After a movie in the city last night, I took my friend Isi to check out Wagaya and get a light dinner, due to a pretty extensive menu, and the both of us wanting to try everything, our light meal turned into something more heavy.

The interior is pretty funky; we were seated at the bench which is just below the sashimi/sushi kitchen. The rest of the restaurant is made up of booths and there are also function rooms which I came across when venturing to the ladies. These rooms are more authentic, with patrons having to remove their shoes and sit at the low tables; would be perfect if you wanted to get a big group of people together. The whole feel of the restaurant is fun and laid back, with most of the diners being quite young. It’s definitely a venue that you could choose for a first date…if you have nothing to talk about you can just make conversation about the menu screen.

I have heard touch screen ordering is quite the norm in Japan, and I’m keen for more of these places to pop up in Sydney. Everything is ordered through the screen from a glass of water, drink, food, assistance and the bill. It’s really simple to use, and each dish has a picture and description which is perfect for someone like me who doesn’t have a thorough knowledge of Japanese cuisine (I’m getting there).

Started off with the assorted pickles nibble plate, which consisted of Kimuchi a Korean style of pickled cabbage with chilli, pickled raddish and pickled cucumber.

I have found a new favourite alternative to potato chips…these were awesome. There called renkon chips, and are made from lotus root? Just googled it and it’s a popular vegetable in southern and eastern Asia, full of fibre, nutrients and vitamins. They were deep fried (not so nutritious in the end), extremely crispy and served with a chilli/soy caramelised sauce. If you haven’t tried these before…get your hands on some!

The above dish, the banban g was boiled chicken with sesame miso paste and bean sprouts. The paste tasted very similar to peanut sauce. The best bit was probably the bean sprouts, which seem to have been soaked in some type of dressing. The dish isn’t a real thriller, but a healthier option and good source of protein.

The hot pot dish tatan ya was my first experience with a simmering metal pot of stock. We chose the small size (which was still pretty big) and had pork, vegetables and tofu with sesame miso. We left it to simmer and cook as the meat was raw when it got served to the table. I give the dish a big thumbs up, there were plenty of vegetables, the meat was cooked perfectly and there was loads of flavour.

Agedashi tofu is my friend’s favourite, and a must when we go out to Japanese. I left it up to her to compare it to her past agedashi experiences. She commented that the outer layer of the tofu was light and not too heavy, but the tentsuyu broth that the tofu is served in was not very flavoursome and quite bland.

Finally, after making our way through so much food, we could still fit in some dessert. We had the trio option, which consisted of a strawberry daifuku, maccha mousse and black sesame ice-cream. All three were delicious, especially the daifuku, I loved the glutinous rice cake which was filled with red bean paste and a fresh strawberry. I am on the prowl for more daifuku places in Sydney…I have heard that Shu Shin Bou in World Square is the place to go??

Overall we had a great time exploring the menu, and trying dishes which we may not have chosen before, thanks to the pictures and descriptions on the menu. This is the perfect place for a casual night out with friends and not very pricey at all with our bill totalling $55 (no alcohol, just green tea).

Wagaya

Level 1, 78-86 Harbour St, Haymarket, NSW

Phone: (02) 9212 6068

Web: No website found.