Wawa Dining is a newly opened, fully licensed Japanese Izakaya style restaurant at the Golden Tulip in Barsha. Its main difference with other similar restaurants like Fujiya and Kimura-ya is that it has a distinct Korean twist. And that’s because Korean Chef Shim is in the kitchen – yeay! One can enter the restaurant from the main road (behind the giant Novotel on Sheikh Zayed Road) or from the hotel lobby. Free parking is available courtesy of the hotel’s underground parking. The restaurant’s interior is something of a Japanese over-kill with Japanese paintings, lanterns, windows and copious amounts of cherry blossom leaving you in no doubt of its origins. There is a quaint little bar beside the kitchen which displays an assortment of Japanese whiskeys and saki. They have even managed to squeeze in two private dining rooms.
It turned out that the prettiest in our group of three knew the chef. We took the opportunity to meet him and also to ask what he recommended. He started us with a Maki Roll followed by one of his specials – Bulgogi Spicy Miso Ramen. We then shared an Angry Chicken Combo before going on to the excellent Sapporo Steak, perfectly cooked medium rare. It was easily the star of our meal. Although the noodles were slightly overcooked, I enjoyed the ramen too. I’m not a fan of maki rolls preferring more classic sushi. I nibbled on one. The angry chicken was good but far from great. Chef Shim sent us a complimentary sampler platter of their ice creams to end our meal with. Judging by how well they cooked their meat, if went back I would probably order a ramen top with seared slices of steak.
Our table was attended to by a cheerful young Korean girl, the only staff member we saw (other than the chef). She did a splendid job, but I think they will need to bring on people as things pick up. And I’m sure things will (pick up) because this little restaurant has all the right criteria, starting with pretty decent food. I, for one, will definitely go back.
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Xerxes (pronounced Zûrk’seez) physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join his culinary journey on Instagram: @ravenousxerxes or reach out to him via email on email@example.com.