Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review: Wasabi, Noosa

I've been needing a weekend getaway for a while and unfortunately, just haven't had the time to schedule one in, so was really relieved when last weekend finally arrived. At last, a weekend at Noosa.

The forecast didn't look good weather wise, and not so characteristically, it was spot on. It bucketed down from the moment we arrived and was still teeming when we left. I didn't mind one little bit. I did feel a little sorry for friends who had come up from Sydney to escape their torrential weather, but really, just loved hanging about without the pressure to do anything much.

It also meant that I could finally make a lunchtime booking at Wasabi, something I had been meaning to do well before they shifted from Sunshine Beach to their new restaurant. How time gets away- I think the move happened in early 2009. Wasabi are pretty well renowned. They repeatedly win 'Best Regional Restaurant of the Year' type of awards, receiving that particular honour in the Courier Mail's 2010 round. Among other things, they were also awarded 2 stars and restauranteur, Danielle Gjestland has a number of impressive accolades too.

Wasabi's premisis is located in Quamby Place which is technically Noosa Sound. Wasabi, for those who know your Noosa restaurants, is located right next to Ricky's. A beautiful spot - right on the water. Stepping into Wasabi is very calming. Slim lines, white gloss and simple but chic decor awaits. There is also a sleek Tatami room for those who want a more traditional dining experience.

Although the tasting menu looked tantalising, C, The J (C's grandma) and I felt would be best saved for when we could really enjoy the matched sakes.

The sashimi and sushi menus are extensive, and there are some great options on the a'la carte menu. Always being one to want to try everything, we decided to share and chose a little something from each section.

An amuse bouche arrived, obviously designed to test out our chopstick skills! A yuzu and dashi jelly with pickled vegetables opened me up to the idea that I may not be opposed to subtle dashi. This was clean and fresh tasting, a nice summer starter.

Sashimi wise (3 per serve), fresh soft scallops ($9.0) (oh, how predictable of me!) and silky trout ($9.5) lined some gorgeous plates, and were snapped up in a second or two.

Nigiri was next - with tiger prawns ($14.2) and snapper ($12.7). Service is thorough and thoughtful, and waitstaff make it easy to add an extra piece to a dish, so everyone gets to try. Luckily one of the polished, lovely waitresses recommended this, as I was glad I didn't have to share my snapper nigiri which was delightfully smooth and tender. I loved the sneaky wasabi hit between the rice and fish too. 

Dish of the day undoubtedly goes to the Hiramasa Ponzu ($26.0)- sashimi style hiramasa kingfish, toasted seasme, ginger chips and ponzu. The kingfish was sliced thingly and the seasme seeds added texture and flavour. Oomph from the ginger chips and prefectly balanced ponzu helped to make this dish extra special.

Gyoza (serve of 6 - $19.0) are always a must order for me, and these little babies were crispy bottomed, soft topped and quite good. The filling was nice, but could have had some extra ginger. My only other complaint was that they just weren't big enough. I wanted more!! 

Tempura vegetables looked promising and really delivered. Piled high, shiso leaf,  eggplant, sweet potato, broccoli, lotus root, asparagus and nama shitake mushroom were all covered in almost impossibly light, beautiful batter. I devoured the eggplant and mushroom in record time, the maccha powdered green tea salt mixture and tentsuyu tempura dipping sauce helped make them incredibly moreish.

We ordered from the futari section (serves 2) even though there were three of us and the waitress suggested that we would have more than enough food. The spatchcock teriyaki for $47.5 caught my eye earlier on, so we ended up going with that. 

Deboned and stuffed with hijiki rice and served with torigara shoyu, roasted golden eschallot, nama shitake and warm japanese mushroom salad, the spatchcock was moist and subtle, perhaps even a little too subtle. I don't want the hit of teriyaki that you get from the chicken wings out of a hotbox doused in the stuff, but I do like a little bit of depth of flavour. The rice made a good stuffing, and the whole dish was nice, but not overwhelmingly so. Perhaps a little bit of a disappointing end to an otherwise fabulous meal.

Throughout the meal, The J sipped on sake, whilst I chose some Umeshu plum wine and C had a Kirin, but there are extensive wine and cocktail lists available. We were seated right on the water, and it was really relaxing. A toot of an arriving ferry, a crash of thunder and the splashes of rain on the roof were the only sounds we had to endure. Sigh...

I could have sat all afternoon with some plum wine or sake or cocktail and lazed away the afternoon, and I intend to do so sometime soon, perhaps I'll have the tasting menu then. The service was swift and polite, and the food was, overall, really quite lovely. It's no wonder Wasabi are so widely recognised as being one of the best restaurants in regional QLD. Putting together the whole package- the food, wine, service and serenity, I don't doubt they are one of the best restaurants in all of regional Australia.

When to go: Whenever you can make time. Lunchtime is particularly nice as there is a beautiful view to lap up. Keep in mind they only do Sunday and Tuesday lunches.

So tell me readers, how do you feel when it rains for your whole weekend? Ripped off or relaxed?

Wasabi Restaurant
2 Quamby Place
Noosa Sound QLD 4567
07 5449 2443

Wasabi on Urbanspoon

11 fabulous comments:

greenbeenfood said...

i would be in heaven....how fabulous! now i just need to find carers for my girls so i can laze there too!

Indie.Tea said...

Everything looks so lovely. The food, the water, the little paper cranes...

Jennifer (Delicieux) said...

Yum!! I am so jealous. I haven't had a chance to get back to Wasabi for ages (12 months I think) and its good to know the delicious food they serve hasn't changed.

I just love the green tea salt they serve with the tempura vegetables and my boyfriend can't go past gyoza, just like you.

I think we might need to make a trip back over the holidays. Thanks for reminding me :)

Anna Johnston said...

Oh boy, I'd love to check out Wasabi, the Tempura vegetables look amazing. There really is something calming about food & atmosphere like this, lucky ducky you huh :)

JanJan @ Cooking for My Love said...

Wooh! I always wanna go there! So lovely!

Myriam @ Detours said...

Nice one!! Haven't had time to go to Noosa yet since arriving in Australia, so this is definitely on my to-do list for 2011 - will make sure to go to Wasabi.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I'm taking note as I hope to visit Noosa one day! :D And I'm ok if I have to stay in but if I'm going out I am a bit disgruntled as I hate getting wet!

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

Hiramasa kingfish dish looks amazing!! I love the addition of garlic chips!

The InTolerant Chef said...

I love the zong of wasabi. I like rainy weekends when we just have excuse to laze around and watch a DVD.

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

You and your scallop love!

Nic@diningwithastud said...

I'v never been to Noosa but its always been on my holiday hit list. Now I have another restaurant to add to my ever growing foodie hit list :)

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