I don’t know what your family’s Christmas traditions are, but my family’s holiday traditions generally involve complaining heavily because no shops or restaurants are open. Coming from a background where there’s really no such thing as a ‘day off’ (Hong Kong never sleeps!), Dad still finds it confusing that restaurants don’t open on public holidays. Inevitably it just means that we’ll go out to a Chinese restaurant for lunch or dinner on Christmas and Easter as they’re always open.
This past Christmas, my younger brother flew up to Sydney to stay with me and K for a few days. On Christmas Eve, after a long exhausting day spent exploring Taronga Zoo, we needed a quick dinner out, stat! After calling a few places to check if they were open, we ended up at Wakana Yakiniku in Artarmon.
Rather than spend time deliberating over the menu and trying to decide what type of meat to order, we made it easy on ourselves and ordered the set menus which included salad, rice, miso soup and a dessert. We ordered one “Sea Side” set menu (wagyu beef and assorted seafood, $37 per person) and two “Grass Lands” set menus (oz beef and chicken, $27 per person).
The Wagyu was beautifully marbled, and we wasted no time getting the meat on the grill! The chicken (marinated in a green pesto-esque sauce) and Aussie beef came out quickly as well, and was supremely fresh and delectable once cooked.
The self-service nature of a BBQ restaurant was quite new for my younger brother, and he found it quite a fun experience. What I enjoy about it is that you have such control over what you eat – for instance, I like my steak well done, and K likes his steak medium rare – this way, we can cook the meat ourselves to our own standards!
The small selection of seafood we received was also amazingly fresh and didn’t have that ‘day-old’ seafood smell that you can often get. With a good selection of fish, squid, scallops and prawns, K and I gorged ourselves!
For the dessert on the set menu, you could choose between black sesame, green tea, or vanilla ice-cream. I have a love affair with black sesame so that’s what I chose – and I couldn’t have been happier with the rich, sweet, but slightly bitter flavour of the fragrant black sesame. One of the best versions of black sesame ice-cream I’ve had in Australia!
Overall, I rate Wakana Yakiniku an 8 out of 10. Their ingredients are superbly fresh, even on Christmas Eve, a day before a public holiday. Their set menus are quite good value, but I would recommend choosing one “Sea Side” and one “Grass Lands” if you were to go and dine as a pair, as that will give you a bit more variety at a better price. Don’t forget to order the black sesame ice-cream when you’re there!