Collaroy is a suburb of the Northern Beaches of Sydney – it’s the one that keeps eroding into the ocean every time there is a massive ocean storm. On the ocean-front the Merrivale pub complex, THE COLLAROY, opened in the last week and across the road a few doors up from the cinema a new Japanese restaurant has recently opened in the last couple of months. WABI SABI is a new “concept” restaurant from Chris Lee, a Korean chef-cum-owner from Sushi Train at Dee Why Beach.
WABI SABI VENUE:
The venue sits on the main road so the patio does have some great surf views over Collaroy Beach but you look over six lanes of traffic to get there. I prefer sitting on the patio, however, because it is a real salt town and seeing the surf crash soothes the soul. Inside the venue is simple, efficient and raw in its design. Wood panelled walls painted an off-white, beautiful exposed cement ceilings and wood floors. They have some long wooden bar lighting – maybe fluorescent but not 100%. They are in a wooden block mount that overhangs lovely wooden tables made of the same wood. The place floods with natural light during the day but no direct sunlight excluding sunrise. The kitchen is at the back and it’s mostly open so you can see your food being made.
JAPANESE ON COLLAROY BEACH:
The food is fresh and light and they are definitely aiming for a more summery beach influenced Japanese menu. The lunch menu has some great bowl foods; Poke in a Bowl, Karaage in a Bowl, Katsu in a Bowl etc etc. The lunch Miso Poached Salmon Salad is something I will return for because it sounds divine. The dinner menu is all designed to share with most of the dishes being incredibly light; Salmon Carpaccio, to Agedashi Mushrooms and Pumpkin and Soba. The Tempura Squid looks delicious and I could eat Garlic Chilli Edamame all night long. There are some new concepts with Taco Wabi Sabi being a somewhat Japanese taco served in seaweed instead of taco shells. There is a small kids menu and three desserts, all green tea based. I really hope they add some more substantial warmer dishes for the winter months or they will suffer during the colder season. Give me some ramen, shabu-shabu, or steal my heart with Chanko Nabe and I will regular this place :). (UPDATE: VENUE HAS STARTED LOOKING INTO THIS FOR WINTER).
Wabi Sabi is licensed so hello beer and sake. There is no wine on the menu but you can BYO for $3- (I would presume per head). There is one glaring oversight that needs to be rectified with drinks however – they don’t have green tea on the menu and my guest doesn’t partake in alcohol or soft drink and settled on water. Adding a tea option is a necessity. (UPDATE: GREEN TEAS HAS NOW BEEN ADDED TO THE MENU).
WHAT WE ORDERED:
- Asahi Beer (any excuse!!)
- Taco Wabi Sabi – salmon, seaweed, salmon roe, krasumi and micro herb
- Gyoza – pork gyoza, crispy leek, ponzu and shallot
- Salmon and Avocado Roll – salmon, avocado, and fish roe
- Karaage Chicken – marinated chicken thigh fiillet, yuzu mayo, lemon and ponzu
- Tempura King Prawn
- Seared Salmon Roll – avocado, cucumber, roast pine nuts, miso-kewpie mayo
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
The food went 50/50 for me – half the dishes I absolutely loved and half of them I didn’t finish or go back for a second piece. The fish roe in the tacos was wonderful and it is a beautifully presented colourful dish but I found the salmon too tough and unappealing. The Gyoza were some of the best I have eaten and were so tender and tasty I nearly ordered a second bowl. The Salmon and Avocado rolls had as much appeal as the tacos but the Karaage Chicken was a perfect dish. My guest and I both thought it was superb.
The Tempura King Prawn looked fantastic but I had to spit it out – I literally bit into a fully shelled head hidden by the tempura. This was mostly my fault but I wasn’t too interested in it after this. And then we got a lovely highlight – chef brought us the Seared Salmon Rolls to the table and flamed it with us for perfect insta sushi porn. He then cut it up for us. This salmon was bloody marvellous and the miso kewpie mayo was a genius addition to the seared salmon. I will order this one again.
Exactly 50% of our dishes were marvellous so I will return to Wabi Sabi on Collaroy Beach for more Japanese food and to give them another chance to seduce me with the other 50%. I do need to visit for their lunch dishes and I need that Karaage Chicken again. I really hope to see Green Tea added to the menu soon and hope they come up with some warmer winter dishes. It’s a decent location and well-appointed simple venue that will flourish in warmer months. I wish Wabi Sabi the best of luck in their first year and into the future.
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 2/3 food, 2/2 service, 0/1 drinks, 1/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets and 0/1 bonus
WABI SABI DEETS:
PH: 02 8021 9255
Shop 2/1085-1087 Pittwater Rd, Collaroy NSW 2097
PRICING: Very Affordable – most expensive dish was $32- for Wagyu
Tue – Sat: 12 – 3pm & 530 – 10pm
Sun: 12 – 8pm
LOCAL DELIVERY: No
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Yes
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Yes
KID FRIENDLY: Yes
BYO: Wine Only
*** Spooning Australia was invited to review WABI SABI – the meal was comped by the venue ***
For more reviews of Northern Beaches Restaurants – check them out HERE