Monday, 20 May 2013

Waqu, Crows Nest

Waqu was offering a 6 course early-bird special on Friday nights (at the time it was $58 per person, but it's been lowered to $55 since then), so I dragged one of my Japanese-food-loving friends with me. Situated in Crows Nest, parking was a little tricky to locate, particularly close to the Pacific Highway. Nevertheless, we managed to park on Holtermann St and strolled off to Waqu.

I loved the sleepy, intimate atmosphere of Waqu - the lighting was a bit dim for my liking, but my friend was facing the wall lights, which were apparently more than bright enough.

After ordering, we were provided with a biteful of crispy cornbread and cream.

Amuse bouche

In addition to the 6-course menu, I had a cocktail (there were Friday specials so I just could not resist) dubbed "Yuzu Citrus". It consisted of yuzu liqueur, jelly, sparkling wine and lime juice. The jelly evoked the same texture possessed by those aloe vera drinks that you can get from Asian supermarkets. The citrus was quite useful to clear my palate throughout the meal, and as with all good cocktails, there was just enough bitterness from the alcohol to make it extra enjoyable.

Yuzu Citrus ($9.00)

1st course: Pumpkin soup with kaffir lime and (if I recall correctly) some sort of nutty foam, which was purely aesthetic. Normally I turn my nose up at pumpkin soup because it's... well... pumpkin soup. However, the kaffir lime provided an interesting twist that nullified any of my negative thoughts.

Japanese pumpkin soup

2nd course: Scallop confit, sake cooked mussel, dill cream sauce and ponzu daikon. I tend to rate scallop highly on any plate, and this was no exception. The fact of the mussel being cooked in sake made no difference to the taste. I thought it was interesting that they added okra - my mum includes it in one of her fish curries, but I've never had it in a restaurant before, so it was nice to see an underrated vegetable on a plate.

Scallop and mussel

3rd course: Chicken galantine with mochi rice okowa, miso essence, shimeji, soba seeds, rice and peanut tulles. The waiter explained that even though galantine sounds French, this particular dish is actually traditionally Japanese. Not sure whether that's true, but it tasted alright. It wasn't particularly memorable, but it wasn't bad either - the chicken was moist and the peanut tulles were a novelty.

Chicken galantine

4th course: Pan fried barramundi - I was given the choice between this and salmon, but the barramundi just sounded better. It came with onion puree, pinot noir syrup, roasted leek and macadamia sprinkled over the top. It made my mouthwater - loved the crunch of the barramundi skin and the soft texture of the fish. I wasn't the biggest fan of the way they did the leek, but overall not bad.

For our 5th course, we were given a choice between duck, lamb and steak. I chose the lamb, my friend ordered the duck, and then we did a swap.

5th course (a): Roasted duck with dark cherry sauce, beetroot puree and coffee chocolate crumble.
The duck was moist and flavoursome - I preferred this dish, but according to my friend, the lamb was just as good (except with muted flavours). I love beetroot, so the beetroot chips were an excellent addition.

Roasted duck

5th course (b): Cabernet marinated lamb with fig balsamic vinegar puree, chestnuts, fig fritter, spiced bread crumbs.

Tender lamb, consistent theme of figs. The only issue I had was that this lacked sauce, which made it a bit dry.

Cabernet marinated lamb
6th course: Lychee lime mousse & pear compote with blood peach sorbet, lemongrass jelly, rosehip sauce.

Light dessert, rosehip sauce was nicely sour, interesting combinations (you can tell I've run out of writing steam).

Lychee lime mousse & pear compote

The food was served one after the other at a pretty fast rate (though that may have been because we were early bird diners and were expected to return the table at 8pm), but you aren't made to feel like they're rushing you. The waitstaff is charming, attentive and even amusing when explaining each dish. Having had a pretty disappointing lunch elsewhere that day, my experience at Waqu restored my spirits once more :)

Waqu on Urbanspoon


  1. that cocktail at 9$ looks like great value! didn't you have a 16$ one the other day...?

    1. Ahem... well... yes. You make me sound like an alco! ><

  2. First time visiting this site,,but just couldn't resist leaving a comment after reading this review! Waqu is awesome. definitely one of my favourite restaurants in Sydney. Among the six courses which one did you like most?

    1. Hi Ryo, thanks for reading - and the encouraging comment :) I think my favourite of the night (if I reallyyyy had to choose), would have been the 2nd course of scallop and mussel. The flavours just worked so well together!