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'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.
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.
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.
Entree of scallop galett, lightly fried steamed scallop cake, sauteed prawns and shimeji mushroom, edamame bean 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.
Main course of miso cod, baked sweet miso marinated cod fillet with Japanese pickled vegetables
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.
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
308 Pacific Highway, Crows Nest NSW
Tel: 02 9906 7736