Co-author of the ebook Secret Sydney Bars Walking Tour (Amazon). Reviews wine & craft beer bars and pubs, Asian restaurants and other places open late. Please visit my blog for more of the same from around the world https://www.TravelWineFood.com
Published December 27th 2019
Hidden Izakaya Japanese Restaurant Discovered in the CBD
Unlike years ago when everything was closed on Christmas Day, in Melbourne you can now usually find a nice restaurant or bar open in the CBD. Certainly, when my partner and I went searching for dinner we were spoiled for choice.
Tasty Kingfish Collar
We chose Wagaya, a nice izakaya-style restaurant in the Mid-City Centre on Bourke Street. Access via the lift, then be ushered along the stylish tiling around into a wide area of darkly lit wooden booths surrounded by wooden privacy barriers. The place immediately gives you the feeling of calm and peace. The music was ambient and the other patrons took their cue and were equally as quiet. Even the babies!
Chicken Nakotsu (soft bone)
There's an outside area for smokers at the far back, and the restaurant is family friendly. I noticed a few cool looking high chairs, space for prams between tables, and other baby facilities.
The hot pot, before we turned on the gas!
Each table has its own ordering touch panel system so you can go through the digital menus, see all the pictures, and tap to order. If you prefer not to use the touch panel, they also give printed menus for you to use. Printed menus are so much better if you are going with a group, so I'm very happy they still offer this option. With just me and my partner, the touch panel was more fun.
Thick and Juicy Smoked Salmon Cooked
Food was delivered quickly considering the amount of people dining at the time. We shared Kingfish Collar (fish neck), cooked Smoked Salmon slices (thick and juicy), Smoked Ox Tongue shavings, Chicken Nankotsu (fried cartilage), and a Tantan Pork Miso Hot Pot served on a portable gas burner. We also ordered some ramen to go with the hot pot. There was a lot more on the tablet that we would have liked to order, so we'll be back to eat there again.
Shavings of Smoked Ox Tongue
There was a wide range of sake and other drinks available on the tablet. Having already tried them all at one point in my life, I chose a glass of Hennessy cognac - a brandy I hadn't tried before and thoroughly enjoyed. I could imagine coming here regularly for some traditional and modern Japanese food and drinks while catching up on some writing.
Overall, a great experience, and I definitely look forward to going there again in the future.