On a Swiss Cottage shopping parade, where drivers are likely to get ticketed before they so much as turn off their engines, Wakaba’s location seems an unlikely place for a Japanese restaurant to survive. Our most recent visit was disappointing. In the natural light of lunchtime, the minimalist dining room was showing its age, and the welcome was lacklustre. Staff did not seem keen to offer sushi à la carte as described on the table menu, so we stuck to a fixed-price buffet lunch where, self-evidently, few dishes were freshly prepared. The result was a meal that was more school-canteen than fine dining. Chicken wings sat gloopily in viscous teriyaki sauce, while tempura was greasy and lacking in flavour. Cold salmon and cold fried agedashidofu were surprisingly tasty, and sushi rolls were of acceptable temperature and texture. Service was no more or less than what you’d expect in a buffet setting. In short, this is a good place for the ravenous to eat Japanese food on a budget, but not perhaps worth a lengthy excursion.
122A Finchley Road
|Opening hours:||Lunch served noon-2.30pm, dinner served 6.30-11pm Mon-Sat.|
|Transport:||Tube: Finchley Road tube|
|Price:||Main courses £4.50-£19.80. Set lunch £7.30 (buffet). Set dinner £22.50-£34.|