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Brisbane Devoured: Wagaya

November 07, 2011


Wagaya on Urbanspoon

Wagaya is one of the latest Sydney restaurants that have chosen to open a new branch in Brisbane, resulting in much excitement being produced by L and I as a) its Japanese b) they have a super cool touch screen ordering system, thus eliminating the need for awkward conversation interrupting moments from waitstaff. Yes, I guess this means it can be a bit impersonal but the novelty of the touchscreen overcomes that. 

Wagaya is located on an upper level just off the Chinatown mall in Fortitude Valley. Heres a tip for you if you are going to complain about the parking situation in these surrounds, if you park in the Chinatown parking lot, its only $5 if you produce your parking ticket at Wagaya! 

Walking into the restaurant is very welcoming, and you are immediately taken to your private booth. The restaurant is larger than expected, with rows of booths and a back room with larger group function areas. 

Basically you are left to your own devices with the touchscreen menu, which is very simple to navigate, and there is always a "confirm order" button if you accidentally press on something you don't wish to order. There is a large selection of drinks; cocktails, umeshu, wine, sake and beer, as well as nonalcoholic cocktails and beverages.

L and a friend shared a small bottle of sake, whilst I ordered the vodka based Wagaya cocktail, quite potent and juicy but still reasonably tasty. We noticed most of their cocktails contain grapefruit juice! It was certainly not the best cocktail I've had but was okay.

Most of the food is divided into smaller dishes intending to be shared, but there are some larger offerings like sukiyaki. Be careful when ordering, we went a bit crazy and didn't realise how much we were spending. The touchscreen allows you to see a running tally so keep an eye on that. 

The salmon sashimi was a small serve but seemed reasonably fresh. The pieces were quite thickly cut, perhaps slimmer slices would enable more pieces per person when sharing. We ordered a couple of these.

Gyoza were small but delicious, and pan fried with nice crispy edges just as they should be.

Chicken karaage is something we always order at Japanese establishments. Batter was light and the chicken pieces were okay, some were a bit fatty. 

We enjoyed chicken nanban, a similar dish with deep fried chicken pieces topped by a tartare type sauce.

Sushi-wise we decided on a Rainbow Roll, which is a California roll (crabstick and cucumber) with salmon and tuna sashimi and avocado wrapped around it. Sushi was wellmade and well presented and very fresh tasting.

Agedashi tofu topped with softshelled crab was a bit difficult to share but we worked it out. Apart from an excess of bonito flakes (who likes these things seriously?) underneath the tofu was lightly battered and delicious with a tasty broth. We unfortunately managed to get a really hard bit of shell with the crab... not really completely "soft shelled".

L's favourite is takoyaki, so he ordered a dish of it all to himself, because neither myself or our friend particularly enjoy them. After ordering, he discovered there is a similar dish; takoyaki gratin, basically the same but topped with cheese, so he regretted getting the original one!

Finally we decided on the tataki beef which was a special of the day (we've been back since and the specials were the same however), which was a bit of a letdown, overcooked and fairly bland. 

Wagaya is definitely a novelty restaurant due to the touchscreens. Most of the food was reasonable and the important ones, sushi and sashimi seemed nice and fresh when we were there. Its certainly not a super cheap night out once you order a heap of dishes, however is fun and would be a great place to go with a group of friends.


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