A well-established restaurant for more than 20 years, Wakaba is a traditional Japanese place delivering authentic cuisine and contemporary surprises.
Wakaba’s all white decor (courtesy of architect and designer John Pawson) looks similar to the front of the Taj Mahal in all its white glory. Meanwhile the modernistic curved facade of frosted glass provides a welcome obstacle from the outside road and the panelled interior makes you feel relaxed and tranquil.
Everything is minimalist right down to the walls which act as full height, openable screens with a well-positioned backlight. The seating layout is divided by low screen walls which enclose specific areas. All the tables, chairs and floors are built of white oiled beechwood.
A little dreary, particularly during the weekdays, but this is due to the lack of diners inside. Some Japanese locals do venture in, but unfortunately Wakaba’s white interior may put off customers looking for evidence of its Eastern influences.
Oshibori, or hot wet flannels to wash your hands, are a nice touch to start off the meal. Sushi sets are recommended here as prices tend to be on the high side. Choose from a deliciously crisp crab tempura hosomaki, salmon tozasukuri or beef teriyaki. Also try the vegetables which feature crunchy broccoli with a gooey sesame paste.
There’s also a wide choice of sashimi, edamame, sunomono and nigiri from the a la carte menu which include all the usual sushi suspects. From Monday to Saturday lunchtime Wakaba have a very reasonable all you can eat buffet for around £7.00 and includes 35 different dishes such as miso soup, sushi and tempura.
There’s a sound choice of soft drinks and hot beverages including traditional sake or a refreshing peppermint tea.
The Last Word
Although Wakaba won’t set the world alight and is significantly pricier in contrast to the many Japanese outfits that do things fresher and cheaper, it is worth a visit to taste such fine contrasts of flavours.