For a recent birthday celebration Matt and I lunched at Japanese/Asian restaurant Wagamama at Sylvia Park.
The long community-style tables look as though they encourage relaxed eating, and the menu had enough vegan options to appeal. The service was very quick and friendly, and it was fun watching the cooks with the live flames flaring up behind the tall service bench.
I ordered a warm tofu chilli salad which was described as ‘stir fried tofu, red peppers, mangetout, tender stem broccoli and red onions in a sweet chilli sauce on a bed of baby gem lettuce with the wagamama house dressing. Garnished with cashew nuts, chillies and spring onions’ ($18.50). It looked tasty if insubstantial so I requested a side of brown rice.
The salad tasted as good as it looked, the veges were nicely cooked and still firm, and it did need the rice to give it substance, and to balance out the flavours.Matt had the Kouma Yasai* – ‘deep fried tofu marinated in ginger, garlic and lemongrass, stir-fried with broccoli, zucchini, chillies, red onions, garlic, ginger, mint basil and coriander in chilli oil. Served with steamed jasmine rice and garnished with lime’ ($19.70).
This turned out to be a small topping of veges dominated by zucchini – not his favourite – and while the rice bowl was tasty there was a lot of it in proportion to the veg. A side of leafy greens would have been an extra $7.
While the wait staff continued to be attentive, relaxed eating is not, alas, encouraged. Matt’s empty plate was whipped away well before I had finished, and when I did, my own plate was politely removed within seconds. The message was: don’t linger. Not that the restaurant was busy.
Would I go again? Perhaps, if was was seeking a quick, light meal, but other places give better value for money.
*Yasai or V denote vegetarian options, but not always vegan, so do check if you want egg-free.
It’s World Vegetarian Awareness month this October – why not give a vegetarian meal a try when you’re next out at your favourite cafe?