HOT: Wabi Sabi Salon, 94 Smith St, Collingwood

wabi sabi salon smith street collingwood

What happens when you gather two bloggers together on a blind friend date? You get three cameras, two iphones and lots of chat about writing, coding and stats.

But this post isn’t about the first meeting of Miss Kish and Jetsetting Joyce – it’s about the fantastical world of Wabi Sabi Salon. ‘Wabi Sabi‘ is the name of a Japanese  aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and beauty that is imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. That’s an apt description for the random and quirky design aesthetic for this small Japanese restaurant. Everywhere we turned we wanted to take pictures, from the dangling red lanterns, secluded private dining area to the kitsch and colourful toilets (complete with kabuki opera music and a lifelike poster of tattooed torsos to enhance the toilet-going mood).

Wabi Sabi Salon 94 Smith St Collingwood

The food coming from the tiny back kitchen was authentic, flavoursome and beautifully presented on mismatched Japanese crockery. To start we shared slices of eggpland and zucchini bathed in an unusual sticky sauce (ankake sauce) presented in the mid-section of a scoop-out eggplant ($11). For mains Miss Kish had the Tofu Dango (it sounds like a dance step), a  colourful boat of fried tofu balls, sweet potato, lotus root and veges served in a thick seaweed stock ($23). I devoured a whole tempura flounder ($26) – literally, complete with crunchy fried bones. The flounder was topped with sweet potato, fried lotus root and two dipping sauces – lime mayonnaise and ginger soy – and was one of the most satisfying fish dishes I’ve eaten in a while, on par with the whole fish served at Longrain and Cookie.

Wabi Sabi Salon 94 Smith St Collingwood

wabi sabi salon smith street collingwood

We couldn’t resist dessert so decided to share a home-made green tea cheesecake with black sesame icecream ($12). The fluffy cheesecake was the love child of a sturdy New York baked cheesecake and a girly souffle-like Japanese cheese cake. Black sesame icecream is in my Top 3 ice cream flavours and Wabi Sabi Salon‘s version didn’t disappoint – the icy cool chased down by the roasted sesame aftertaste was particularly delightful.

Wabi Sabi Salon 94 Smith St Collingwood

Finally, Wabi Sabi Salon is participating in Street Smart’s fundraising campaign, which runs from 9 November – 24 December 2009. Street Smart is a homeless charity and since 2003 they have partnered with restaurants to ask diners to make a small donation to Street Smart. Basically, every table is asked to add $2 or more to their bill and 100% of the donations are distributed directly to charity recipients. Find the full list of restaurants participating in 2009 here.

Thanks to Miss Kish for her wonderful photos! If you’d like to read Miss Kish‘s take on Wabi Sabi Salon and see more of her fab photos, click here.

Update 11 January 2010: A new Japanese Day Spa has now opened above Wabi Sabi Salon. Chanoyu is inspired by a traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony Room and offers massages, facials and beauty treatments using Pola’s Sakura Veil and Aglaira products. It’s open Monday – Saturday 10a-8pm by appointment only (Anne Nguyen 0432 214 851).

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9 thoughts on “HOT: Wabi Sabi Salon, 94 Smith St, Collingwood

    • Hi Rilsta

      Just goes to show that you should carry your camera with you everywhere, including the toilets :)

      I was very impressed with the green tea cheesecake and very happy that Miss Kish tried it for the first time (along with black sesame icecream) and liked it! Those flavours are not to everyone’s taste.

      I’m already looking forward to my next trip to Wabi Sabi Salon – there was so much on the menu I would like to try. Nearby tables had some sizzling meat on a hotplate number which smelled delicious!

      Jetsetting Joyce

    • Hi Adrian

      I’m normally a sucker for green tea icecream too. In fact, my Top 3 Asian ice-cream flavours are: black sesame, green tea, sakura (cherry blossom).

      My former Chinese teacher tells me that green tea icecream is very easy to make using matcha (powdered green tea) – so if you’re cooking-inclined you could always make your own to satisfy any green tea icecream cravings.

      Jetsetting Joyce

    • Hi Danny

      No, I haven’t tried the Bamboo Room, though I’ve walked past it many times. Is it linked to Bamboo House on 47 Little Bourke Street? That also does Northern Chinese cuisine. What dishes do you recommend at the Bamboo Room?

      Jetsetting Joyce

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