One restaurant that both DK and I agree has some of the best wagyu beef on offer in Sydney is Rengaya in North Sydney, which has been around for years and consistently serves up premium Japanese BBQ in a classy setting. You can usually smell Rengaya before you see it- a delicious aroma of sizzling beef usually wafts down towards the street from the restaurant to greet you as you approach the restaurant.
The mainly wooden decor is simple, yet elegant and timeless. It’s definitely one of the nicer BBQ restaurants you can dine at in Sydney. Their ventilation system is also quite good, because neither of us end up with a strong BBQ smell on our clothes after we devour a few plates of their wagyu.
We kicked off our meal with a sampler platter of Premium Wagyu Amusement which features 2 slices of the better cuts of beef such as the rib finger, rib, loin, oyster blade and also thick cuts of ox tongue for the brave. It’s a great way to ease into the meal before you select a larger platter of your preferred cut. All of the beef was beautifully marbled, melting in our mouths with that distinctive buttery flavour with every bite and the beef was so tender after being grilled lightly on the BBQ. I wasn’t a huge fan of the thicker cut of ox tongue, as usually Japanese BBQ restaurants serve it wafer thin but DK thoroughly enjoyed the meatier tender cut.
Premium Wagyu Amusement, $49.90
Our favourite cuts from the Amusement platter were the rib finger and oyster blade, so we ordered additional full sized platters of both those cuts to feed our wagyu cravings. The rib finger was easier to eat as it was already cut into bite-sized pieces, but the oyster blade had larger pieces of meat for us to nibble on.
Wagyu Rib Finger (150g), $29.90
Wagyu Oyster Blade (120g), $29.90
Although you can choose for the meat to come marinated in a light BBQ sauce and there’s an additional soy based BBQ sauce for dipping on the side, you can ramp up the flavour by ordering extra sauces for $2.50 a pop, like the garlic sauce I picked which was intensely flavoured and absolutely delicious with the bites of wagyu. DK went for the sesame sauce, which was also quite rich, but I thought that it was more like the sesame dressing used for Japanese salads and it didn’t complement the wagyu as well as the garlic sauce mixed with the BBQ sauce. You can also make your BBQ wagyu beef feast slightly healthier by opting for Wrap Up Lettuce Leaves to wrap around the pieces of beef and up your greens intake, although we found the homemade miso sauce was quite strongly flavoured so don’t go too overboard on spreading that onto the lettuce as the beef already has plenty of flavour!
Wrap Up Lettuce Leaves, $8.90
To give our tastebuds a rest from all the richly flavoured wagyu on the BBQ, we ordered a large plate of Salmon Belly Sashimi to share – a great choice as it helped cleanse our palates a bit and the fresh, thick slices of salmon belly also hit the spot, melting in our mouths in a different way from the beef.
Salmon Belly Sashimi (large), $25.90
For the more substantial carbs of the night, we got 2 types of dishes to try – the Mentaiko Bibimba which is their interpretation of the classic Korean stone pot rice dish and the lovely Sanuki Udon. I couldn’t really taste the mentaiko (chilli cod roe) in the Bibimba, but the crispy pieces of rice on the side were nice against the mixed elements of the dish which featured a variety of vegies and mushroom, all self-flavoured with a raw egg and a generous dollop of the Korean chilli bean paste. The Sanuki Udon was a breath of fresh air from all the heavy meat we had and we really enjoyed the light, yet richly flavoured broth and chewy udon noodles – after all that meat, we didn’t mind that the udon was a vegetarian dish.
Mentaiko Bibimba, $15.90
Sanuki Udon, $14.90
Rengaya is also part of the Washoku Lovers network of authentic Japanese restaurants around Sydney, so bring your Washoku Lovers membership card (it’s free to sign up) along to your meal to score yourself a complimentary drink with all that wagyu!
I hadn’t been back to Rengaya for a while since I last took my family there for a meal a few years ago, but this classy restaurant is timeless and hasn’t changed much since my last visit, pumping out consistently delicious premium Japanese BBQ in an elegant setting. The pricing makes Rengaya a special occasion type of restaurant, but it’s worth it to get that melt in your mouth flavour.
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of Rengaya