I am a freelance reviewer in Sydney, and lover of sharing my experiences in all things food, wine, entertainment and travel related.
Published October 18th 2012
High Tech Japanese Cuisine
If you are a fan of good dining and technology or are looking for a kooky 21st century dining experience, Sydney's Wagaya Japanese restaurant is the place to be.
Wagaya is one of the first Japanese restaurants in Australia to use a computerised touch screen system for ordering. First time diners and regulars are lured in by the novelty of ordering by touch screen, which is a fun and very effective way to order at this futuristic restaurant.
Patrons simply order their food and drinks electronically, before a waitress magically appears at the table to deliver the goods lightning fast, with no chance of miscommunication.
The whole concept and feel of this restaurant is progressive, unique and very Japanese. The décor is dark and moody while contemporary. It features polished timber floors and walls, booths and larger private dining rooms with low lying tables and floor cushions, in addition to walls fitted with modern in-wall touch screen computers. In fact, the experience at this restaurant makes one feel as though they are all the way across the world in Tokyo.
Well known for their modern spin on Japanese dining, this clever self-ordering system is innovative and efficient, and a god-send for diners who are out in a group, or those looking to catch up over a nice Japanese meal, without any interruptions.
We have plenty of fun having a go on the touch screen computer which has the whole food and drinks menu available, and categorised very well so that it is easy to find online. You can order as you please to your stomach's content, without any pressure from the wait-staff.
Most of the servings are plated in platters which are designed to share – much like Japanese Tapas, so our table orders a large variety of dishes including Takoyaki, assorted sashimi and sushi rolls, Yakitori and other assortments which are too long to list.
Ordering via computer can be dangerous, especially if you have over eager fingers, hollow legs, or have a burgeoning appetite for many jugs of Sapporo, which all could add to leaving you with an unexpectedly high bill at the end. Although, it is possible to see your bill total from the computerised screen, at any given time during your dining experience.
Not only is everything a few finger jabs away, you can also add some highlight and humour to your night by taking part in the Sushi Roulette experience, which isn't spending the night with the Yakuza.
Instead, it is a challenge which involves ordering the Sushi Roulette dish. The dish is a platter of six pieces of salmon sushi. However, one piece is a land mine - baited with enough Wasabi to blow the nappy off a sumo wrestler and send fellow diners into a laughing fit. Not a fan of Wasabi, I pass on this opportunity, but it seems to be a popular experience for other diners here.
The restaurant has a full selection of beers, wines cocktails and spirits, but offers BYO for wine. Dishes are priced from $5 - $22, which is very reasonable, and the restaurant is open daily from 5pm until 2am – just in case you are after a midnight feast.
Without a booking you can be expected to wait for a table, but the lines generally move quickly, while bigger groups can book a private room, some with the luxury of Karaoke!