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Monday, June 29, 2015


Sydney, Australia
Fusing Australian and Japanese Cuisine
Dined in March 2015

I had just flown into Sydney from Melbourne and was now early afternoon. The day before I had dined at Vue de Monde for lunch, and Attica for dinner, two of Australia’s top 10 restaurants. For dinner on the following day I would be eating at Quay, another top 10. All three of these restaurants plus my lunch reservation today at Tetsuya’s we’re not only on the top Australian lists but the top world lists in different categories depending on which one you read. I prefer the Elite Travelers list, while others do the San Pellegrino list. Tetsuya’s was also given a Lifetime Achievement Award that was given to them a few days after I dined in early March. I had just enough time from the airport to get on the rapid transit to the nearest station to Tetsuya’s and make it for lunch. They agreed to hold my luggage while I dined. Well, to make things even more interesting besides the flight leaving and arriving late, the baggage handlers with Virgin Australia were nice enough to loose two wheels off my heaviest bag. So it was a lot of fun dragging that suitcase on the pavement down four blocks before I reached the restaurant. Thank you Virgin Australia, I’ll be taking Qantas next time. 

Scroll down to read the main review

World’s Top 100 reviewed:

Chicago, Illinois, USA
Cape Town, South Africa
Melbourne, Australia
Yountville, Napa, California, USA
Sydney, Australia
Franschhoek, South Africa
Dublin, Ireland
Dubai, UAE
Ripponlea, Melbourne, australia
LA TABLE de Joël Robuchon 
Paris, France
Dubai, UAE

Follow Wine, dine, and Play:

Star ratings chart:
5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
Exceeded expectations     
2 stars
Above average                          
1 star
No star rating
Basic, poor, or appalling 

Review basics:

Overall Star rating by Wine, Dine, & Play:
5 of 5
Quality of food:
9 of 10
9 of 10
Wine selections by region:
7 of 10
Old world: 
A). Bordeaux: (Haut Médoc, Cotes de Castillon,  Médoc, Pessac Leognan, Sauternes, St. Estèphe, St. Julien, St. Émillion, Pauillac, Pomerol, & Margaux).
B). Bourgogne: (Chablis, Puligny Montrachet, Chassagne Montrachet, Macon Villages, Meursault, Pernand, Pouilly Fuissé, Nuits St. Georges, Gevrey Chambertin, Viré‐Clessé, Vosne‐Romanée & Bonnes).
C). Loire: (Sancerre, & Saumur, Vouvray, & Chinon). 
D). Other: Côtes du Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Champagne,  Alsace, Languedoc-Roussillon, Côtes de Provence, S. Rhône-Gigondas, Mesnil-sur-Oger Jura, & Sud-Ouest
Spain: Ribera del Duero, Rias Baixas, Méntrida, & La Rioja
Italy: Piemonte, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Veneto, Toscana, Abruzzo, &  Sicily
Germany: Mosel, Nahe,  Pfalz
Austria: Kremstal,& Wachau.
Hungary: Tokaji
Portugal: Quinta de Pancas
New World: 
Argentina: Mendoza, 
Australia: Barossa Valley, Eden Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills, Central Ranges, Frankland River, Margaret River, Yarra Valley, Coonawarra, Sunbury Victoria, New South Wales, Burgenland, Victoria, Tasmania & South Western Australia
New Zealand
A). Canterbury: Waipara, Rapara Rd., Port Hills,
B). Marlborough: Wairau Valley, Awetere Valley, Waihopi Valley,
C). Hawke's Bay: Havelock North, Gimblett Gravels, Te Awanga, 
D). Otago: Central Otago, Bendigo, 
E). Other:,Martinborough,
California: Sonoma
Oregon: Willamette Valley
New York: The Finger Lakes, Long Island
South Africa: Swartland-Western Cape
Japan: Yamanashi


Scroll below the main review section to see the tasting notes of the wines chosen.
Customer service:
8 of 10
8 of 10
Corkage fee’s:
 $30.00 - $45.00 AUS per bottle
Restaurant style:
Formal, or Semi-formal dining
Dress code:
Semi-formal, Business, Business casual, or Conservative attire
Make reservation through Tetsuya’s Website or by contacting the restaurant directly. See contact info below the review section
Not accepted
Child policy:

The Restaurants reviewed on this site may have a child’s menu or cater to them; however for full enjoyment of food and wine, it is recommended for children not to be in attendance, unless they have been trained in proper etiquette. Hire a Babysitter. See Alinea Baby Gate

Tetsuya’s does not accept children under the age of 8
Cuisine style:
Contemporary, Modern, Seafood, French, Organic, Asian-fusion, European, Australian, & Vegetarian
Music styles:
Background instrumental
Place for foodies, Business parties, Romantic, Hot spot, Good for special occasions, Beautiful décor, Scenic views, Intimate, Classy, Upscale, Trendsetting, and a Neighborhood gem.
Industry standard is 18-20% added to parties of 6 or more
Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express
validated parking, $20.00 charge
Transport options:
Bus, taxi, limousine, personal vehicle, and walking
The restaurants reviewed on this site may have Wi-Fi, but do not require you to go online, because the excitement of the food and wine alone will keep you too entertained instead of checking your social media and emails.
Noise level:
Nonsmoking restaurant


Executive Chef:
Kevin Mok

Food price per person 
(Excluding tax & gratuity)

Price chart:
$£€¥ -               Under 50.00 
$£€¥ x 2 -          Under 75.00 
$£€¥ x 3 -          Over 100.00 
$£€¥ x 4 -          Over 200.00 
$£€¥ x 5 -          Over 400.00 

**Currencies chosen reflect the world’s major travelers and restaurant connoisseur’s**

My food bill:
Price chart:
Australian Dollar (AUS)
Great Britain Pound Sterling (GBP)
European Union (EUR)
Canadian Dollar (CAN)
United States Dollar (USD)
Chinese Yuan (CNY)  

To get up to date currency rates:

Scroll down below the main review to see cost of wines and tasting notes.

From restaurants home page:

Tetsuya’s Restaurant is located in the centre of Sydney at 529 Kent Street. Tetsuya Wakuda refurbished a heritage-listed site, with influences of traditional Japanese-inspired style, to create a serene dining enclave in the city. Tetsuya’s serves a ten course degustation menu. The degustation is unique, based on the Japanese philosophy of using natural seasonal flavours, enhanced by classic French technique and utilizing the freshest possible ingredients. Tetsuya designed his own on-site “test kitchen” within the restaurant to enable him to create the constantly evolving and inspiring dishes on which he has built his esteemed international reputation. Tetsuya’s offers one of Sydney’s most comprehensive wine lists and our sommeliers will, upon request, match the dishes with wine available by the glass.

Main review:

The Tetsuya’s Restaurant is located around a grouping of larger office buildings and condominiums, with large amounts of shopping and smaller restaurants closer to the Sydney Chinatown, and only a few blocks from the major museums and Hyde Park. The building is two stories, tucked away, and as I walked down the side lugging my bags with broken wheels, I went right by, since I couldn’t see a number for the building. I even had asked people walking if they knew where it was, and their maps for their cellphones could not even find the location. The building was neighbored to a historical house that used to be the home of the colonial governor,  and the main reason besides the lack of a building number as to why I couldn’t find it was that the building was surrounded by trees and the driveway had a gate and wall around it, making it look like a private residence. The sign for Tetsuya’s was small and I didn’t notice it when I walked by. 
Once inside the property, the maître d took my bags and escorted me inside. The main foyer had some unique artwork in the furbished heritage-listed building. The dining area composed of four separate seating area, all with a view outside looking onto Japanese gardens, to include private dining areas that could sit up to sixty people.  In each sectioned dining room their was both representative art from Japan and Australia, wether they be paintings or statues. From the dining area that I was sat in, not only did I have a view of the gardens, but also of the wine cellar. As I mentioned the building was classified as a heritage sight, but the design on both the entrance way, and the inside was very modern, but still had the Japanese feel to it.
The serving staff matched the level of sophistication to the restaurant which also fit the persona of a fine dining establishment.  After the ordeal of the suitcases, it was time for a beer, starting with a nice refreshing lager from Knappstein Brewery, a Bavarian style beer from Clare Valley Australia (Scroll down below the main review to see wine tasting notes). To begin the lunch, there was a bread service with a choice of wheat or multigrain with a selection of a black truffle butter, parmesan, and ricotta. 
For an additional charge to the ten course lunch, pacific oysters were offered, but I declined and stayed with the regular chef’s tasting. The wine tasting offered with the ten courses was $110.00 Australian dollars which included Saké, three whites, three reds, a dessert wine, and a brandy. Now after the lunch I had plans to do a wine tasting at Hyde Park for a major Taste of Australia event, so I diced to have 3 wines throughout the course of the lunch that the Sommelier would recommend.   

The Amuse was presented in a martini glass, and was a chilled pea soup topped with a sorbet of bitter chocolate. The taste was very refreshing, and being offset with the chocolate, the two flavors together were exceptional.  
The second course was a soy poached tuna twisted over a piece of roasted aubergine and topped with what was listed as costal succulents of sliced radish, parsley, scallion and greens. It was beautifully presented, and twisting the tuna versus just serving it as normal filet made the difference to the eye, and though a very crisp flavor, succulent could not even begin to describe how good the tuna was, the presentation made it even better. 
The third course came from the island neighbor to the east of Sydney, a New Zealand scampi tail, with a variety of nut that I was not familiar with, over a scampi oil that had an orange texture, topped with a shaved cucumber and greens. Two dollops on either side of the scampi was a chicken liver parfait.  Most of the vegetables for the restaurant were sourced locally from Paddy’s Market nearer to Chinatown. 
The next course came in two parts starting with a salad followed by the fish. I also enjoyed my first glass of wine with this course, a 2011 chardonnay from the Pierro Winery in the Margaret River Region south of Perth, where it has nice and warm southern climes, mild soils, healthful vines and like most other Australian wine regions, years of skilled hands-on viticulture and winemaking. The 2011 year was rated as one of the best growing seasons in years for the Margaret Region. Tetsuya’s had their name printed onto the wine label to be reserved for the restaurant.
The salad was a blend of spinach, and red leaf lettuce, and the fish was a Petuna Ocean Trout, a Tasmanian breed near the Franklin-Gordon Rivers served over thinly shaved fennel, topped with a blend of chopped chives, and konbu with a small portion of trout roe, and an oil-lemon garnie.  Petuna Trout is known as the Wagyu of the Sea. It was an  extremely vibrant and had an intense pink color, pure flavor, and luscious marbling. It also had a creamy texture, that made it one of the best pieces of trout that I have ever eaten. 
So far it had been a wonderful lunch and was thinking how this restaurant requires reservations weeks, sometimes months in advance, and I was lucky enough to be going into Sydney on the only day of the week that Tetsuya’s serves lunch on Saturday, and had only made the reservations a few days ahead. Apparently there was a cancelation, which was also my fortune for the restaurant I had reserved on the following night, Quay. 

The fifth course was a baby barramundi served over a four-mushroom ragout, and a blended oil as drizzle. The mushroom varieties in the ragout were chestnut, enokitake, wood ear, and nanako. all four with different flavor profiles which made every bight of the barramundi just as good as the first.  
The last four courses all being fish, it was nice to see a tea smoked quail breast, natural jus, shaved parsnip, and calamari. Tea-smoking is an ancient Chinese technique creating a wonderfully exotic and delicious results when used on chicken, duck, salmon, or shrimp and imbue a fragrant smokiness. So for home use just replace the wood with fresh tea leaves wrapped in foil with some brown sugar, rice, and assorted spices of your choice. 
It was now also time to enjoy the second glass of Cabernet Franc from Le Rocher des Violettes a wine from Xavier WeissKopf in the Touraine region of the Loire Valley. A Cabernet Franc, or the third Bordeaux style variety is light to medium bodied and often shows vegetal characteristics, in particular green bell peppers. The wine was a nice flavor, very earthy and fruit forward, but not strong and overpowering like a cabernet sauvignon, and went great with the next course, a backstrap lamb comes from the back of the animal near the spine, trimmed from the middle of the loin. This cut is free from fat, gristle and bone. In contrast to other cuts of lamb, backstrap is wonderfully lean and meaty with milder flavor then the leg of lamb. The lamb from Flinder’s Island, Tasmania was served with a Jerusalem Artichoke, Lima beans, yogurt and pumpkin seeds. 
Course number seven was now complete, and I new that dessert and petits fors remained, and I do have to say that the experience with the entrees went beyond comparison, but to my surprise, another main course came out. This course was not on the menu, and with it a nice glass of 1999 Zema Estate Cabernet family selection from Coonawarra in South Australia. Sometimes being a chef does have its advantages as some restaurants like to give extra courses so that the chefs can try different varieties. The dish was three slices of Wagyu cut beef with dutch potato and boiled bamboo shoots.
As the course was finished along with the wonderful wine, the manager came over and offered me a tour of the separate dining rooms, wine cellar and the kitchen where I met the Executive Chef Kevin Mok.  

Upon returning to the table it was time for a palate cleanser before the main dessert, of a ginger cream with Italian lemon granita and a cha cha sorbet. The cha cha is of course the tea not the dance. With this start of the desserts came a 1983 Muscat from Seppetsfield winery in the Barossa Valley, Rutherglen region. 
The first dessert was Macerated (or poached) peaches with Peach granita with Champaign ice cream and peach skin jelly, served in a martini glass like the first course of the chilled soup. It was very refreshing having the intermezzo and first course be close to the same yet completely different. 
The final course along with petits fours that followed. The Tetsuya’s chocolate cake, a layered chocolate cake that was beyond exceptional, and outstanding to all degrees. With the that course concluded, the tasting menu for Tetsuya’s came to a close, and I enjoyed some coffee with the petits fors, before setting out on a tour and wine tasting of Sydney.     

This Restaurant reminds me of:

In the past few years I have not had the opportunity to dine in truly authentic Japanese restaurants and especially ones like Tetsuya’s, the closest on this scale being Zuma, a fellow top one hundred restaurant award recipient in Dubai. There are two other great restaurants on par with Tetsuya’s  but not on the same types of large lists, but smaller city or peoples choice lists. The first being 5A5 Steak Lounge, in San Francisco which was a fusion between Japanese with American, and Basil Asian Bistro in Canton, Ohio which focused on Asia in general with Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. 

Other Australian favorites:

Other trending stories on Wine, Dine, and Play:
Stonewood Grill, Brandon, Florida
L’Ecrivain, Dublin, Ireland
Gustavo Winery, Napa, California

Cost of wines and other alcoholic beverages in $$ AUS:

Tasting Notes:
Wine & Grape:
Nose (Bouquet):
Palette Experience:
Lager is crisp, aromatic and pale in color. Made with Australian malt and unique sauvin hops
This is a beer to savor and is a perfect accompaniment to fine dining.
Barrel fermentation in new (50%) and one year old French barriques remains a constant.subtle, restrained and delicate with bright white peach and nectarine flavors
Unctuous and viscous with lingering tangy acidity, it is fresh, vibrant and neatly integrated with impressive purity, balance and underlying power. 
The vineyards are aged thirty years, chalky-clayey soils. Yields per hectare are 30 hectolitres. The plot area is 1 hectare. Nose of mature fruit, 
The flavor is slightly animal. The color is very strong. The palate is rich, with silky tannins. 
Ripe dark berries, a hint of mint supported by cassis and nutty oak.
A full and flavorsome palate displaying intense ripe dark fruit, mint and refined cedary french oak. This full-bodied wine has quite an enduring finish with lingering fine grained tannins.
Deep, tawny brown with olive green hues and a nose of Lifted florals, butterscotch and fruitcake
Viscous with concentrated raisin and dried fruit characters, finishing with delicate and integrated spirit

Wine Regulatory: 
Vin de Table, France
AGWA: Australian Grape and Wine Authority

Restaurant address:
529 Kent Street, Sydney, CBD, Sydney, NSW  

Museum District / Chinatown

Cross streets:
 Liverpool Street & Bathurst Street

GPS Coordinates

Latitude: -33.875154

Contact Information: 

Maître d, Reservations:
+61 2 9267 2900
Restaurant Website:
Social Media:

Facebook Link                


Saturday 12:00 pm 

5:30 pm
5:30 pm
5:30 pm
5:30 pm
6:30 pm
Standard Time (GMT +10:00)

Proprietor / Manager:
Stuart Halliday

Fabio Danzi

Review by:
Chef Sean Overpeck (CFE) with Executive Chef Kevin Mok

Chef Sean cooks for soldiers in Afghanistan, 2012:

"Culinary perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well."