Address: 460 Cleveland street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
The best thing about Wafu is the food. The worst thing? You may never even get to try it! Wafu is a delightfully cosy eatery in Surry Hills but if it’s a traditional dining experience you’re after, you won’t find it here. Not all the food is vegan but there is an extensive menu with plenty of vegan options and Monday is vegan night.
Getting through the door is your first challenge, Yukako is the owner, chef, waitress and maitre d so she’s a very busy lady! As a result, the rule as it stands is that only members and their guests may dine there. So how do you become a member? You have to be invited by a member (only two guests can dine with any one member at a time) and upon following all of the guidelines you may be asked by Yukako to join the Wafu club.
Guidelines?! Ahhhh, the guidelines! Yukako says on the Wafu website “We advocate respect for food, waste prevention and doing what is best for the environment. Help us to do what we can to shape our future!” In order to respect this ethos, Yukako expects the following;
- Do not waste food. At Wafu you are encouraged to share with the people you’re dining with and order the right amount for your appetite. You can always ask for smaller serves and my tip is to order the minimum of what you think you’d like, if it’s not enough Yukako is always happy to make you more! You’re also encouraged to take a small container with you in case you cannot finish your meal. Your reward for cleaning your plate (garnish and all) is a hefty discount on your bill, your failure to do so may result in being excluded from the Wafu club altogether.
- Do not waste containers. Don’t walk into Wafu thinking you can take in a plastic container you just bought “this just goes to show you want a quick fix and haven’t thought much about waste prevention”. Yukako recommends either taking in your own plate or tupperware style containers that can be used over and over again.
Now, this all may seem a little funny but when you see how passionate Yukako is about her cause you will surely understand. Now you know a little bit about Wafu, how about the food?
What I Ate
The Entrée & The Main – $32.30 (if you eat it all it’s $22.50 – hefty discount right there!)
This miso soup is sooooOOOOoooo tasty. Sometimes the recipe differs depending on season, often you’ll find a little surprise like turnip thrown into the mix. Amazing.
Yasai Itame (Stir-Fried Vegetables with Kikuimo)
Yep, this stuff is dope. Everything is made fresh and you can definitely taste the difference. The vegetables are cooked to perfection and the kikuimo (Jerusalem artichoke) has a wonderful texture.
Age Harumaki (Deep Fried Spring Rolls)
Even though these are deep fried, they still taste remarkably fresh and healthy. Packed with super tasty vegetables and wrapped in a thin layer of pastry, these were probably my favourite dish.
Ohitashi Greens (Blanched Greens with Tofu and Sesame)
Oh. My. God. These greens are bannnnginnng! They’re cooked delightfully and the tofu and sesame topping is perfect. Did I say the spring rolls were my fave? I changed my mind.
Kyono Kobachi (Nimono Pumpkin)
I had to Google what nimono meant, but it doesn’t make the dish any less tasty! It means stewed for anybody who is curious. A very simple yet hearty dish.
Azuki Gohan (Brown Rice with Azuki Beans and Buckwheat)
I’m not the biggest rice eater, so if you’re worried about not being able to finish, this is the thing to leave off. In saying that though, brown rice is my favourite rice and the azuki beans and buckwheat add an interesting element of flavour.
Kounomono (Pickled Vegetable and Konbu Tsukudani)
Admittedly some more Googling transpired here. A Tsukudani is something that has been simmered in soy sauce and mirin, wicked! I am a sucker for anything pickled and this does have a very interesting taste. Not for everyone but certainly give it a go.
TOO FULL! There are desserts available though.
I really enjoy the whole experience of Wafu. The sheer excitement I felt when being accepted into the exclusive club could be perceived as silly but I don’t really care. On paper, Yukako may seem a bit of a hard taskmaster but she is actually a really lovely woman who always loves to have a chat. Because she doesn’t have as many customers as your normal restaurant, she remembers you and her passion is evident in the food she makes. The food itself is fresh, homestyle Japanese cooking that is really hard to find. If you can get your hands on a member, make sure they take you!