Replacing the late Fire Wok, Waya is the new addition to the ever changing Kingsway in Glen Waverley. From the outside it looked promising but we were skeptical as prices are on the low side for Japanese food and the menu also is translated into Chinese hinting of the heritage of the owners.Inside, the restaurant is well-lit with simple wooden furnishings that give it a clean feel. Further inside there are 7 comfortable booth seats that can accommodate for 6. It gives a more classy atmosphere and some privacy.
Beef Tataki ($9.50) - Beef sashimi with special vinegar sauce and egg yolkThis dish initially arrived with just the beef and no egg yolk. Upon seeing this we thought it was very strange and asked another waitress regarding this issue. She also looked puzzled and went back into the kitchen. A few moments later she came back with a small bowl with the egg yolk. I wonder if they've been serving this dish without egg yolk for the whole week. The beef was sliced evenly but very small. They used red onion instead of the traditional white onion which overwhelmed the entire dish and there was also lack of vinegar sauce.
Mixed Sashimi ($14) - 15 pieces: 6 salmon, 3 tuna, 3 scallop, 3 surf clamJust by looking at the number of pieces in this dish, it seemed great and very affordable with scallops and surf clam which not many places put in their mixed sashimi dishes. When it came out the first thing we noticed was the absence of wasabi! We had to ask for some which seems utterly strange. Salmon and scallop was fresh, and the surf clam had a nice crunch. The tuna on the other hand was disappointing, mushing in our mouths with every bite indicating it's lower quality in comparison to the other sashimi. What makes this dish less affordable than it sounds is the small cuts of fish.
Waya Maki ($12.50) would be our favourite dish of the night. Great portioning of the rice, filling and sauce and presented beautifully. Their house-made wasabi on the side is more watery than stiff with inconsistent portions and coming out in unappetising appearances. It does however have the appropriate punch of flavour.
Japanese Steamed Egg Limited Availability and not available for take away ($5.50) - Steamed egg with fish cake and mushroomThis is one of their recommended dishes that we found was mediocre. We asked for 2 extra spoons to allow us to share, however they never came so we split it among us and attempted to use chopsticks. To our surprise, the egg was easily grasped illustrating its stiffness. This is not your traditional Japanese steamed egg lacking many ingredients, but I guess for the price and semi-smooth texture, you get what you pay for.
Their sushi plates come in portions of 2 but as we had a company of 3, they would not allow us to get 3 sushi so we had to order 2 plates. Upon first glance of the Salmon Sushi ($5/plate), we knew this was going to be a miss. The cutting of the fish was horrendous:
Grilled salmon sushi($5/plate) was better than their non-grilled counterpart. The fish was cut more consistently but did not save themselves in the taste department. What was puzzling was how the plates for the grilled sushi were freezing cold while the normal sushi sat on a warm plate. Either temperature is not ideal for the sushi rice.
After knowing how fragile the sushi was, we tried to gently pick up the delicate Grilled Scallop Sushi ($5/plate) with our chopsticks. To no prevail, it still fell apart. The scallop was very large and warm in the mouth, however there was no sweet aroma of charred seafood.
Yakitori Don ($11) was actually not half bad. Chicken skewers was charred nicely lying on top of a bed of rice and small corner of salad. The downside was the lack of sauce to go with the dry rice.
Tonkatsu Ramen $11 + $1 upsizeThe ramen upsize came separate to the original ramen with an extra half an egg which would usually cost $0.50 more. The ramen was so soft and overcooked. We were glad they had the tonkatsu separated from the tasteless noodle soup to allow it to remain crispy longer. But the pork was thin and drying.
The 6 little octopus balls was fully covered in fish flakes. The takoyaki ($6.50) had a generous amount of octopus inside each individual and the exterior was a decently crisp.
The ambiance is chill with a hint of finer dining with the comfortable booth seats but the food and service lets them down. Service was slow and our waitress' kept forgetting our requests, water was filled only when asked. The place is likely run by Chinese (as all staff spoke Cantonese) but it has affordable Japanese food which would probably make it popular among students. Just don't expect amazing quality.
Cost: Cheap Eat
Overall dining experience: 5/10