Wagaya, Haymarket

As Daisy Moo, ChocolateQueen and I walked into Wagaya, we were grateful we’d made a booking. Despite the early dinner (by our standards), the foyer was absolutely packed with people waiting for a seat, and as we approached the counter, a frustrated looking couple brushed past us, muttering about how they would never get fed… So, the place is in demand.

The restaurant has an attractive layout, with modern, sleek individual booths and high tech touch screens. The booths are a functional and fun idea, allowing some much appreciated privacy but I did notice that noise levels were still relatively high in the restaurant.


Our awaiting booth

The ordering system consists of simply a touch screen menu, where everything including water and the bill can be electronically requested. I admit, I have little patience for poor service and this system suits me well. The dishes are brought out remarkably quickly and the staffs themselves are polite and endearing, as only Japanese wait staff can be:) We were also provided with a laminated A3 menu as a paper menu.

Touch screen menu

We start the night with Takoyaki, a favourite of ChocolateQueen’s. I fell in love with these octopus dumplings while I was in Tokyo, where I was mesmerised by the way they were cooked, in spherical pans with impossibly long chopsticks.

Takoyaki

They are as you would expect, hot, with a crispy outer and that moreish centre.

To be honest, we were a little underwhelmed by the menu, considering the rave reviews and the large number of dishes on offer, and it took us a fair few glances at the menu to decide what we wanted. Nothing seemed to jump out at us that night…

Beef Tataki

Eel and cheese spring roll

Despite their name, the dominant flavour of the rolls was in fact mushroom. The rolls were piping hot (a good sign), and each bite yielded a large splash of mushroom flavoured juice. Warning HOT!!! Although the texture of the eel was obvious, it’s flavour was essentially masked by the overwhelming mushroom and none of us tasted or saw any hint of cheese.

Rainbow Sushi

An assortment of sushi, we opted for this over the Sushi Roulette simply to get a larger variety of flavours. Toppings included salmon, tuna, kingfish and prawn and avocado. The sushi were fresh and tasty, my favourite for the night being the sweet kingfish

Ox Tongue Nikomi

We’ve only ever had ox tongue at Japanese BBQ, so thought we would try this alternative. The tongue was quite meaty, sitting atop a tomato based, pasta like sauce. To the side was a dob of mayonnaise and the only way I can describe the vibe this dish emitted is Bolognaise meets Japan…

Salmon Sashimi

Something I feel compelled to mention is the presence of large chips on all but one of our serving plates; I’ve managed to hide most of them in the photos with repositioning. Not only was it unsightly, with huge white chips on our otherwise darker crockery, it’s also a health hazard, as microscopic, potentially harmful germs aggregate and grow in the exposed porous material. An unexpected annoyance in an otherwise flawless setting.

This place is ideally suited to larger groups, as the booths themselves are quite large, and to it’s credit, I never got the impression that we were being rushed (something I truly detest), even though the line was becoming longer as the night progressed, evolving into a mini mosh pit of hungry, hungry people.

If you haven’t been before, the immaculate surroundings, efficient service and novel ordering system make for a unique experience. I strongly recommend booking ahead to avoid the impossibly long cue.


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Wagaya
Lvl 1/ 78 Harbour St
Haymarket, NSW, 2000
Phone: (02) 9212 6068

8 comments:

Helen (AugustusGloop) said...

Keep meaning to go here. I wanna play with the touch screen menu! :)

Hayley said...

Oooh I read about this place! Sounds really fun.

You impress me with your adventurous taste every time hun, there's not a hope in hell you'd get me eating that big hunk of ox tongue! What does it taste like?

FFichiban said...

I agree the food was not that amazing and I expected a lot better. The portions are also quite disturbingly small (for me at least haha)

But the touch screen is awesome fun! and it means you don't spend half the time hailing down a staff member.

Miss Honey said...

Helen: Yes! Do give it a try, it's definitely fun (I got a bit carried away and started touch screening for the sake of it lol)

Hayley: We'll have to go with the girls sometime when I'm back in Sydney. Um, the tongue was actually quite tender, almost melt in your mouth type, but had a slightly stringy nature. Taste wise - all beef/cow/steak lol.

FFichiban: I agree, hailing wait staff can be so frustrating - in my circles some of us have a "waiter face" which involves a blatant stare plus a cheesy smile which screams 'Come here PLS!!' and even that doesn't work sometimes lol.

Kezza said...

You should give the "Sushian Roulette" a go next time... if only to watch the priceless expression on the face of whoever gets the piece that's filled with wasabi. =)

Miss Honey said...

Kezza: The idea had crossed my mind:) Knowing my luck, the poor sinus cleared person would end up being me lol.

Lorraine E said...

Oooh I loved my visit there. A lot of ppl complain that the food isn't anything special but I think it's great for the price (which is so reasonable). But hmmm not great about the chips in the plates. Those should definitely be replaced!

Lorraine E said...

P.S. We had the sushi roulette and my husband and my friend love wasabi so they were happy to get it (not me, I dislike wasabi). My husband got it and he said that the wasabi they used wasn't as strong as it usually is. Probably in case of lawsuits lol

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