The slightly last minute choice to do Cracker at all this month, and the choice of venue, seemed to work out well. Wasabi (official site, @ eat out, @ dining-out) in Constantia Village was great. I’m trying to keep Japanese-ish themes for my picks and not (just) sushi joints as I realise that not all the Crackers love sushi as much as I do :-). We also had a special guest star: Jess Ma!
We had a great waiter – Darren, IIRC – who employed Surfer Zen to deal with the a-bit-mad shenanigans of our table with dignity and aplomb. He was pleasant, attentive, and friendly without being intrusive – a difficult combo to get right. Also, he said Bru a lot, which was schweet :). We gave a healthy tip on the bill, which he richly deserved.
The restaurant is technically in a mall, but it’s not in the main building. There’s a satellite mini-mall thing with a few shops and a few restaurants, with much of it open to the sky (a la Willowbridge, my favourite shopping centre that’s nothing like a shopping centre, where Jo and I often go and nosh when I’m at her offices). The place was bustling but not crowded, and it felt like we had our own space, despite the fact there were a couple of table around us.
For starters, we shared a bunch of Dim Sum and related type things – lamb gyoza, chicken siu mai, prawn har gau, duck spring rolls, some tempura prawns and a Thai beef salad. The actual dim sum ones were well made (and all aufentic and stuff), and were pleasant enough, but not massively tasty. The lamb gyoza were tasty, but unlike any other gyoza I’ve had before – bit dry. The duck spring rolls were great, but the winner for me was the Thai beef salad – the sweet chilli and stuff sauce was divine and the beef was just cooked enough.
The food was a bit slow between starters and mains, but our waiter was good with the wine refills (and the jugs of tap water), so it wasn’t too bad.
For main course the table had Tuna Steak (Jo (seared (the Tuna, no the Jo) and Eck), Crispy Duck (Jess), Grilled Linefish [panga] (Jill), Steamed Salmon (me). Jo’s Tuna came out cooked, not seared, so she sent it back. No questioning from the staff, no quibbling, just apologies and a quick turn around for the replacement choona, which was fantastic. The duck was, as expected, superb – crunchy, crispy, pancakey. The Panga was very tasty – good fish! Winner for me was my salmon (tra la la) which was soft, tasty, and had a delicious delicate sauce – salty, slightly sweet.
Somehow dessert was managed by some of the table. Eck had the restaurant’s signature Peppermint Zen (a big glass of layered peppermint and caramel bits), Jess had Three Lindt Ball Eruption (no sniggering at the back!), Jo had the Sorbet Threesome (no sniggering at the back!) which Jill and I kindly helped with (no sni- um …). The Zen was great, but large – Eck fought bravely, though, and made it to the end. The Balls were good – chocolatey and appropriately messy. The sorbet was very refreshing and unusually flavoured.
I only took a flying glance at their sushi menu as I didn’t want to be tempted, but it looks like they’ve got some interesting stuff, so Jo and I will be returning for raw fish and rice soon.
Using the work-in-progress Salty Cracker Scores On The Doors Restaurant Ranking System ™ (or SCSOTDRRS for short):
Atmosphere: 7 / 10
Staff: 9 / 10
Service: 7 / 10
Food: 7 / 10
Value for money: 6 / 10