Wagaya Tapas Review

It’s a brave new world out there, even when you’re in a backstreet suburban restaurant ordering your meal.

Dining in a tucked-away upstairs Japanese restaurant in Newtown last week my companion and I were faced with a brightly coloured tablet-like touch-screen, instead of the rather old-hat menu-and-waiter combination. You want noodles? Just touch the noodle menu and scroll through the options: udon, ramen, etcetera. Run out of water half-way through dinner? Just touch the glass of water on the screen and bingo! It arrives within seconds.

The restaurant was clean and efficiently run, the food came quickly, and the booth arrangement means you can actually have conversation, which is a novelty in Newtown. The meal was good, but not so good if you’re a wine lover. The wine list was the briefest, most basic, indeed the poorest I’ve seen in many years. It didn’t rise above Jacob’s Creek level.

We wouldn’t have had alcohol at all if I hadn’t spotted a sake that I recognized (that itself is a miracle). It happens that I visited the Tamanohikari brewery in Kyoto in 2006, and it produces great sake. This one was a junmai daiginjo, so expensive, but when it’s a choice of tap-water or $80 sake, I’ll go the sake. We were not disappointed.

Wagaya Tapas, 1st floor, 239 King St, Newtown. 

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