Saturday, January 19, 2008

Yakiniku part deux - down under!

Recently I was on a business trip down under and was pleasantly surprised to find a Japanese restaurant that serves authentic and excellent Yakiniku (aka Japanese BBQ or charcoal grill). I've been wanting to try wagyu beef Japanese style again after my first encounter with it late last year (and I'm in love with it ever since!).

The name of the shop is Iwa Japanese Yakiniku Dining Room and its located along Victoria Avenue about 5 mins walk from the Chatswood train station, just before Anderson Street. It has a rather indiscreet entrance and you will probably miss it if you are just strolling down the street. It must also be pretty new as I don't remember seeing it 3 years back when I was on a six-month assignment in the same neighborhood. (I practically tried every restaurant along Victoria Avenue then!)

The ambiance is cosy and chic; dim lighting, dark walnut wooden furnishing against gold colored copper exhaust tube that drops from above the tables. I do find the place alittle cram with a rather narrow passage way and little privacy between tables.

No complaints about the food though. We went in a party of three and ordered two portions of the wagyu tasting plate on the advice of the waitress. We were told a portion was good for three pax but judging by the hungry looks on our faces, she figured we could use two instead. Good call btw :)

The quality of the beef and even the accompanying vegetables were really fresh and the presentation was excellent. I was awed by just how immaculate each slice of the cucumber, eggplant and mushroom looked; something that I've only seen on menus and advertisements, but never in real life. When it was first presented on the table, I even thought that they were fakes!

The service was equally good with staff who are polite, cheerful and attentive, even when the restaurant was filling up later in the evening.

I find the pricing pretty reasonable, given the quality of the food, ambiance and service rendered. I will definitely come back again the next time I drop by Chatswood. Two thumbs up!

Iwa, Japanese Yakiniku Dining Room
380 Victoria Ave Chatswood
Tel: 9419 7009
Open 7 days 11am - 3pm & 5pm - 10pm

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