Restaurant review: Wabi, Holborn, WC2
- Credit: Archant
With a former Nobu head chef at the helm, Wabi is the latest upmarket Japanese eatery to hit the capital’s food circuit – and naturally has the high expectations of the global restaurant brand to live up to.
Despite being nestled underground in a rather drab and quiet corner of Holborn, the interior is a sleek, minimalist and glamorous affair – with soft lighting and a buzzy atmosphere on the Saturday night we visited.
Having been overwhelmed with the vast array of choice on the a la carte menu, we opted for the 10-course Kaiseki tasting menu which showcases the talents of Scott Hallsworth’s kitchen in all its glory – with theatrical presentation given as much thought as the taste.
The culinary journey started with some snacks of fire roasted edamame beans, delicious smoky pork scratchings and a wasabi dip. Then crunchy Tamaki cones filled with toro (tuna) arrived with a wasabi cream and charcoal onion topping on the side allowing us to create our own mini savoury ice-cream cones – fun and tasty.
The sea bass and yellowtail sashimi were delicate and fresh, and the warm loch duart salmon with lemon miso was hidden under a piece of blow torched cedar wood – creating a magnificent oaky taste.
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But, for me, the courses of lobster and chips and wagu steak ishi-yaki were vying for the evening’s starring role. The lobster was soft and buttery, served with a yuzu-truffle egg dip, which complemented the fish perfectly, and the vegetable chips created a welcome crunchy dimension to the textures of the dish.
Meanwhile the steak arrived at our table on a sizzling plate with the meat cooked to perfection in a BBQ sauce, bursting with tangy, smoky flavours.
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The desserts of calpico sorbet with slow gin jelly and wabi-style tiramisu did not disappoint, either.
Our sommelier served wines to match each course, with the pinot noir from New Zealand bursting with rich flavours forming a particular highlight. The cocktails which were brought to our table at the end of the meal were also a highlight.
Wabi provides top notch food in a glamorous setting, but if you choose the tasting menu – despite its price tag – you’re opting for an experience, and one which comes highly recommended.