Wasabi Review, All London
There’s two pseudo-Japanese cafe chains that you’ll get used to seeing lots of in London. One is Itsu, and the second is Wasabi. There’s not too much difference between them other than Itsu going for more of a health angle. Wasabi was first opened in 2013 as a single store establishment in Embankment by Dong Hyun Kim. There’s over fifty stores all across London now (or more) and even more to arrive all over the world.
The secret of the concept is variety. This ensures that everyone can grab something pertaining to their appetite or their mood, as well as encouraging a repeat visit within the same week. Everything is all ready (bar some of the hot food in some of the locations) so you can also be in and out within minutes. It’s a staple of the corporate lunchtime to be able to pick up your meal in such a frenzy.
Don’t be too excited, nothing here is ever too great. But it is -just- good enough. The cold options don’t usually disappoint whilst the heated meals are hit and miss. Some of the curries are alright but the chicken is never crispy or crunchy as it’s been sitting there getting the sog level up. They have some new items from time to time, including the rice salad bowl as pictured above. This is okay, but the meat tastes like kebab meat and when it’s served cold it borders a level of stodgy.
If there’s one section of Wasabi that I do recommend, it’s the sushi. The vegetarian pack as pictured above has a colourful and delightful variety. Inari, tamago, edamame beans and enough hand rolls to call this a meal. It’s the closest thing to getting back to the bespoke selections that we enjoy back home in Australia and New Zealand at places like Sushi Hub and Umi Sushi.
Some Wasabi stores have the hot food all ready to go in pots for you, whilst others have them in bain maries and whip them up on order. The end result ends up pretty much the same. Above is the teriyaki chicken with a bed of noodles. Other options include permutations of katsu curry/ tofu and rice. There are three points of difference for Wasabi according to the founder. One is value for money, two, big portions and three, great taste that is suited to the Western palate. I’d agree with two of those.