Restaurant review: Wasai Japanese Kitchen, Adelaide

Restaurant review: Wasai Japanese Kitchen, Adelaide

Wasai Japanese Kitchen

(08) 8221 6606
15 Field St
Adelaide, 5000

I’m really quite behind on my posts. I think that’s quite obvious. But I guess better late than never?

It’s hard not to miss Melbourne. I will freely admit that. Melbourne was where I built my life up with my own two hands, where my everything was. And I just find it hard to let that go. But I have to admit and I have to give credit where credit is due. Adelaide isn’t half bad either.

At first glance, the food isn’t quite up to the standard I’m use to in Melbourne. There is a distinct lack of good food in Adelaide while in Melbourne, you could throw a stone and hit a dozen. But it’s the same everywhere: if you just know where to look, you will be able to find gems. And as I later found out during my year going in and out of Adelaide, good food is a treasure you have to hunt for.

Wasai Japan was one of my first meals in my new adopted city. (It may not be where I live, but it’s my nearest big city.) I went along with a high school mate of mine. I was craving, missing Melbourne and add that with the fact that I haven’t seen this high school mate of mine for many years and we were still learning and getting to know each other again….

Let’s just say, I was a big bag of emotions that night. So that might have added to the resulting disappointment at the end of the meal. Perhaps.

Wasai has quite a nice fit out. The place is fairly big, with space for big groups and big tables. It’s definitely popular and if you were hoping to walk-in on a Friday night, think again. Always book. Service was fairly efficient and quick to respond once they notice you. The tricky bit is getting them to notice you on a busy night. They walk at lightning speed, carrying a pyramid of dishes. In fact, a friend who tried her hand at working there said that the standard that they expect their wait staff to adhere to is really quite high. I don’t doubt her.

At first glance, Wasai seems to be working towards impressing their customers visually. Everything is big. Lavish dishes, big bamboo boats laden with sushi passed our tables and it worked. I was impressed.

Their sushi was really quite nice too. Tasty, with the rice to meat ratio just nice. But while nice, they didn’t have a wow factor. It lacked the punch. And I’m not talking about wasabi!

My friend’s tempura dish that I wasn’t attracted to. But it’s not your fault, it’s mine. I’m spoilt from the amazing tempura I’ve tasted at Tempura Hajime. (Then again, TH is under a new chef now, so I’m not even sure if the standard is as before..).

But see, here’s my problem. I can’t help but compare. At that point in time, I was feeling sore about my absence from Melbourne (even if it was self-inflicted, and I love the country, the lack of good food was a huge problem I was still learning to overcome at that point.) So I was silently measuring up Adelaide to Melbourne and Adelaide was constantly coming up short. But that’s not fair. It’s not fair to compare as such. And as I would later learn, every city has her charms. I was just being a Melbourne snob.

This was huge. The bowl was as big as or bigger than my head. I was overwhelmed by the size and underwhelmed by the content. Whether or not I was comparing it to the best sushi I’ve had in Melbourne, there was just nothing wow about this, other than the visual impact. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice enough. But I do have a rather high standard that I expect from Japanese food.

I have to be fair. I can’t compare, and I did stop comparing in subsequent trips. Because you really just can’t do that to yourself. You won’t survive. So would I go back to Wasai? Yes. It was admittedly, quite nice. And even in Melbourne, you have to go through a million duds to get to the perfect Japanese restaurant that fits you just right. So what’s the difference? No difference really.

Adelaide, I’m slowly falling in love with you.

Wasai Japanese Kitchen on Urbanspoon


  1. Scott was going to take me to Wasai for our anniversary dinner but ironically the kitchen was closed on that particular day. I was slightly disappointed but slightly (admittedly) relieved as I always compare Japanese food abroad to Japanese food I have at home and back in Japan. I can’t help but be a snob and sneer at variations done abroad…only to stop myself and wonder where I get off trying to be Japanese when I try so hard not to be!

    I hope you have a better experience at Wasai when you go next! I’ll definitely come along with you if you’ll have me (refer above: snob).

  2. Hopefully there will be better restaurants in Adelaide soon. :)
    Michelle chin recently posted..Review: Gourmet Sandwiches @ Streat, Melbourne Uni.

  3. What mouth watering delicacies here! By seeing these pics my mouth is watering. But before visiting any food restaurant we should have enough knowledge about the food in that place. So, we can plan accordingly and visit the restaurant. Thanks for the review
    Rosalia recently posted..Los alimentos que hacen engordar

  4. Welcome to Adelaide and happy eatings!

    Hopefully you’ll discover a few more gems here that may surpass Melbourne’s standard! ;)

  5. Well they don’t call it Radelaide for nothing :P
    msihua recently posted..HaPpY 500th PoSt !!! – Get checkin’ on your Boobies, as it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

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