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Monday, January 28, 2008

WAQU, Crows Nest

WAQU means quiet space, and this tiny eatery in Crows Nest offers just that - an oasis of calm and tranquility broken only by the shuffle of demure waitstaff who bring a seemingly endless procession of exquisitely plated morsels.

The dining room seats just 35, and over half of the diners tonight are reassuringly Japanese. The WAQU website offers both English and Japanese versions. We know we're in for a true Japanese dining experience.

A six-course tasting menu for a mere $45 sounds too good to be true. It is too good and it's definitely true. Our journey starts with a clear soup faint with the umami taste of dashi. Course three (entree) and course five (main) offer three options to choose from: we're a party of three and choose one of each to share.

[Apologies for the poor photo quality - light dimmers are not a foodbloggers best friend, and I always abstain from using flash photography in fine dining restaurants as a courtesy to other guests]

Starter: Japanese clear soup with yuba tofu sheet

Course 1: Assorted small eats
[Clockwise from front]: Deep fried soft shell crab taco;
Chicken and prawn fresh spring rolls with black sesame sauce; and
Beef tataki, ponzu and flying fish roe jelly

Course 2: Sashimi
Salmon and kingfish sashimi with lemon mustard soy sauce

Course 3: Entree (3 options)
Option 1 - Pan fried beef with basil and dill, mustard cream sauce

Course 3: Entree (3 options)
Option 2 - Sauteed yuan marinated kingfish in
white miso vinegar sauce

Course 3: Entree (3 options)
Option 3 - Tempura prawn with sweet and spicy ground pork miso sauce

Course 4: Sushi
WAQU sushi - salmon, avocado, creamy mayonnaised potato, plum sauce

Course 5: Main (3 options)
Option 1 - Salt black pepper beef tenderloin steak
with creamy mashed potato

Course 5: Main (3 options)
Option 2 - Oven baked spatchcock, WAQU four spice,
soy and balsamic vinegar sauce

Course 5: Main (3 options)
Option 3 - Oven baked miso marinated cod fillet

Course 6: Dessert (2 options)
Option 1 - Sweet sake creme caramel
(Option 2 - Chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream not chosen)

Meal highlights: the delicate crunch of the soft shell crab taco and the superb freshness of the salmon and kingfish sashimi. My favourite dish by far is the oven-baked miso marinated cod fillet, the fish is so soft it's almost buttery, and the sauce is such a divine harmony of salty and sweet that I practically lick the plate clean.

32 Falcon St, Crows Nest, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9906 7736

Sun, Mon, Wed and Thurs 6.00pm-10.00pm
Fri and Sat 6.00pm-12.00am
Closed Tuesdays

No a la carte menu available on Fridays and Saturdays (tasting menu option only)

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Japanese--Ichi Ban Boshi, Town Hall
Japanese--Ju Ju
Japanese--Menya Japan Noodle Bar
Japanese--Musashi (Mar07), (Oct05)
Japanese--Nagoya Japanese BBQ
Japanese--Ocean Room (NYE 07/08), (Oct06)
Japanese--Ramen Kan (Aug 05), (Nov 04)
Japanese--Rise (May 05), (Feb 05), (Aug 04)
Japanese--Ryo's Noodles (Aug07), (Jul07)
Japanese--Taka Tea Garden
Japanese--Tomodachi (Sep06), (Nov05)

Crows Nest--Not Bread Alone
Crows Nest--Paradoxe Restaurant Francais
Crows Nest--Ryo's Noodles (Aug07), (Jul07)
Crows Nest--Vineyard, The
8 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 1/28/2008 06:55:00 pm


  • At 1/28/2008 8:54 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ooh we drove past this place a few weeks ago and were wondering about it. Have you tried Nobu's Black cod with miso dressing? That is heavenly and sounds quite similar to Waqu's. If you have, how do the two compare? It would be great to be able to have that dish a little closer to home than Melbourne or London!

  • At 1/29/2008 12:08 am, Blogger Rachel said…

    Wow I have read reviews of Waqu on eatability and have been wanting to try it. Thank you for sharing the experience with such beautiful pictures. I think the photos were great despite what you said about not having any flash!
    They will help me make my decision (somewhat) when I eventually get there :)

  • At 1/29/2008 3:33 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    nice post! and great photos too, despite the lack of flash.

    I'd be interested to see what you think of Waqu's $45 6-course menu with Rise's $70 degustation? ($42 on some days)? I can't wait to try both, personally, they both look so yummy.

  • At 1/29/2008 6:07 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Hi Helen!
    My friends and I love this place, each time we went we always ordered the set course, like you I love the soft shell crab taco and miso cod. I think it's really good value. I can't wait to go back and try their a la carte menu.

  • At 1/29/2008 11:42 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Lorraine - I haven't yet had the pleasure of Nobu, altho' I have heard much about it! WAQU is certainly a lot more budget-friendly though :) Would love to hear what you think.

    Hi Rachel - I'd been meaning to get to WAQU for ages, and it was great to see it live up to our high expectations. I hope you enjoy your dinner there :)

    Hi Silver - I think the degustations at Rise and WAQU are different in terms of atmosphere. I think Rise is a little more playful. Waqu is better for couples I think, but Waqu is incredible value on the $42 nights. I would try both :) and do try to book the chefs prep area at Rise - watching them plate up the dishes is a performance in itself.

    Hi Michelle - I'm still dreaming wistfully of the miso cod, and mmm one can never have enough soft shell crab. It was so delicious!

  • At 1/05/2009 3:36 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Some may say that comparing Nobu's miso cod with Waqu's dish would be slightly unfair given that the latter's entire meal would probably be covered cost wise by the single Nobu dish. That said, Nobu's miso cod is a superior dish in taste and texture.

    Whilst on the whole I must agree that Waqu is excellent value for money, the cooked fish dishes have left me wanting.

    Apologies for my 2c

  • At 1/05/2009 11:31 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Geezer - Thanks for your comment and input. Spare change is always welcomed around here :) I haven't tried Nobu (still) but appreciate your thoughts. I really enjoyed the miso marinated cod fillet. The texture was so buttery!

  • At 10/20/2010 3:02 am, Anonymous Jamie said…

    Nice place


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