IRASHAIMASE! .... echoed from all corners of Watami as we stepped into the establishment.
A pretty standard greeting at any Japanese type restaurant, but Watami is anything BUT the standard Japanese place with the standard menu of bentos, sashimis and miso soups.
This is an establishment fusioned with influences from Japan (of course, duh), Korea, Taiwan and Hongkong. (You will find out in a moment when I introduce the dishes we'd got to sample).
Based on the Japanese Izakaya ("I" : to stay, "sakaya" : sake shop) concept where one hangs out with friends and colleagues for drinks and to graze on little portions of good quality food, drink some more, graze some more and have a comfortable, cosy and relaxing time, enveloped in a happy, tipsy haze.
Watami is a larger scale of the Izakaya (with less emphasis on the alcohol) while keeping up with the changing times and thus came up with their trademark Ishokuya concept - "I" : scene, "shoku" : meal, "ya" : restaurant.
Coming here, one has to leave behind the expectations of a typical Japanese restaurant and get absorbed into this younger, hipper and a more nouveau-japanese environment.
Let me take you on a little tour of some of Watami's recommendations ...
L to R: Green Citrus Green Tea, Kiwi Mojito (I was very tempted to order a mojito with the "extra" but I thought I'd better behave myself this time and get my review in first), Green Citrus Yuzu Marmalade Soda and Purple Sweet Potato Vanilla Shake.
My Kiwi Mojito was nice and refreshing. The Green Citrus Green Tea was, um .... green. The Yuzu drink had so many calamansi limes in it, it may as well be limau ais soda ... didn't taste anything of the marmalade. The Purple Sweet Potato Shake ... well, I guess it takes an acquired taste to appreciate that. Personally, I thought it tasted like melted ice cream potong.
Wafu Touban Gyu Steak : RM 27.90
(Self Grilled Beef Short Ribs)
This is to die for ... well, maybe not that drastic, but it's pretty good beef (provided you don't turn it into carbon but you can always get some help from the staff to cook it for you if you're really that inept).
Bariuma Teba Karaage : RM 14.90
(Crispy Fried Chicken Wings with Special Sauce)
Nice and crispy, but special sauce? ... tasted like terriyaki.
Kani Tappuri Cream Croquette : RM 15.90 (2 pcs)
(Crabmeat Cream Croquette)
Now this, I would have again. The filling was perfect, not overly creamy to make you "jelak" (cloyingly rich) and not "kedekut" (miserly) either. Very nice!
Teppan Bo Gyoza : RM 15.90
(Gyoza/potstickers on Hot Pan)
Pretty standard stuff. Since this place doesn't serve pork, the filling was made with chicken. But this didn't come out of a frozen package, they make their own gyozas.
Salmon Sashimi Don : RM 22.90
(Salmon Sashimi Rice)
I love sashimi. Give me good salmon and I'm sold!
Kani Kamameshi : RM 24.90
(Crab Meat Pot Rice)
This came with a bit of a flair .... lit tea candle underneath and not allowed to lift the lid until the flame goes out, we were told, or all the "magic" goes away. Hmm ... that got my expectations way high. And when we finally got to lift the lid, okaaaay, lots of crab meat, kudos for that but .... I thought it was a little fishy. Forgive me if I'm a little fussy about my seafood. I'm from Penang, where there's nothing BUT fresh seafood. I'm thinking this has the potential to be one of their better selling items.
Tokyo Gyudon : RM 22.90
(Beef Rice Bowl with Hot Spring Egg in Tokyo style)
I'm a red meat person and a runny yolk lover. So this combination ..... I could eat this everyday ... seriously!
Chawan Mushi : RM 6.90
(Steamed Savoury Egg Custard)
This is one item that I must have as a gauge as to how good a Japanese restaurant is. (Bear with me, don't roll your eyeballs). Believe me, I've been to so-called fancier places and had chawan mushis that can literally bounce on floors or swimming in a layer of water or with the egg all curdled and lumpy. And they have the gall to serve those! Cheez!
I'm pleased to say, I'm happy with my chawan mushi here. Nice and silky with a good flavor you know isn't all chicken stock. Delicious!
Choco Banana in Toast Box : RM 16.90
(do you really need a translation?!)
I have to admit, that after all that food, I really can't give this the credit it's due. All that bread? Perhaps, if one were to drop in between shopping to reenergize and have a cuppa and a breather, rest your aching feet and gossip with friends, this would be a good item to share. Filled with some choice fruits (mango, red currants, strawberries, scoop of vanilla ice cream, dollop of whipped cream, drizzled with chocolate and a dusting of powdered sugar. I don't know about reenergizing, but it's enough to make me hyper!
Folks with a sweet tooth .... it's all yours for the picking!
Arigato gozaimasu, for the invite and to Miss Pei Jin (Group Marketing Executive) and Mr Seal (Outlet Manager @ Paradigm Mall)
For more of their menu and other outlets, check out their website
Restaurant Review Disclaimer:
This review is of my own opinion. I am under no contract or obligation to write a review or to make it a positive one if I did.
I write my honest opinions and will tell you quickly if a product is not up to my standards. Anything I dislike may not be what you dislike (I can't help it if you have bad taste ... haha). My reviews are for entertainment purposes only. I am not a professional in the field and am not providing professional advice or anything of the sort.
Read at your own risk.