Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Acacia Modern Japanese Dining

Shop 6&7 GPO Building
741 Pacific Hwy Gordon
02 9499 5214

The redevelopment of Gordon’s GPO building was completed quite a long time ago, with a lot of the building remaining empty. It took ages for the pizza place to open up in what used to be the Gordon post office. It was only very recently that another restaurant opened up in the building.

You can’t see this restaurant from Pacific Hwy, which may or may not be ideal. But if you’re like me, and take the train everyday, then yes, you can see the restaurant from the station side. Acacia is a modern Japanese restaurant, but really, it’s more of a Japanese/Western fusion, but with a lot more Japanese influence, but served in a Western style.

The décor is very modern, clean and the seats are comfortable. One issue I have with the décor is the noise suppression aspect. Or, should I say, the lack of it. It’s a fairly busy restaurant, meaning that the noise level can be quite high, almost to the point of lunch time yum cha levels. It is not at all romantic, as suggested by the restaurant’s advertising material. This is quite unfortunate.

It is also a very new restaurant, with the wait staff still learning the ropes and hence service is friendly, but inconsistent. Sometimes you get the feeling that the staff still aren’t quite sure about what to do, and  they can look a bit hesitant at times.

It was also quite obvious from the get-go that the owner was not Japanese. We later found out that the husband/ owner is half Japanese half Korean, and the wife is Chinese. To us the husband looked a lot more Korean than Japanese, and we had a quick talk again about why the Koreans always tend to do Japanese restaurants? Is it because Korean cuisine isn’t considered “high end” enough? Is there a possibility for them to rise up out of the “Korean BBQ” reputation and do something really high end?  I’m sure tthat here are plenty of opportunities to do a high end Korean-Western fusion…

Having a high(er) end restaurant in the suburbs is great! I wish we have more of these. Rather than el cheapo takeaways around the station, a good restaurant within walking distance also helps with alleviating the issue of drinking too much, then worrying about driving after dinner. Also good for those times when you just don’t feel like driving in order to get a decent feed.

We were given a window seat, with a million dollar view. (That is, once you add up the value of all the cars in the car park, it easily exceeds a million bucks…)

I had actually noticed this restaurant quite a few weeks back, but was a bit hesitant about trying it out. What really tipped me over the edge was the buy-one-main-get-one-free coupon on the back of the local Woolies docket. Good thing too, since I felt the pricing to be a bit on the high side.

Another area that could use some improvement is the design of the menu. Nothing really wrong, but a laminated colour A4 print is kinda below the standard required from a restaurant that charges $30 for a main…

Enough waffle. To the food!! This is what we ordered.


Oyster cocktail gratin with spinach ($3.50 each) :

The oysters were delicious! Perfect mix and balance of flavours. I’d get perhaps a dozen of this to share and forgo the entrée.


Chirashi sushi ($16) – a very interesting take on chirashi. It is still raw fish on a bed of rice, but the presentation is outstanding and the fish (five types of them: tuna, salmon, eel, prawn, cuttle fish and egg) were fresh and delightful. And some dried branch/ stick of some description which was actually quite tasty. But really, guys, it's not $16's worth. No matter how fresh the fish was...

Sashimi moriawase ($17) – Hmmm… Sorry to be a bitch here, but they really really need to look up the meaning of 'moriawase'. It’s not a fancy sounding Japanese term to be tacked onto the back of “sashimi”. Four clumps of raw fish does not, in my mind, a moriawase make. See below for a photo of what I think sashimi moriawase should look like… 

Having said that… The fish was very fresh, and presentation elegant and quite “fusion” but to me, this plate should cost more like $12. My chirashi that cost less almost had more fish…


Braised wagyu beef Nikujaga flavour ($27) – I do, however, love the main I ordered, and I love the fact that it’s not a chunk of steak, but sliced wagyu beef, with mixed veggies. The sauce was divine, and it was just an all-round, well-balanced dish. Not sure about the carrot puree, which tasted a bit like curry sauce.

Light fried salmon ($26) – this was apparently quite good too, and presentation is superb. It made the dish very enticing, and apparently the garlic sauce was to die for. The serving could be a bit bigger for $26 though


Chocolate cake with pie stick ($9) – This was a let down. Woolies frozen choco cake tastes better.

The accompanying wine was a 2004 St Hugo’s Cab Sauv. One of a half dozen that I keep for special occasions. Below tasting note I plagiarised from the interwebs:

Correct mid red in colour, the nose is classic leafy Cabernet - herbaceous blackberry, cassis, a dash of mint & some more red berry. On the palate it is more of the same - leafy minty Cabernet, with an initial dryness that lingers through the whole palate, finishing with high acid and some slightly unripe tannins. Its an austere, cellaring style of Cabernet that straddles the edge between unripeness and classic leafy Cabernet style.

I’m not even sure if that was a positive tasting note… But the review did recommend cellaring for about another 5 years, and so I reckon…2010 is an ok time to drink it?

So what was the occasion? It was a week since we got married and it was the first night that we’ve really had to ourselves. (The wedding night doesn’t count since we were so tired we pretty much passed out), and it was a good opportunity to present our wedding gifts to each other:

Me to Her :

Tudor two-tone Princess Oysterdate Lady-Sub – This has got to be bordering on vintage, but it’s still brand new, with folded links on the bracelet that I have no idea how do adjust. Cased by Rolex, with a Rolex crown, and featuring an ETA 2671 movement, which is probably the most common ladies 'automatic movement, meaning easy to get hold of parts and many watchmakers will be able to service it. 8 teensy weensy diamonds on the dial. She really likes two tone watches for some reason, even though I still think the watch is quite mature in look, but it does suit her, and apparently a lot of young women these days like the two tone look. What do I know about fashion eh?

Her to Me:

Oris Artelier Chronograph in steel. I’ve always had a soft spot for Oris watches (the same soft spot also goes to Fortis) I think they’re both excellent value for money. The Artelier range is one I’ve always liked, and considering this one is powered by the Valjoux 7753, (a tri-compax version of 7750) and that it has a very symmetrical dial, solid build adds to its appeal. The only thing that’s probably stated to bug me about the Valjoux 775x powered watches is that the movement is a bit on the thick side, making the watches, when cased up, also quite thick. Of course, depending on the case design, one can disguise this fact a little…

Overall I think Acacia needs a re-think of either the portion of the dishes or the price point. They could also do with a bread roll to start off with. I’d happily go back again as long as I have the coupons as that brings it down to a more reasonable pricing. $3 for corkage is ok, but for the price and the style of food, I would choose another Japanese/Western fusion over Acacia in the form of A La Facon De Shimizu in Willoughby, even if Acacia is only a short stroll away.


[Postscript (11.13am 16 Nov) : It has just been discovered that the one of the Tarts was the architect for this building. Small world!]

Acacia Modern Dining on Urbanspoon


kewpie said...

i love the fact you are brutally honest. no fluffy, inconclusive type opinions on food! great work! congrats on your wedding!

Anonymous said...

The oysters look kind of err brown...heh.


Gary said...

Great write up!

I've got a dozen of the St Hugo but of the 1998 vintage and before the acquisition by Jacob's Creek. They are prime drinking age about now.