A few years have passed since my visit to Wasabi. Although there have been changes in the kitchen and the addition of the restaurant’s very own farm, not a lot is discernably different. Though not a lot had to; I considered my visit in 2012 to be almost perfect. However, this time Wasabi confirmed its status as my favourite Japanese restaurant and was even better!
As we enter the room we are greeted not only by the gracious wait staff but also a stunning and clear midday view of the Noosa River. Last time, we came for dinner and it was pitch black outside. Now, seeing the dining room during the day, I highly recommend dining for lunch.
The menu works pretty simply. You can choose the omakase (let the chef decide) menu, which is seven ($134) or nine courses ($157) or opt for the a la carte, which is 3 courses of your choice at $80. We select the a la carte and decide to share each dish, turning the meal into a 6-course tasting menu.
A little amuse bouche of light and airy chicken mousse with crispy bits and bobs sprinkled on top makes us keen for the meal ahead.
The Shiromi Ponzu is a fantastic way to kick-off a seafood feast. Delicate slices of white fish (kingfish?) are lightly cured and bathed in ponzu sauce with a scattering of toasted sesame, chopped spring onions and ginger chips. The ponzu doesn’t overwhelm the fish at all and the elements on top add crunch.
Yukke is compiled of roughly diced and lightly bruised Mooloolaba yellowfin tuna, topped with black flying fish roe, yuzu miso, aka shiso, with rice crackers on the side. The fresh tuna, while finely diced, retains clarity, and is enhanced with the salty additions. The crackers make a great vehicle for spoonfuls of the diced fish.
The Ngiri Moriawase is a selection of 5 different types of fish atop rice with various toppings. All are outstanding, expressing their own individuality.
Japanese Tempura may sound easy to do but requires a great amount of skill to execute perfectly. Wasabi’s dish titled Tempura is textbook! Two tempura zucchini flowers rest on a jumble of poached prawn pieces and Moreton bay bug in a coral sauce – need I say more!
The first of the main dishes is called Ramu and consists of black sugar braised lamb belly finished over the binchotan (white charcoal) grill with pickled and fresh radish and a black rice wine vinegar and shallot dressing. As anticipated the meat is incredibly rich and sticky and the tangy pickled radish contrast and balance the richness of the lamb.
The last course, called Aburi Wagyu, is a $25 supplement which I can assure you, is worth it! A 100g seared Mayua Station 500 day grain fed sirloin (7+ score) is served alongside binchotan charcoal roasted bone marrow with tempura onions and sesame miso dressing. The sirloin is buttery, melt-in-the-mouth good, but the star of the dish is the bone marrow which is a soft, oozy, unctuous delight. More of Wasabi’s legendary tempura is put to good use producing the best onion rings you will ever encounter.
Wasabi executes traditional Japanese cuisine extremely well. Where they differ from the local family-run Japanese restaurant is through their use of high quality ingredients from their farm and through their beautiful, precise and artful presentation of dishes. If you’re heading to Noosa, this place should not be missed!