Wasabisabi – new £10 set menu

A few weeks ago, I was invited along to try out Wasabisabi‘s new Tuesday £10 set menu, which has launched to mark the London Road institution’s 10th birthday.

For reasons I am unsure of, I’d somehow not been to Wasabisabi for five years (though to be fair I wasn’t living in Sheffield on my last visit and only moved back two years ago). A trip for a friend’s birthday last year clashed with my honeymoon. It’s too far from my office for impromptu lunches. But, going again recently was a reminder of much I like the place and I’m not going to leave it anything like so long before visiting again.

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I was joined for the evening by the lovely Clare from Feast & Glory and Chris from Easy Moshi, Sheffield’s Chinese-language guide aimed at students. Normally, to enjoy the £10 set menu, you’d need to be in a group of four, but we were allowed to bend the rules as guests of the restaurant.

We spent some time chatting about impressions of Sheffield and our favourite Chinese and Japanese restaurants. I enjoyed taking in all the Sheffield sights on the quirky placemats:

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We started with miso soup, which I’ve not bothered showing you a photo of (because it never actually looks that appetising), but I promise it was delicious and flavoursome, with a good number of little chunks of tofu in it.

Then it was onto the starter platter to share. This comprised of yasai gyoza (veggie dumplings), butaniku gyoza (pork and veg dumplings), cucumber rolls, avocado rolls and spring rolls. As you can see from the pic, it was plenty.

Starter platter to share.
Starter platter to share.

I would have liked the dumplings to be a bit warmer, and I would also have welcomed some wasabi to mix with my soy sauce for dipping (especially given the restaurant’s name). That aside, this was a good-value starter which made the price tag seem like a good deal.

For the main course, it was a choice between soups or fried rice. Soup-wise, there was Wasabisabi’s special ramen or udon soup (featuring prawn tempura, boiled egg, prawns, chicken and tofu), chicken ramen or udon soup and veggie ramen or udon soup. There were also three varieties of fried rice- chicken, beef or vegetable. I ordered the beef fried rice and my companions each ordered a soup.

The fried rice came and, despite not looking like much, it was pretty tasty and warm. I would have liked it to be spicier, or have had something available on the table to add some heat to the dish.

Beef fried rice.
Beef fried rice.

That said, there was plenty of beef in it and the meat was nicely cooked and not overdone, as is sometimes the case in fried rice dishes.

I decided to stretch beyond the set menu and ordered myself Wasabisabi’s renowned pancake and ice cream (it was Shrove Tuesday, after all). They brought it out with a little pan of Cointreau, which was set alight before being poured over my pancake.

Pancake and ice cream, served with flaming Cointreau.
Pancake and ice cream, served with flaming Cointreau.

I do love a bit of theatre in a restaurant. And Wasabisabi certainly know how to do theatre- a night in their teppanyaki room shows this at its best.

I left Wasabisabi full and fairly content (probably the two glasses of wine), and went for a nightcap with Clare to talk about Sheffield’s independent restaurant scene and what we might be able to do to help.

All in all, with a few little tweaks, the £10 set menu is a good deal from a great Japanese restaurant. I don’t think it shows Wasabisabi at its best- their sushi and teppanyaki are worth paying for- but for a cheap midweek meal it will do a job. I can see it being popular with students. Personally, I’d struggle to get a group of four together for dinner out on a Tuesday (the only night this set menu is available).

My night out was a good prompt though to remind me of what a great place Wasabisabi is- for anywhere to survive ten years is worth celebrating and is proof they’re doing something right. I shall be back soon, though probably not for the set menu.

Wasabisabi can be found at 227A London Road, Sheffield, S2 4NF. You can check out their menu on their website (but the set menu’s not made its way on there yet).

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