If you’re looking for a fine dining place that offers value for money in North Sydney, WAQU is the place to go! It offers a unique dining experience in contemporary Japanese cuisine. And being located on the corner on Shirley Road and the Pacific Highway, it’s definitely not hard to find. WAQU serves lunch and dinner, offering a 3-course and 6-course menu for dinner which changes seasonally. My very first visit to WAQU was back in 2011 for the 6-course Spring menu to celebrate J’s birthday. We’ve been very keen to go back ever since! Coincidentally, I stumbled across their website last week and noticed their New Year Special Lunch Menu priced at $35 pp, available until the end of this week. Without further consideration, I was the phone to make the reservation!
New Year Special Lunch Menu (10th Jan – 3rd February 2013) at $35 pp
The menu consisted of 3 courses. The first and second courses were set, while the third course was our decision to make from 4 options (sirloin steak, wagyu flank steak, barramundi or snapper).
Apple & orange juice
The special lunch menu also included a glass of complimentary wine or beer. J and myself aren’t a huge fan of wine or beer, so we opted or something more simple.
Course 1: Soup of the day + garlic and herb bread
The soup of the day was a combination of rock melon juice and jelly of some sort, served in a cocktail glass with bread. The taste was very unique, or “very funky” (quote J). The jelly was savoury (tasted almost like salmon… perhaps my tastebuds were playing tricks on me!), while the rock melon gave it a sweet twist. I thought it tasted better when dipped with the garlic and herb bread. Although the combination of flavours was very creative and unique, it was not my favourite dish.
Course 1: Spicy Soft Shell Crab Taco
It consisted of spicy bean sprouts, soft shell crab and caviar sandwiched in a tortilla wrap. The bean sprouts tasted like it was cooked in curry powder which gave it a spicy taste. I really enjoyed this dish, but it was too spicy for J’s liking.
Course 2: CURED TASMANIAN SALMON
squid ink sauce, shungiku sauce, japanese flavoured couscous, fennel salad
The salmon was very smooth. I would have liked it better if it was pan-fried or seared. But it’s definitely very nice if you’re someone who enjoys sashimi. I thought the couscous was very dry, and only tasted nice with the sauce. There were 3 types of sauce on the plate – squid ink (black), vegetable (green) and yuzu (white). Yuzu is a citrus fruit that looks almost like a small grapefruit. This gave the salmon and couscous a light and sour twist – loved it!
Course 3: 200g RANGERS VALLEY, F1 WAGYU FLANK STEAK, 400day grain fed, BMS 5+
beef jus, eggplant puree, seasonal vegetables
There were 2 steak options offered on the menu. The sirloin steak (1) was imported from Japan while the wagyu flank steak (2) was local. Sirloin steaks are less juicy, a little tougher and tend to dry out faster. So J opted for the alternative. J enjoyed the steak but thought it was no match for the steak he had at Sugaroom!
Course 3: PAN FRIED BARRAMUNDI
onion & daikon vinaigrette, parsley puree
Like usual, I stuck with the seafood options and opted for the barramundi. The fish was very well cooked – it did not fall apart as I cut through it and the skin was very crispy! I don’t remember what the sauce was, but the barramundi definitely tasted better with it.
LEMON TART, lemon meringue, tarragon orange mango ($12)
There were a few dessert selections available, however they were not included as part of the special lunch menu. We didn’t intend to leave without checking out the desserts! The lemon tart was very light and smooth with a touch of sweetness, but it did not taste anything like lemon. However, it was awesome when consumed together with the raspberry sorbet, fruits, jelly and sherbet. Loved it!
GREEN TEA ICE CREAM PUFF, with fresh mix berries ($6)
HOUSE-MADE MACARON – Green Tea ($2.50 each)
We decided to take some of their macarons home. There were 5 unique flavours to choose from including chocolate, green tea & raspberry, blackcurrent & chestnut, caramel coffee and mango. We purchased 5 to take home, but ate them all before we left the restaurant! Eating one, led to eating another, and another, and eventually they were all gone! So we bought another 5 to take home! The flavour combinations were very unique and worked very well together. The buttercream and jam had an even level of consistency sandwiched in two soft cookies. Loved them! I’d make a special trip back just for these macarons!
Overall the restaurant provided excellent customer service. We were taken to our seats upon arrival and shown the menus. Staff were generally very helpful and attentive. After bringing out each dish, the staff would give us a brief description. They would collect our plates and used cutlery after we’ve finished each course and provide us with new cutlery. Once again we were very pleased! As their menu changes seasonally, there’s always something new on the menu which gives a reason to come back!
WAQU modern Japanese dining
308 Pacific Highway
Crows Nest, NSW 2065
Ph: 9906 7736