The Wasabi Bistro has never had the most elegant of entrances. On exiting the elevator one often thinks one has stumbled wrongly into the Mandarin car park but beckoning staff are more often than not there to put you right. The decor is a sombre and uninspired affair made no better by no natural light. Nowadays with so many well designed modern Japanese restaurants based on starkness with style Wasabi excels with the former but comes unstuck with the latter.
However, I have been here many times so there must be a reason for my loyalty other than the fact it’s only yards from my workplace. Looking over the menu I notice there are a few new additions of a more modern take. Wasabi in the past for me was a straightforward, no nonsense, run-of-the-mill Japanese. Never excelling but always dependable.
I opt for tuna carpaccio in a yuzu lime pepper dressing which is pretty good, reminding me of Nobu’s famous yellowtail with jalapeno. Delicate and tasty but with a sting in the tail. I’m impressed. I finished my homage to health, guilt-free seaweed salad, which was as good as lettuce and seaweed can get I guess, but let’s face it, is never going to match the delights of a combination of bubbling boiling oil and chicken, is it?
The tori-tatsuta-age (marinated deep fried chicken) was piping hot, crisp and succulent. Feeling a little more daring with the pepper still lingering on my tongue from the tuna carpaccio dressing I chanced upon the dynamite roll. To be honest I forget the contents because they didn’t matter. The important thing was the dynamite or indeed the spice.
Cagily I had opted for heat level 10 in the 1 to 19 scale of mouth furnace options. Going by the wonderful fieriness of the six cut pieces I had narrowly missed out on a lobotomy by spice by not venturing into the teens but will soldier on to 11 or 12 on my next visit.
Being a degenerate curry eater and loving the mildness and flavoursome Japanese variety I ordered the vegetable Japanese Curry. Alas! It was no longer on the menu. However, no sooner had I drowned my sorrows in more hot sake the chef had whipped one up off menu and within minutes. It was excellent. All in all the food is very good at Wasabi probably nearly on par with Iketeru at the Hilton or Zipangu at the Shangri-La but the decor lets the overall experience down. However with a chef that clearly has ambitions, excellent service and maybe a face lift in the near future Wasabi is still a commendable establishment. Graham Paling
|Venue name:||Wasabi Bistro||Contact:|
|Opening hours:||Open daily, 12noon-2.30pm, 6pm-10.30pm|