Thursday, June 03, 2010

May 27, 2010: Gertrude Stree Grub - Wabi Sabi Salon

To celebrate my birthday I decided to drag a bunch of my work buddies out for lunch somewhere nearby. A couple of them were very enthusiastic about Wabi Sabi Salon, which Cindy and I have shamefully never visited (never managing to go past Peko Peko), so I booked us in for a quick visit.

The tiny shop-front gives no indication of what lies within - a small number of tables inside, a pleasant-looking upstairs area and a cute little Japanese garden out the back. We were lucky enough to get the big outside table, which made up in atmosphere what it lacked in legroom.

The lunch menu has fewer options than the restaurant offers for dinner but there's still plenty for vegetarians: noodles, rice-bowls, salads and curries all have non-meat or fish choices. The stars of the lunch-time show are the bento box specials - with rotating meat, fish and vego alternatives. I couldn't resist sampling a box of vegetarian goodies ($11).

This was a beautiful meal - the meat-free main of the day was a deliciously fried tofu steak ($11), which was swimming in a subtle, brothy sauce with tender pieces of eggplant to top things off. But the whole thing is made by the combination: you get a beautiful little sweet potato side, some cute pickled vegies, a big pile of perfectly cooked rice and a leafy salad with a tangy dressing. While there was heaps of food in this cute little box, it all had a light freshness meaning you walk out satisfied but not bloated - and everything tasted amazing.

It's ridiculous that this is my first sampling of the delights of Wabi Sabi - it's well within walking distance of work and serves up reasonably priced, brilliantly presented and tasty meals. I'm going to return again and again.

Wabi Sabi Salon has been given a bunch of positive reviews - stop by Abbotsford Blog, Fitzroyalty, Cookbook, The Melbourne Food Experience, Knife-fork-spoon-chopstick and Mel: Hot or Not to verify how good this place is. We really need to go back for dinner one night to sample more of what they have to offer.

Address: 94 Smith St, Collingwood
Ph: 9417 6119
Price: veg bento lunch $11


  1. Looks fabulous! I miss quality Japanese that isn't too expensive. Here in Canberra, the good stuff is always mega pricey.

    What I wouldn't give just for a bowl of proper rice and those pickle things...

  2. ooooooh. and how veganish was it? INQUIRING PENGUINS WANT TO KNOW.

  3. I think their lunch boxes are fantastic value, and very tasty :-)

  4. Steph - I went there for dinner ages ago & there were a few vegan options & they were really delicious!

  5. Ooooh, I love that little table area by the Japanese garden!

    I am also quite partial to bento boxes. We sometimes go to Meshiya on Lonsdale, they do a great tofu bento with vegie gyoza. Although I do wonder whether the miso has bonito, and am still too timid in demanding ingredients of stuff at restaurants XD

  6. Oh my goodness, their website is so charming! With the old-style jazz in Japanese, and the lovely lanterns and outdoor japanese garden, I love it! Must pester friends into going there.

  7. I like wabi sabi and especially the backyard! Happy birthday!!

  8. happy birthday michael - sounds like you have been inspired by your recent trip to japan - that bento box looks excellent

  9. Michael, when you return to work, we should organise to lunch there - I'd definitely like to try it! Yum!

  10. hey guys,
    i really like your blog, it's great. just thought i'd let you know that i referenced it in a uni blogging assignment, hope thats ok. feel free to take a look. i've done a pretty shoddy job of the blog overall, but yknow.

  11. Thanks for the shoutout! I loove Wabi Sabi, having had dinner and lunch there numerous times. Super friendly service too!

    Jetsetting Joyce