Wayama Japanese Restaurant

Earlier this year we made a visit to Wayama Japanese Restaurant (28 Princes Highway, Sylvania) just down the road from Paul’s Famous Hamburgers voted Sydney’s Best Aussie Burger…but that’s a story for another day. If you’re familiar with the Sylvania area, Wayama occupies the same space as Masa Japanese Restaurant, just by the foot bridge. The restaurant is run by the sweetest couple, ex Azuma Head Chef Noboru Takayama and his wife Miki Takayama who is a friend of our family and they run the restaurant almost all on their own! which means the service can be slow but also great, friendly hospitality ; ) The small restaurant is cosy and homely and it looked like the locals love this place too as the restaurant was full.

For this occasion we had the Chefs ‘Kaiseki‘ Course $48pp consisting of several minimalist seasonal courses, which was exciting as the chef has trained in Japan for numerous years before coming to Australia. With a glass of umeshu we started off with a course similar to sunomono, a salad of cucumber, celery, shredded crab with yuzu dressing to whet the appetite. Followed by sakizuke, an appetiser with bite size pieces of salmon nanban, tsukemono (pickles) sushi, snapper fry, teriyaki chicken ball and sweet vinegar white radish. The snapper was delicious encased in a crispy panko crumb and I love love love sweet vinegar white radish, my mum makes the red radish at home but not often enough I say! The mukozuke course is traditionally a cold dish, usually sashimi, in this case we had seared salmon and thick slices of fresh tuna on a bed of ice, the presentation was so pretty but the portion was so small, wish I had more! Yakimono, is a grilled dish, rich slices of roast duck with pine mushroom sauce, ruby grapefruit, snow peas and red capsicum, the roast duck and subtle pine mushroom sauce was the highlight of this dish, as the side was julienne vegetables. My favourite course was the shiizakana, melt in your mouth wagyu beef and vegetables in a red miso and red wine stew. This dish is perfect for winter, a hearty dish warming the soul, wagyu beef flaked as you cut into it and I really enjoyed the red miso sauce as the red wine was not too overpowering. The rice (gohan) was a mixture of potatoes and abura-age (deep fried tofu sheet) which is served at the end of the meal along with red miso soup. For dessert or mizumono a trio of homemade cheese cake, green tea ice cream and seasonal fruits.

Wayama Japanese Restaurant

Salad of cucumber, celery, shredded crab with yuzu dressing

salmon nanban, tsukemono (pickles) sushi, snapper fry, teriyaki chicken ball and sweet vinegar white radish

Sashimi

Roast duck with pine roast duck with pine mushroom sauce, ruby grapefruit, snow peas and red capsicum

Wagyu beef and vegetables in a red miso and red wine stew

Homemade cheese cake, green tea ice cream and seasonal fruits

I’d definitely recommend trying Wayama if you’re in the area and in the mood for Japanese, it really is a great local gem (my other favourite local Japanese is Kazuki, Hurstville). If you’re interested in the Kaiseki course, book one day ahead, it also changes often and seasonally. As the owners ae both Japanese, they have items on the menu which are traditional Japanese foods we would enjoy at home and aren’t usually found in Japanese restaurants like traditional tonjiru (pork soup) or tsukemono (pickled side dishes). Be warned, parking can be painful, there are lots of ‘No Stopping’ signs in every which way of the surrounding streets which are terribly confusing ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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Porco Rosso

Bill having recently had a Studio Ghibli movie marathon, I decided to keep the theme going and take him to try Porco Rosso (33 Allen Street Waterloo) for our date night – doh he had already heard of Porco Rosso as he works in Alexandria. Porco Rosso is one of Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli films about an Italian ex war hero who is transformed into a pig – although we didn’t know whether the restaurant referred to the Ghibli Porco Rosso. The restaurant is hidden under a residential complex and appears to be a favourite for locals who kept popping in for take away pizzas. Reminiscent of an industrial space it is minimally decorated, concrete floors, bags of flour stacked against the glass panelled kitchen and racks of fresh pasta to dry – I especially loved the magnetic specials board with super cute letters of the alphabet.

The menu has hints of Japanese influence (see the tofu salad and edamame) and is divided into Antipasti, Salads, Pizza and Homemade Pasta. The pizzas were named in Italian numerical order and the homemade pastas were named in Japanese numerical order, both lists omitting the number four which is unlucky in Japanese cultures.
We started off with antipasti of caprese with buffalo mozzarella, tomato, basil, extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of black pepper. A simple but beautiful dish, and with tomatoes being the new bananas I savour the chance to have great tomatoes out. We did get food envy when a mountain of parma prosciutto plate with carefully balancing jumbo grissini was ordered by almost all the other tables dining that night and we made a mental note to order that dish next time. Bill chose the Otto (8) pizza, a puffy and chewy crust with tomato sauce topped with fresh mozzarella, wild mushrooms, sausage and bitter radicchio. Naturally I gravitated to the Japanese influenced homemade pasta Go (5) spaghettini with mentaiko which is a chilli marinated cod roe, topped with shredded nori, fresh basil and lemon zest each ingredient present in each forkful. Normally I’d only use mentaiko with soy sauce so I loved how the basil and lemon zest added a freshness and zing to the dish. There’s no separate dessert menu but a cabinet showcasing the desserts of the night which filled as the night progressed. A strawberry custard cake with layers soft sponge cake filled with delicious fresh cream and strawberries caught my eye and a traditional tiramisu layers of coffee and marsala wine soaked chocolate cake and marscapone was the perfect decadent end to our evening.

Porco Rosso



Caprese with buffalo mozzarella, basil, tomato and extra virgin olive oil

Otto (8) tomato sauce topped with fresh mozzarella, wild mushrooms, sausage, radicchio

Go (5) spaghettini with mentaiko, nori, fresh basil and lemon zest

Tiramisu

Strawberry Custard Cake

The restaurant for dinner has a very laid back vibe, perfect for a casual dinner date and I’d love to come back here for lunch as their coffee was great too. Yet another great addition to the ever growing industrial Waterloo/Alexandria area with friendly staff and great Japanese Italian ‘fusion’ food.

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