I'm an Adelaide comms professional and I love to share my dining experiences. Although I'm a vego my husband isn't so my reviews often include his meaty meals.
Published January 21st 2012
With one of Adelaide's best chefs recommending Wasai as a great, casual Japanese restaurant, we promptly booked ourselves in to the spacious and simple eatery off Gouger Street.
We knew not to expect anything like Shiki, arguably SA's best Japanese, found within the Intercontinental Hotel, but were impressed with the food nonetheless.
My meat eating husband set his sights on the Tonkatsu he had been recommended for his main (deep fried pork fillet coated in fresh bread crumbs and black sesame served with Japanese BBQ sauce and vegetables), and for myself (the vegetarian), the vegetable sushi roll.
But entrées first. My husband had spider rolls and fried home made dumplings with pork and vegetables while I had the soba noodle salad in a soy dressing. Tick, tick, tick. The sushi was fresh and its tempura soft shell crab still a little crispy, just as it should be. The dumplings were crunchy yet light and full of flavour with a delicious vinegar dipping sauce. The soba noodle salad included tasty, crunchy seaweed, baby spinach, flavourful tomato, perfectly ripe avocado, green olive pieces and red onion (which I usually dislike but loved because it didn't taste like raw onion). The salad was bursting with so much flavour that I couldn't stop eating it despite it being too generous a portion for me.
The vegetable sushi I ordered for my main was okay but lacked flavour. It came with real pickled ginger, not the sweetened pink stuff, and what seemed like packet wasabi from its colour and lack of heat.
My husband's pork fillet was juicy and tender without any fat or gristle with a light and very crispy coating. It's perhaps best described as the rolls royce of pork schnitzels. The highlight of the dish was the Japanese BBQ sauce - reminiscent of the flavour of Hungry Jacks' but obviously much better.
Service was very quick and the staff were keen and attentive. Complimentary edamame beans were a nice touch. The disposable wooden chopsticks should be upgraded to restaurant quality versions but the prices are so reasonable that perhaps this is the trade off.
It's not quite as good as Matsuri further up Gouger, but we'll definitely return to sample more of the menu.