Dear Reader, there is one thing you really need to know before visiting Wagyu House. Do not wear your best clothes. Because inevitably you clothes will take on the smell of charcoal grilled meat and the only thing protecting your lap from spills and a spitting grill are carefully placed tissues. That's me, looking out for your fashion ;)
Sartorial advice aside, eating at Wagyu House on Concord is quite an experience. From the people that usher you into the driveway to the ones that help you reverse park, to the ones that stand at your door saying "The rest of your party of three is here" (to which your question "How did you know?" is returned with an enigmatic smile). Then there's the ordering. At Wagyu house it's all about the do it yourself Korean charcoal bbq. You walk out of the restaurant area into another room that looks like a shop.
To the left is a drinks fridge and above that is a television playing K-Pop. To the right is the meat and seafood fridge where you pick cling wrapped trays of wagyu beef, beautifully marbled and thinly sliced. They take their meat seriously here and there is an on site butcher dealing with the meat from their two wagyu farms in Australia.
There are combination packs and family sized packs with a bit of everything and there are also packs with chicken, pork and seafood. You choose what you want and a smiling staff member will carry it across to the restaurant for you in a shopping basket. When we return to our seat, we notice that all of the side dishes have been laid out for us and the charcoal is burning away.
Laid out next to the charcoal grill are tongs and a pair of scissors on a lettuce lined tray - this is where you put the meat once you've finished cooking it. I've found that in every group there is always one person that likes to cook and one that doesn't.
Nick doesn't want to cook, he's too busy bemoaning his love life and in between cooking the meat Belinda and I try to help him with finding him a girlfriend - perhaps our advice should have been that cooking once in a while wouldn't hurt ;)
Nick pours small cups of the black raspberry wine and tells us that he wants a woman that loves food as much as he does and romantic walks on the beach (and perhaps to the fridge). He wonders aloud if there is merit to a food lovers dating site. Any takers ladies?
Back to the food. The side dishes or banchan include broccoli with a sesame dressing, bean sprouts with sesame, kimchi, sauteed greens, super sweet chunks of potato, pickled green chillies, pickled cucumber, a rich raw squid with chilli bean paste, pickled daikon, chilli daikon radish and our favourite, dried squid matchsticks with chilli.
We start with the scallops which are really good but at 4 for $12 and the fact that they can stick to the grill, I don't know if they're great value. I try the wagyu next and cook it through so that the fat melts throughout the slices. It is heavenly and absolutely melts in the mouth - I wish we had bought a whole tray of it. The pork and chicken are also good and we like the fact that we can cook these to our liking. The two sauces given are a sesame oil with salt and pepper and a sweet, delicious house made bbq sauce.
We move onto the beef short ribs. These are folded out and take a bit longer to cook but when we turn them over they crisp up perfectly but still retain a bouncy juiciness to them. They come over and slice them up into small bite sized pieces and this ends up being another favourite item.
We try the curly chilli octopus its long legs wrapped around a skewer. It too is tender and spicy - there is real spice here and it's not for the faint hearted. The chilli pork neck is last and it sings with flavour and Belinda cooks it until it is charred on the edges, just as I like it.
We also decided to order some dumplings and other Korean goodies. There is a choice with the mandoo dumplings as you can have them either steamed or pan fried. We opted for pan fried which gave the meat dumplings a nice crispy edge to them. The dressed rocket salad is also tasty and not just for decoration.
Bibimbap is one of my favourite dishes. I was hoping that there would be more crispy rice bits in this but the mix of egg yolk, carrot, cucumber pickle, radish, beansprouts, enoki mushroom and beef are good. It needs a little more sauce to pep it up though.
We all like the enormous pancake and it is filled with squid and plenty of vegetables and is cut up into squares. Sometimes these pancakes are floury but this one isn't and the sesame and spring onion dipping sauce gives this even more flavour. And if this was the small one, I can't imagine how big the large one is.
we couldn't finish much of the food. But no matter, a request for a container to bring this home to Mr NQN is furnished with a smile and a paper carry bag. Even upon leaving, there's someone at the gate.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you think that there is merit to a food lovers dating site? And do you enjoy cook your own restaurants?
668-670 Parramatta Rd, Croydon NSW 2132
Tel: +61 (02) 9797 9999
Mon - Fri: 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm, 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Sat - Sun: 12:00 pm - 10:00 pm