We were originally thinking of doing a Valentine's Day double date at Waqu but after seeing that the price had inflated on the day from it's usual $55 for a 5 course menu, we ended up heading over there on a Black Friday. I almost fell out of my seat at work and rolled around on the floor in laughter when Em goes to P, 'Make sure you book early in case they tell you that Friday's full and that "Why don't you try our Valentine's Day menu on Saturday?"' Fortunately, we were lucky and got our Friday booking.
It's hard to miss Waqu - it's just opposite New Orleans Cafe at the intersection. There's parking at the Woolworths carpark but if you're intending on a longer dinner, you're better off driving around the side streets and look for all day free parking. We ended up finding a spot a couple of streets away - it's a bit of a walk but if you're having a degustation dinner, it actually isn't too bad.
Course 1: Amuse (Spicy soft shell crab taco, asparagus flan with prosciutto creme, sliced wagyu beef rolls). You're encouraged to eat the taco with your hands and arguably, the taco is the best out of the three.
Me & Em.
Course 2: Sashimi (Ocean trout and kingfish sashimi carpaccio, lemon mustard soy sauce, ume-shu jelly). The jelly was interesting, the sashimi not as fresh as we would like and disappointingly, the heavy taste of mustard seemed to be hiding the fact that the sashimi was not very fresh.
Course 3: Entree - choose from a selection of 3. I went for the Roasted Duck Udon (Roasted duck, ina-niwa udon noodles, steamed seasonal vegetables, sweet soy sauce). I love duck!
J goes for the Grilled Kingfish (soy and mirin marinated kingfish fillet, lime ginger sauce, dashi braised white radish). J wasn't a big fan of this one - the kingfish was overcooked and dry.
P chooses the Scallop Galett (lightly fired steamed scallop cake, sauted prawns and shimeji mushroom, edamame bean sauce). We had fun trying to work out what the red strands were. I ended up asking the waitress and now I've completely forgotton what it was!
Course 4: Main - again, choose from a selection of 3. I went for the Spatchcock (Cooked two ways; grilled and confit, yukari mashed potato, daikon and mizuna salad, barley-miso vinaigrette). P had this one too and was very amused that he was ordering 'the cock'.
J goes for the Beef Tenderloin Steak (red wine sauce, slow cooked potato, shiitake mushroom, cha-mame beans). I recommend this one - it is so tasty!
Course 5: Dessert. Dessert was chocolate cake, Ice Cream and a Green Tea Panacotta. Loved the combination and could eat serves and serves of this.
P shows us one of his many tricks.
It was a reasonably speedy degustation - as soon as one course was cleared, the next course would arrive quite promptly. They made sure that everyone at the table had finished before they cleared (which I think is very polite and shows courtesy to a table). The atmosphere was pleasant (it was full house that night but the noise level was manageable - I love the way their tables are laid out - it leaves plenty of space between tables so that you're not listening to next table's conversations; I really hate that).
And yes, definitely a bargain on a normal day. Not so sure about the more expensive menu on Valentine's Day (even if it does have an extra course). And FYI: their autumn degustation menu is out for those that are keen.