Monday, June 27, 2011

WAQU - when East meet West

Continuing on the birthday theme from the previous few posts, two years ago, for the second year in a row, I went to one of my all time favourites to celebrate my birthday with my family. It was the first time in at least a decade that I got to celebrate my birthday with my entire family - Mum and Dad flew into Sydney from Auckland, and my sister K and brother in law J flew in from Taiwan. Also with us was my sister M and Mr M's family (who always warmly looked after me during Mr M's time in Japan). I was so touched!! 

WAQU is the perfect restaurant if you’re looking for somewhere semi-casual, with a “value for money” price tag, serving exquisite and delicious food. Waqu serves modern Japanese cuisine which fuses the best of “East and West” in a stylish intimate setting. Their tasting menu changes seasonally every three months, with a choice for entrée and mains. 

L Loves… Course 1. amuse
(clockwise from the left) Spicy soft shell crab taco,‘renkon’ chips, crystal bay prawn, peach, chorizo, cauliflower puree and tomato essence, creamy corn soup,  fresh tofu, sweet miso and soy flavoured ground beef 

This platter of bite size amuse was incredibly flavoursome and marked a wonderful start to the meal.

Course 2. sashimi
Ocean trout tartare, wasabi cream sauce

L Loves… Entree option #1: CALAMARI + ABALONE + RISOTTO
Lightly fried ground calamari cake, abalone and squid ink risotto
This was such a heavenly dish – it was sooooo creamy and the calamari was lightly battered and fried - the Japanese are real masters when it comes to deep frying!!

L Loves… Course 3. entree option #2: RACK OF LAMB
‘Panko’ and herb crusted rack of lamb, dry miso, ‘tamari’ garlic sauce
The lamb was so tasty, perfectly cooked and crispy on the outside.

Course 4. Main option #1: QUAIL
Roasted quail, ‘yuzu’ butter sauce, hoba leaf, ‘satsuma’ potato

A closer look at the quail

Red wine sauce, ‘satoimo’ potato, baby carrot, ‘eringi’ mushroom

Course 5. dessert
Vanilla ice cream, glass tiramisu, green tea crème caramel 
Worthy to note the vanilla ice cream was hand-made with real vanilla bean pod. The Green tea crème caramel was my favourite dessert of the night – it was mellow, creamy and had a great green tea taste. Yummm!

Overall, this was one of the most memorable dinners I've had. Not only was the food fantastic, but having my whole family there meant the world to me!   

L's Verdict:
  • Taste: 9.5/10 (everything I had was fabulously delicious!)
  •  Ambience: 4/5
  •  Value: 4/5
  •  Service: 3.5/5 (not professional, but at least friendly)
  • Creativity and other WOW factors: 3/5  

Overall rating: 24/30

308 Pacific Highway
Crows Nest NSW 2065
Ph: (02) 9906 7736
Dinner only: Tuesday-Sunday from 6pm

Visited May 2009

Friendly advice: I had some difficulty in getting the waitress to understand I wanted my dressing on the side. So best to bring a Japanese speaking friend along, or speak s-l-o-w-l-y, or perhaps employ some Japanese accent Engrish if you have any special dietary requirements.

Waqu on Urbanspoon


  1. 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.

  2. Me and my family will never go back to this restaurant again!! We've been there so many times during lunches and it was just normal. Today evening, we booked a table online and did mention we're bringing our daughter along.

    The online respond was they don't provide high chair, but that's fine.

    When arrived and sat on table, we didn't get any service. When the manager spoke to us, we got a lecture about 'fine dining' and 'kids are not suitable in fine dining restaurants'!! The manager looked pissed because we brought kid there, hence maybe explains the "no service" attitude.