Food voyeurism at Wase

by Forager on February 16, 2009

Last week I had dinner with the co-pilot and his folks at their favourite new haunt, Wase, in Balmain. Wase hasn’t been open for long but already the co-pilot’s family have become regulars, recommending it to all who will listen.

The restaurant is on the main road adjacent the single traffic light in Balmain, but with it’s luxe dark wood interiors and lamp lit tables it manages to retain a sense of warm tranquility. It’s spacious too, by Balmain standards at least! We settle into one of the booths and order a few of our favourite dishes on the menu: edamame beans to start, followed by fish tataki, vegetable tempura, agedashi tofu, black cod saikyo misoyaki and finally the pan fried premium wagyu beef (9+ marbling score). Whilst we wait for the food to arrive I turn my attention to the plasma screens that adorn the walls. The sushi chef is near the back of the restaurant, near the kitchen and a camera is fixed firmly on the table on which he works. A live video feed is transmitted to the plasma screen showing his deft hands skillfully filleting a fish and assembling the sashimi pieces in an artful fashion. This is food voyeurism at it’s best. It makes perfect sense! Everyone wants to sit near the sushi chef – he’s like the popular kid in school. Everyone wants to watch his every move. With a camera beaming his work around the restaurant, everyone can. Genius.

Food presentation at Wase errs more on the simple than the elaborate side and the emphasis is more on flavours. The fish tataki is an excellent example of this. The fillets of salmon, kingfish and tuna are layered like a multi coloured rainbow and drizzled with a delightful tangy dressing that we suspect might contain soy, ponzu and mirin. Small heaps of marinated daikon, seaweed and shallots accompany the dish and we take small helpings of each topping, wrap it in a delectable piece of dressed sashimi and devour. This is undoubtedly my favourite dish at Wase – simple, fresh, flavour-focused and absolutely delicious. Genius. There’s just too little of it to share.
The black cod and wagyu beef are also worth a mention – both dishes and flavourful and tender, the latter is also juicy and the richness accentuated by the Moromi miso reduction. But who am I kidding. I come here for the fish tataki.

359 Darling Street Balmain (next to the lights, corner of Darling St and Mullens St)
Open daily for dinner from 5:30pm – 10pm

Foodie in the know:
The portions are quite small and pricey, so this is somewhere between the cheap dinner/take away option and the special celebratory meal option. And personally, I found the live feed of the sushi chef at work to be mesmerising, so ensure your dining party are equally mesmerised by the show – if not, your lack of attention span for conversation can probably appear rude.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lightning Dave Bolton February 17, 2009 at 10:05 am

Great photos! The video thing looks ace.

2 Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella February 17, 2009 at 11:38 am

I need to get myself here. Any excuse to be in Balmain and avail myself of some Japanese food and Zumbo cakes!

3 shizuokagourmet February 17, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Dear Otaku Friend!
Greetings from Shizuoka, Japan!
Thank you so much for inviting me on Foodbuzz!
Are stationed in Sydney?
have a few friends there who used to live in Shizuoka!
Incidentally plenty of Ozzies in Shizuoka as we play cricket apart of eating and drinking!
If you wish to read some great blogs about Japan, visit my friends at:

4 Forager February 19, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Hey Lorraine – Zumbo certainly have artworks masquerading as cakes! Have you been to Paticceria Tamborrino yet? I was quite taken with their treats :)

Hey Robert – Yes I'm in Sydney and I would LOVE to see some footage of Japanese folk playing cricket! I have some friends who are cricket-mad fans so they'd love it too! I'll go & visit those blogs! Thanks :)

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