Bringing a modern and contemporary twist to traditional Japanese cuisine and located in the heart of Parramatta is a little restaurant named Sabu.
Sabu brings the Asian inspiration into much loved modern Australian dishes within their menu.

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The decor of the restaurant is sleek and intimate with mood lighting and modern finishes. The restaurant was nice and toasty in the cold winter night. Although fairly small, Sabu accommodates a fair amount of people and fit our party of six with a pram with ease.  Despite the Australian influence the restaurant is set traditionally like a contemporary Japanese restaurant.

Like many contemporary Japanese menus, the introduction stresses the sharing culture of the restaurant and the overall menu so we ordered accordingly

Hot Sake

Silk Kimono Mocktail

The Silk Kimono mocktail was delicious; a nice blend of pineapple and coconut flavours. It wasn’t too sweet or overpowering with pineapple. It’s a nice drink to have alongside your meal for a sweet break between bites. It’s perhaps your alternative for a pina colada but the innocent version. 

Tempura Zuccini Flowers

We started with a platter of the stuffed zucchini flowers. The filling consisted of prawn, coriander, chilli and mushroom. The sweet and sour sauce that accompanied the dish balanced it out and really well and brought out the flavour of the prawns. The tempura batter was light and crisp whilst the flowers itself held their contents proudly. It was a great way to start the meal and we ended up getting a second serving. 

Miso Butter Salmon

This dish was a little more difficult to share and steered away from the Japanese theme that resonated throughout the menu and the restaurant. The butter was cooked well but didn’t really have that punchy miso flavour throughout. It sat on a broth that seemed like an afterthought and lacked a bit of flavour. The seasonal vegetables were mediocre and were not much more than some peas and broccoli that you couldn’t steam in your own microwave.
This dish was very disappointing and struggled to show any Japanese influence bar the word ‘Miso’ on the menu. It was a very simple Australian dish but not an impressive one at that. 

Pork Belly
Despite the menu, it started to become clear that the dishes were coming out ‘al a carte’ style as if it were ordered for an individual. As we had the presumption to share everything as suggested, the pork became difficult to serve and distribute amongst the rest of the guests. 

Again this dish was not traditionally Japanese and didn’t use the appropriate flavours or style of cooking so there was a struggle to see where the fusion lay. The ginger glaze wasn’t very prominent in this dish but the cumin added a little spice to the pork. The pork was cooked until the fat had rendered down and the meat was nice and tender. The ‘pop pork skin’ looked and tasted very similar to store bought crackling and could’ve gone without on the plate. The dish was okay but not great. 

Seared Scallops
The seared scallops were served with pickled seaweed, shiitake mushroom and dashi espuma. 

When the dish arrived I was a little startled on what we received. From my understanding ‘espuma’ was similar to a foam but closer to a mousse/whip but what received was a dense heavy sauce. The scallops were caramelized beautifully, were fresh and cooked to perfection but they absolutely drowned in the dashi stock.
Some of our fellow diners didn’t mind the sauce, but personally it was too overpowering and thick. 

Beef Kushiyaki

This dish was a little closer to the Japanese influences that adorn the menu both in flavour and in style. The robata style street food in a larger form, had a fragrant marinade and were cooked over a grill just enough to get that charred flavour whilst keeping the meat tender. The meat was so soft that was consistent throughout the skewer. This was a table favourite. 
Despite some of the culinary flaws, the staff were attentive and incredibly friendly from the second we walked in. Our waitress was fantastic and managed to remember the complete order of the table including drinks without the aid of a writing pad and all with a smile on her face. The restaurant began to fill up around 7:30 but the service didn’t lack in any way.
Despite the lovely service we found the menu and the food we were served seemed to be on completely different pages. The idea is present in terms of the menu item but wasn’t quite executed on the plate. The theme isn’t quite consistent or well thought out in my opinion and I was shocked after reading all the praise on the venue, personally it totally misses the mark.

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