Tao sits on the corner of Boas Avenue and Grand Boulevard in Joondalup and was quite busy on the Sunday afternoon that we visited.
The restaurant is dominated by a sushi train, and food offered on the menu is predominantly Japanese with Thai and Vietnamese options. I always wonder why restaurants offer a variety of cuisines rather than sticking to one and making it really good, however, I had heard good things about Tao and wanted to give it a try.
I ordered fresh coconut to drink, which arrived in the coconut shell, so it was lovely and fresh.
While we perused the menu we chose some crab claws from the sushi train. The flavour was good, but they had been on the train too long and were cold, which detracted from our enjoyment. We also chose a crab/potato cake plate which was quite nice, and again could have been warmer.
Eventually we decided on a mixed tempura, a karaage bento and a crazy crab roll.
The tempura was a bit bland. The prawns were fresh, but the veggies and ponzu sauce were a bit tasteless and I added plenty of wasabi to ramp up the flavours. I like tempura when you get a little heap of grated radish to add to the sauce, but sadly this was missing, and I have had much better tempura than Tao provided.
The bento box was dominated by orangey yellow sauces – chilli mayo for the karaage and an odd dressing for the salad (which had separated making the salad quite wet). The miso was good, and the karaage was okay but could have been crispier.
The crab roll was lovely – nice tasty flavours, but not very tightly wrapped, so it fell apart while eating it. It was accompanied by deep fried soft shell crab in the middle of the plate, but this could have been crispier, it was a bit oily and soggy.
Despite a fairly lacklustre meal, I was impressed with the array of cakes in the display cabinet and on the sushi train. They really looked appealing.
The wait staff were a little mixed, the guy was lovely and apologised profusely that the freshly prepared ordered items were taking a while (I didn’t actually mind – I prefer to wait for fresh food), whereas the lady was a bit brusque and not very attentive. It was a cold night and we were seated close to the door, so every times somebody came in or out, we felt a draught and had to keep getting up to close the door.
I probably wouldn’t go back to Tao. It’s not cheap, but portions are large. Sadly the big portions are not matched by big flavour, and it was a meal that I didn’t really enjoy enough to return. If I did come back, it would be for tea and cake.