Wasshoi opened since September last year inside the infamous, bustling Prahran Market. By the looks of things, the locals are loving the new addition. All the seats are taken by lunch time and your nose is engulfed by the aroma onslaught of grilled pork belly, hamburgers and chicken. I can’t even finish that sentence without drooling. Already impressed, I was made aware by my lunchtime compatriot (Shoutout to King-san) there was more to this humble abode than it’s charcoal-wafting exterior. Curious, I did some digging maybe even some National Treasure-esque type research but no where near as handsome as Nicholas Cage.
The head chef of Wasshoi is a man by the name of Ikuei Arakane or Kin-san within inner circles. Kin-san is a man of pedigree having helmed, ‘The Glass House’ in Hobart (where it won the Tasmanian Best Seafood Restaurant of Year in 2015) and having worked in Taxi Dining Restaurant. But here’s the kicker. Kin-san was a regular guest on the Japanese show… Iron Chef and has even hosted the Japan vs. Australia version. That’s right, the Iron Chef.
Everyone, I think we have found the Senpai of all Senpais.
Squad: Phong-san & King-san
Iron Chef and awesome culinary credentials a side, the meat at Wasshoi is superb. From the chicken, pork belly and hamburger – everything is cooked to a charcoal-ly, smokey perfection. The chicken and pork belly from what I could see was cooked first in a steam cooker (possibly sou vide?) and grilled until the marinades caramelise. Chuck the protein in a tiger roll or on top of some rice, kimchi, salad and you’re half way there.
One cannot simply eat at Wasshoi without washing everything down with their housemade Yuzu juice. What the heck is Yuzu though? It’s a hybrid citrus fruit between the Mandarin and the Ichang Papeda, or so Wikipedia tells me. In terms of flavour, imagine a chilled lemon juice that has a mild citrus kick that isn’t too sweet and a bit watery, but in a good way. Long story short, it’s a thirst quencher to it’s very core.
That grilled pork belly is hands down one of the best pork bellies’ I have had the pleasure of eating. It gives way almost instantly and you can taste the sticky teriyaki-esque flavour that made it hard for me to leave anything in the bowl. And this was after our pig out session at Mr. Bratwurst! Definitely do yourself a favour and try the pork belly here people!
4.5 moustaches out of 5