July 24, 2010

Wagaya, Haymarket

It was almost two years ago when I first heard about Wagaya, a Japanese restaurant in Sydney's Haymarket. It sounded like such a fun dining experience with a touch screen for ordering food and a sushi roulette for entertainment. For some unknown reason I never ended up visiting this place up until now, after all my friends (and probably most of Sydney) had already established its opinion about it.

Wagaya unfortunately follows the growing number of restaurants with a time limit on their tables, so we settled for an early dinner with friends (from 6pm until 8pm). They only also hold the tables for 10 minutes, so I was a little panicky about everyone making it on time.

We did end up having a good time, and in my opinion the menu is so extensive, that even that is a good enough reason to go back. The restaurant also has a large selection of colourful cocktails to chose from which together with the other unusual stuff is enough to attract the young crowd.

Ninja Turtle - A Gin based cocktail

Dragon water - Shochu based cocktail with oolong tea

Iced green tea latte - Hey I don't mind having ice cream with my main!

Crumbed Cheese

The crumbed cheese is soft and tasty, but for a cheese lover like myself 4 tiny pieces (for $6.90) just isn't enough to satisfy the cravings.

Ox tongue

Another dish I have been recommended to try is the ox tongue and I am really happy the flavour and the texture of this dish. For $5.80 this is also pretty good value.

Hotate kushiyaki - Grilled scallop

I'm starting to realise why ordering via the tableside touch screen can be dangerous. These two small skewers of grilled scallop put us back $8.50, but they are very tasty (AND they look so good on the computer screen).

Beef tataki

Beef tataki is very tender and served with the traditional mix of green onions, wasabi and a soy based dipping sauce.

Assorted sashimi & sushi (small $21.50)

I'm very pleased with the variety of the assorted sashimi & sushi platter. I don't recall seeing raw prawn included in the sashimi platter very often either!

Assorted sashimi & sushi

Tonkatsu ramen ($8.90)

Ramen is perfect winter food and my friends order the tonkatsu ramen and the Wagaya shio ramen which are both (so I am being told) tasty, but not generous with the amount of meat in the dish.

Eel chakuze ($7.90)

I absolutely love eel and can't go past it this time either. I order the eel chakuze which is made by pouring green tea, dashi or hot water over cooked rice and sprinkled with dried seaweed and other toppings. It would be a perfect comfort meal if only it would have a bit more eel in it.

The service is almost as quick as in Russia where they are infamous of taking away your plates as soon as they are empty, and I can't help feeling that with the time limit on place we are rushed to get out. Otherwise it was a pleasant experience and I hope it won't take me another two years to go back and try what else this place has to offer.

Level 1, 78 Harbour Street,
Tel. (02) 9212 6068