has a weakness for fried chicken.
11 comments
Jen
Jen

Aww, I'm so disappointed to hear about your terrible experience! I haven't been back for YEARS as I rarely dine on that side of the bridge. I guess some restaurant managers/owners will never understand that they're in a service industry!

Bluehikaru
Bluehikaru

Sorry there, we had a totally difference at Waqu. We thought trying something new however was not impressed with their customer service overall....a dozen of us went to Waqu on a friday evening for dinner. We arrived there a little early and waited until their opening time but their big restaurant door was still locked. We waited for another 5 minutes and had to ring the restaurant to remind them to open for business for the night. Anyway We booked their private room with 6 course autumn menu and some of us also had the matching wines option. Staff there generally did not seem having a good mood as the ones in other Japanese 'fine dinning' restaurants who always offer services with friendly and helpful attitude with a SMILE all the time. Instead they looked a bit stressed. Degustation plates and matching wine was creative and pretty but cant really tell if it is really fused with Japanese essence. Most dishes does not have Japanese fusions to me. They tasted just all right. Not particularly memorable, just eatable. We ended up going to another crows nest restaurant after this due to the relative compacted version of their 'fine' dishes. By the way since most of our group ordered same course dish most of the times and we realised the food portion for each plate were always uneven so does the quality of the dishes themselves. The orders were also mixed up a couple of times. As we only had our meal in the private room, we had to judge the ambience on its private room only. Actually it is more like a section of the restaurant with gyprocks separating the dinning area into two. The private room was also next to the kitchen and bathrooms, one of the walls in between of the public and private dinning area did not have the top part enclosed! so no acoustics. It is half open, no door for the room which was disappointing. I personally think it is a mismatch with their 'fine dinning' concept as normally most high end Japanese restaurant would at least have a door. The menu was too inflexible as its set menu and does not have a la carte options at all. Cocktail and dessert list had too few kinds to offer. Lastly but not the least, the manager was also rather rude to us and told us off after we had a few drinks and started talking with each other with a bit raised voice and had a couple of laughs. We have a very big group and this situation was unfortunately unavoidable. In reality, Who would just eat their food and without having a few cracked jokes at the table? especially after the alcohol? The public dinning section was even noisier and we could literally hear anything out there including the noise from the kitchen. The manager kept on saying they are a 'fine dinning restaurant' not a public pub while we could not even complain how noisy their public section was! I understand that they might be proud/snobby of their restaurant but humiliating their customers? Is this how a manager if a 'fine dinning' restaurant treat his customers?? I also saw a online review saying Waqu restaurant manager taught the good-mannered customers a lesson how to discipline their young kids and did not want them being in the restaurant. That was actually pathetic. Just sharing our bad experience to everyone for your information. I would say this had been the weirdest restaurant we have ever been. We were all very disappointed with this restaurant and will NEVER go back again.

betty Pham
betty Pham

love your review - me & the bf will make reservations next month at this restaurant :)

Jen (jenius.com.au)
Jen (jenius.com.au)

Lorraine, yeh... a few misses here and i somewhat prefer Rise's experimental dishes... hehe... lol @ corked wine ;-) Linda & K,go go go! i think i'm going back next week... Annie,Ah... I had Thai last night (I won't mention where) and the waitress called Pad Khi Mao, Pad See Eww... doh! There was basil and chilli everywhere... hehe... end rant :) FFichiban,The spicy soft shell crab taco is better here... lol, but i'd probably prefer Rise's sashimi and dessert. Thanks for the reminder Helen! Reemski tagged me too... lol, i never got around to it... Note to self: fill out meme this week! :-P Welcome back Dparrey! Green tea powder tastes exactly like the stuff they use to make green tea frappes minus the sugary syrup... so no, it wasn't really sweetened.. but the red-bean paste made up for it :)

Dparrey
Dparrey

Hey sorry for not posting for very long ^_^ That food looks great, some of it is not so much to my taste but most of it looks great. Does green tea powder taste like it sound? Or do they sweeten it up.

Helen
Helen

Yum. I remember reading that Waqu had moved recently. Great to see the food still looks exquisite, even if the service was a little patchy. I've tagged you for the 6 random things meme. Hope you'll join in the fun :)

FFichiban
FFichiban

I want to try Waqu and its soo close to me too haha so how does this place compare with Rise? The service is part of the experience so they should be decent and proper especially when it comes to something simple like opening water :S!

Annie
Annie

That scallop entree looks great! As for the service, I'm always disappointed by staff who do not describe the food properly. If they don't know, there is nothing wrong with admitting it, as long as it is followed by "I will go to the kitchen and find out for you". Simply guessing and getting it wrong is unacceptable.

K
K

i always wanted to try waqu it's so far for me! your great pics have made me want to go even more!!

Lorraine E
Lorraine E

Looks like a closeby alternative to Rise although there seem to be some misses too. I love blakc cod, it's so deliciously buttery. :o about the waitress, I wonder how she'd do with a bottle of corked wine-eek!

linda
linda

wow their summer menu looks awesome.. i cancelled my waqu reservation in favour of assiette.. haha now i might have to make a reservation again