Ok, so our friend Chris told us about a restaurant where you order from a touch screen. What a novelty, maybe someday it'll be served from a conveyor belt with a touch screen and we wouldn't have to interact with a human!
After work, we decided to all meet up at Wagaya in Chinatown. The restaurant's signage was just around the corner from market city next to Ramen Kan. I stood outside thinking this little nook filled with garbage can't possibly be Wagaya. So I walked another ten metres and found the entrance proper. What a silly place to put a sign!
We started off by ordering some drinks. Chris had a beer, Betty & Ann had cocktails and I ordered a sake. I thought the sake would be the same as the other restaurants where it's a little 120ml ceramic bottle. I was so wrong. It turned out to be a very round bottle compared to the skinny bottles found elsewhere. This got me a little tipsy and sleepy. Ah good times :)
We all had a bit of a play around with the touchscreen and realised the stylus on my HTC Touch HD phone worked quite well with the screen as opposed to my finger. After playing around with the screen longer, I realised my knuckled worked even better than the stylus. Awesome.
We ordered some edamame, seaweed salad, agedashi tofu, tempura cheese, gyoza, a spider hand roll, scallop sushi, salmon sushi roulette, tempura eel, renkon chips, kimuchi fried rice, salmon sashimi and lastly seafood sticks. That was a massive amount of food for just the four of us but it didn't end up being too pricey.
As many of you know, edamame is our favourite starter at japanese restaurants. You can never go wrong with edamame, it's salt crystals make the young soy beens so delicious. I wish I had some right now *salivates*.
The agedashi tofu had a nice crispy tempura batter on the outside and the tofu inside was piping hot. I had to be a little careful eating this, but I took a whole piece anyways, drenched it in the sauce and was in tofu heaven.
The tempura cheese I skipped because I'm on a detox with no dairy allowed. Such a shame. But from what i saw, it was pretty damn good because Betty ordered another serving for herself hehe. But like, how can you go wrong with deep fried cheese right??
The gyoza was served on a plate with the sauce on the side. The saltiness of the sauce complimented the pork filling quite well. If I could have, I would have eaten the lot. I also liked the way the skin was pan fried until it was crispy on one side.
Chris Had the spider hand roll to himself, so I can't comment on that. Although it did look quite well made and the soft shell crab inside looked crunchy :)
Next up was the scallop sushi. The scallop on top was slightly seared with a blow torch, it had a slightly burnt taste (in a good way) and the scallop flesh was quite sweet.
The funniest part of the night was when the salmon sushi roulette was served. We all had a feeling that Ann would be the one to get it and on the first round, she got it straight away. Her face went all squished up, Chris and I were laughing pretty hard when we saw her cheat and still end up with the wasabi bomb HAHA!
After we recovered from the hilarity of the situation, we had some tempura eel. It wasn't quite what I was expecting since I usually have teriyaki eel. The batter wasn't too crispy, but it was still tasty. The skin of the eel was a little tough, almost like having a really rubbery mozzarella string when biting into a pizza. The flavour overall was pretty average.
Now onto the highlight of this culinary / technological experience. The renkon chips were awesome. Move over potatos, the lotus roots rule supreme now. I reckon they taste better than potato chips by a long mile. The drizzled sauce sweetened the renkon chips much like when you have taro chips in cabramatta and they drizzle honey on top. Although, this is not as sweet as honey it was still quite good. I'm salivating just thinking about it now...
The kimuchi fried rice was served in a hot ceramic bowl on a wooden platter. The bowl was hot enough to make a crunchy crust of kimuchi fried rice at the bottom. That was definately the best part of this dish. It wasn't too spicey or salty or sweet. The flavours were nicely in balance and the added crunchyness of the crust was excellent.
At the end we were really really full. The seafood sticks reminded me of the stuff you can get at strathfield at the takeaway places. It was covered in cheese and a little mayo. The seafood sticks were the usual affair. I don't think anyone actually makes them in house. It tasted pretty much like the ones you get at strathfield, except they're smothered with melted cheese. Enough to give you an instant heart attack.
The touchscreen was quite a novelty but the novelty wore off towards the end of the night when we were full and couldn't bring ourselves to order any more food. The thing I liked about this system is the billing. We can check our bill any time throughout the night and rein in our trigger happy fingers (knuckles). I liked the idea of the touch screen since it automated and made the service quite efficient. It also took away the language barrier! Overall I'd say the food is above average, but it doesn't beat ben bu in terms of taste.