You know how it is… you’ve tried to choose a healthy meal, only to find you’re half starving at the end of it. Perhaps you’d decided on a couple of share plates and drawn the shortest straw, or maybe that plate of sashimi cost $28 for five pieces of fish?
Then you weren’t at Wazen.
It’s a mid season week night, and the Old Post Office on Tallebudgera Creek Road is lit up like a Christmas tree. Fairy lights beckon in welcome, and there’s an air of excitement to be dining somewhere new.
Wazen is an ambient little Japanese restaurant run by Katsu and Aki. Walk inside and it’s restrainedly cosy. Better still, you’ll receive a warm welcome. Navy walls give accent to the warmth of wood, impressionistic Japanese artwork is featured by the use of downlights, while the Edison lighting provides a more modern brushstroke.
There are no set rules for dining at Wazen, so you can choose a selection of tapas and sides (3 – 15) or mains from the Sashimi, Sushi, Nigiri, Curry bowl or Main meal plates section (10 – 24). We note that all dishes are MSG free.
We start ordering from the Tapas menu, which has a few interesting choices, but then a couple of mains delivered to the next table pull us up. We’ll need to come back another time at lunch to try the small plates! For now, one share plate will be enough to start: a fusion dish of perfectly cooked large prawns with a deliciously tangy housemade sauce. Then we’re on to our mains.
Our assorted sashimi (24.5) contained four pieces each of succulently fresh salmon and kingfish, and three pieces of tuna. Delicious!
My Gold band snapper on Yuzu citrus pepper with a creamy French style sauce is served with crisp tempura vegetables, fresh green salad and steamed rice (22.8). It’s an interesting combination, but enjoyable. There’s a formulaic sameness to the sides on Main Course section plates, a time-saving formula for a one chef kitchen, however it also ensures that all patrons are well fed! Still feeling hungry? You can upsize the rice, or upgrade to organic brown rice for $1.
We’re dining with ‘gluten free’ friends, who are obligingly catered for, a quick swap of freshly steamed veg in place of the tempura beside the free range Teriyaki chicken, rice and salad (16.8) and everyone’s happy! In line with the rest of our night’s experience, service is charming and nothing seems like a fuss.
Watch out for the chef’s specials. They provide exciting excursions off the menu with dishes such as Gold band snapper and seared scallop with Japanese seaweed miso risotto, or Gooralie Free Range Pork Belly with pumpkin purée and star anise on a bed of cabbage, apple and almond slaw.
There’s a fair range of Japanese beer, plum wine, sake and wine, including organic wine (Angove, Geisen, Battle of Bosworth, Nature’s Step and Nature’s Harvest), all reasonably priced, but they also allow BYO wine, with a $4 corkage per person.
Wazen is a charming little restaurant in an accessible location. It provides value dining and delightful service; and you certainly won’t go away hungry!
1/33 Tallebudgera Creek Road, West Burleigh Ph: 07 5520 2433 Open: Tues – Sat 11.30am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 9pm