Wacha: a cute new Japanese boutique and restaurant

Posted on February 4, 2007 by Aun

My wife S and I have realized, over the years, that we eat more Japanese food than any other cuisine when dining out. While we have perennial favourites (like Tatsuya, Nanjya Monjya, Kandagawa, and Shunjuu), we’re always thrilled to discover a new and noteworthy Japanese restaurant. Last week, after visiting a friend’s shop, we spied an interesting new business across the street. Sauntering over, we were quite excited by what we discovered. Wacha is part shop, part restaurant. The front half of the space is a boutique specializing in Japanese lacquer and porcelain. In the corner of this room is a small dining counter with a half-dozen chairs. Wacha’s second room contains a small, lovely and bright tea and sake salon. There are two tables which can comfortably seat four persons each. In addition, there is a small basement room with additional porcelain and lacquer pieces plus one little table, also for four.

Wacha’s menu is very small but very reasonably priced. In addition to the à la carte items, there is also a daily tasting menu available. And at just S$30 for five courses, it’s one of the best (and best-tasting) deals in town. S and I couldn’t help but return to Wacha the very next day for dinner with a friend. We each ordered the daily menu as well as a couple orders of sake.

Our first course came in the most beautiful little baskets. Each basket had six little appetizers, all very tasty and perfect accompaniments to the delicious sake we had ordered (Hakkaisan junmai-ginjo). I especially liked the potato salad and the tamago (omelet).

Our next course was a simmered dish. It had chicken, tofu, and leeks. It was also delicious. The chicken was beautifully savory and tender. The clean flavour of the tofu was a perfect counterpoint to it.

Our third course really made me happy. We were presented with small dishes of macaroni and ham gratin. Talk about comfort food! The gratin was deliciously rich and totally hit the spot. The macaroni was followed by a plate of seasoned daikon and greens. I have to say that while I wasn’t a big fan of this dish, both S and our friend really liked it. Our friend P really liked that the daikon, which had a light sesame seasoning, worked as a good palate cleanser.

Our final course was a bowl of green tea fried rice served with a clear soup with mushrooms. Both dishes were excellent. Dessert wasn’t included in the set dinner, so P asked for an order of green tea cheesecake while S had the dessert sampler, three different dishes with a cup of green tea.

Barely a month old, Wacha is a gem of a find. Both the products sold in the boutique and the food they serve are marvelous. But please, if you go, bear in mind that this is a tiny place with just a few seats and three staff members. Also note that they only open at 2pm. This certainly isn’t the kind of place you storm into expecting fast service and a quick bite. Only go to Wacha if you’re prepared to enjoy a quiet, leisurely meal. If you do, you’ll be rewarded. The service is relaxed and polite. The food is really good and it’s all served in beautiful lacquer plates and bowls. We really like this little place. We like it so much we originally didn’t want to tell anyone about it. But a place this cool shouldn’t be kept secret.

Wacha
14 Ann Siang Road
#01-01
Singapore 069694
Tel: +65 6438 1553
Open 12pm-10pm Tuesday – Sunday

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. ooishigal February 5, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    wonderful, so delicate!
    bravo, your pictures are amazing :)

  2. michelle February 6, 2007 at 1:10 am

    Wacha looks yummy! Do they have branches in other countries? There are lots of Japanese restaurants here ( in Manila) but I have never been to one that sells lacquered pieces too.

  3. Julian February 6, 2007 at 3:57 am

    Hi CH, your Wacha post made me go visit them just a few hours ago!. It is as you say…and amazing place and truely worth the money. I talked with the chef who actually didnt realise you had put them on your page, so shes now going to check you up on the net when she gets home. She did express her concern about the exposure as your site is so popular and shes the only one in the kitchen. Anyway have a look at the photos i took there when you have the time.

    http://julian.li/food

    Cheers and best wishes on finding more little gems!

  4. marias23 February 6, 2007 at 5:51 am

    Hi there! Your photos are beautiful and I just love eating vicariously through you!

  5. jazzfoodie February 6, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    I can’t wait to try this little gem- love new food places! By the way, is there a dim sum recipe book that you would recommend for an amateur cook?

  6. Anonymous February 6, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    oh what luck, it’s just down the road from my office! didn’t notice the kitchen, sounds great for a try.

  7. sue February 7, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    What a wonderfully described review. If the owner checked out your blog, she must be so happy to read it. I also checked out julian’s post and could see roughly how the inside of the restaurant looks like. It looks like a really comforting place.

    I also didn’t know that green tea leaves can be added in stir fried rice. That is interesting.

  8. foodie eddie February 7, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Wah! Your pictures were really well taken! Jap food is my all time fav as well… am a big fan of Japanese designs and stuff.

    I recently chanced upon this gallery at kim yam road (after a scrumptous Jap lunch at Yoyogi along Mohamed Sultan P: ) think the name is Shingei-I… they also have very interesting Japanese inspired lacquer homeware and unique furniture… an interesting discovery to me… go check out it at 45 kim yam road…

  9. Anonymous February 7, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    I went there with a friend last Sat. Very nice place to hang out. And the cheesecake and ice cream is very delicious. But I fear once it get popular, the price will raise…

  10. Anonymous February 8, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    Wacha looks yummylicious!! I haven’t tried much of Japanese cuisine..but this looks like quite a treat!!

  11. Jeanne February 8, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    What gorgeous pictures! And I *love* those littel baskets that the starters come in – such attention to detail. You are so lucky to have access to such a great and reasonably priced Japanese restaurant.

  12. pablopabla February 9, 2007 at 10:30 am

    Wow! First time at this site and I am blown over by the contents and pics! Truly excellent piece of work!

  13. Kevin February 13, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    Sigh! You just spoiled the peacful place. Nice places to be kept private to those to appreciate it and seek to find them.

  14. boo February 27, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    Went to Wacha for my birthday dinner last evening and it was lovely! My boyfriend and I likened it to eating art. Everything was eye candy! Though the portions were tiny, we were highly satisfied by the end of the meal (esp with enough sake). Thanks for sharing this little gem ; )

    In return I will share my Japanese gem – there’s a Izakaya called Hachi at Orchard Emerald (formerly at Orchard Plaza). It’s run by Watanabe-san and his Singaporean wife. He is a real nazi but one you’ll come to love once you’ve had a meal there. There’s no menu, you tell him what you don’t eat and he starts serving…so every visit is a brand new experience. Whatever it is, don’t be late and don’t ask for tempura or teriyaki or you’ll get the killer stare. He serves hearty home-cooked style Japanese – my favourites are the stewed aubergines, grilled Wagyu, seabream sashimi and the daily broth – we had one with an intense flavour and sea urchin in it (yums!)

  15. Chubby Hubby February 27, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    Hey boo, glad you liked it. I’ve been to Hachi before, but only when it was at Orchard Plaza. We have some close friends who are Hachi addicts, one of whom is there at least once a week.

  16. Elsie March 7, 2007 at 11:15 am

    Just a comment on Wacha. Seems that your plug for it had let success get to their head. Went there last night and was charged $38 for not 5, but 4 courses. From one of the best deals in town, I would now say that it is a rip off already, especially when you think that for most of the dishes, they were probably prepared way beforehand than cooked ala minute.

  17. Elaine March 9, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    That was their promotional offer. :) Now it’s back to the 4 course that was initially set to be stay. Well, hopefully standards stay. :)

  18. Chubby Hubby March 9, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    Elaine,

    Thanks for the heads up. I did not know it was a promotional price.

  19. Julian March 12, 2007 at 11:48 pm

    Hey CH and Boo, thanks for the heads up on Hachi Restaurant run by Kishio Watanabe. Because of you two, I went there last friday for the first time ($60), great food but expensive. My favourite must have been the fatty tuna sashimi. Since we are in the mood for sharing little gems, my own one will have to be Robatayaki Naniwa in Cuppage Plaza, its in the Nov 6th 2006 entry in my food page. This restaurant has no english menu and no prices and the chef doesnt speak english, only his singaporean wife speaks english (sounds very similar to Mr Watanabe at Hachi right?). Anyway have a look at my Hachi restaurant photos when you have the time.

    http://julian.li/food

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