I don’t often head out for sushi. I’ve been a few times before but truth be told I’m not a massive fan of sushi with the seaweed on the outside. I find it can have quite a strong flavour. But I know now from the few times I have been out for a sushi lunch or dinner, that there are other styles of sushi that don’t have the seaweed on the outside. It was a total revelation for me :) There’s delicate nigiri and lovely crispy tempura and those beautiful and addictive Edamame beans – pop, pop, pop go the pods. So you can imagine my delight when I noticed on Facebook that in my fair city a new sushi place had opened, which boasted an impressive 62 metre sushi train! Toot toot, all aboard! I’d already put it on my Perth places I want to eat wish list and then by chance I received an email from their PR company asking if I would be keen to head along for a visit. Would I? Yes please :) And all the more so, as I started looking through the menu and spied a whole list of things I was keen to try!
Sushi WAWA is the brainchild of Lee Hayes, a mother of three who had the dream of opening her own sushi restaurant that was affordably priced, friendly and served up delicious, fresh sushi. It is a lovely bright and airy venue with the majority of tables positioned around the main kitchen area. This means you can keep an eye on all the action as the sushi is assembled before it appears on the train, which loops throughout the restaurant.
When we arrived, GG and I were shown to a high-backed booth, which provided a very cosy seating option. You really felt like you had the place to yourself, despite knowing that more and more folks were wandering inside. And you knew they were because every time someone walks inside the friendly staff all say “Irasshaimase” to you, which is a traditional Japanese welcome. I actually enjoyed hearing it throughout the restaurant as more and more tables were filled with eager diners.
Now as we found out, it is actually BYO at Sushi WAWA for the bargain price of $2pp corkage. We hadn’t realised this and it was just after 11 on a Sunday so we were content to just enjoy some green tea. We sipped on our tea and became mesmerised with all the dishes rolling past on the train.
A helpful picture on the wall explained the price of each plate. You just help yourself and then when you are ready for the bill a waitress will tally up the coloured plates on a docket for you and you take that up to the till. Easy peasy!
So what did we try:
- Raw Salmon Nigiri
- Chicken Katsu, Salad Tonkatsu Sauce
- Spring Roll
- Raw Tuna Nigiri
- Popcorn Prawn
- Tempura Prawn
Hard to pick a favourite amongst them…. Though the chicken katsu was entirely magic and beetroot in sushi, forget about it, just amazing and so well matched the creamy cream cheese and crunchy cucumber and the raw salmon and tuna nigiri was melt in the mouth perfect. I was actually so excited when we scored a plate of tuna nigiri off the train that I gobbled it down before I’d remembered to take a picture, but trust me it looked the goods and tasted even better. Then there were the popcorn prawns, in their delicious creamy sauce, and tempura prawns, total crispy perfection… wait what was I saying?…. Pick a favourite, I loved just everything J Ok, ok I say we liked everything but I’ll be honest. We picked one plate that we had thought was chicken and it turned out to be eel. I wasn’t even brave enough to try it but GG did and yeah, as it turns out we aren’t eel fans. But that’s not a reflection on the chef’s eel cooking skills, just that it may be a more acquired taste :)
All the seafood was incredibly fresh, the veg had plenty of crunch and everything presented so beautifully! They was clearly a bunch of pro sushi makers in the kitchen. You could see the expertise at each station. And reading through their profiles it’s clear to see that they have rounded up an impressive line-up of talent at Sushi WAWA. Head Chef Hiroaki Fujioka has cooked for a swag of celebrities and had a stint at Nobu at Crown. Joining him is George Yamahara who previously opened his own sushi restaurant, Tak’E Sushi,and has worked at Satsuki in Subi. Also in the kitchen, Mitsunori Nishida has had plenty of experience at Jaws and Hidenori Otani has worked at Rockpool at Crown Perth, Yuzu Kaiten Sushi and also Jaws. It was great to see these sushi superstars at work. It is such precise work and they all float through the kitchen with such practised and artful efficiency.
Needless to say after working our way through this line up of dishes we were feeling fairly comfortable. I really enjoyed our first visit and by the time we left the place was full. Yes it’s a solid choice for a bite before/after exploring Ikea but I would say that heading here on the nights they are open for dinner would be well worth the drive. And I’d go so far as to say that battling the weekend car parks to call in for some lunch would also be well worth the effort. It’s proving to be a popular new addition to the Perth foodie scene and from the kids to students to ladies lunching, it’s a place I’d say is worthwhile putting on your ‘to visit’ list sooner rather than later.
My thanks to Jewel PR and to the team from Sushi WAWA for the invitation along for lunch. You’ll be seeing me again soon!