Neighbourhood: Osborne Village
Address: 1-167 Osborne Street
Wakoya is not short on restaurant competition in Osborne Village, but it holds its own. A prime location and vast menu make this a top pick for Japanese cuisine, along with a number of Seoul-food options thrown in by the Korean born chef.
The menu is simple, but the combinations of flavours are anything but. A single page of Korean fare features classics like bulgogi, (‘fire meat’, referring to the open flame cooking method by which it’s prepared) a tender beef and vegetable medley served with rice. In a cuisine where gochujang is as common as salt and pepper, stomach-scalding eats are the norm.
Heartwarming sundubu jjigae combines custardy tofu with pork, egg and vegetables. The comforting stew feels like a hug, with enough peppery kick to keep you from melting away. Amp up the burn with buldak, pan-fried chicken smothered in a chilli-loaded sauce. Soft rice cakes, commonly sold from Korean food stands on street corners, cool the collar with unadorned flavour.
There is no shortage of options, especially for sushi lovers. The Mark’s roll – tempura yam, smoked salmon and cucumber dotted with a mesquite house sauce – reenergizes familiar tastes with pristine presentation.
Though new to the neighbourhood, the year-old Wakoya proves a minimalist conceit: that out of simplicity can come a delicious, memorable meal.
Wakoya is open Mon- Thu 11:30 am – 10 pm, Fri-Sat 11:30 am – 11 pm.