Watami has been around in Hong Kong for quite a long time and also sprouting up in Taiwan, until it finally arrived on our shores at Ion Orchard. The long meandering queue on a weekday dinnertime would usually put me off, until I realised that its the same situation in every other restaurant and I was rather lazy to get out of Ion as well!
The place used a pleasent brownish theme for decor with wooden tables and cushioned seats. Service was rather prompt but no offense, I just felt slightly awkward to be served by waitresses with Philipino accent in a Japanese restaurant. Menu-wise, I was surprised that it was rather limited, showcasing all choices on a single A3-sized page.
Hotate with Butter ($5.80), Sushi Grandeur ($10.80)
The scallop sizes were probably just slightly bigger than a 50cent coin, but I would consider them a steal at the price. With a slightly charred surface, the chewy texture was enhanced by the garlickly buttery taste and a tingle of lemon juice, completed with a nice touch of crunchy mushrooms.
The sushi combo came in a set of six, with different toppings like boiled scallops, salmon tartar and grilled eel. Nothing spectacular, but good to order if you want to try different sushi at one go.
Tempura Moriawase ($9.80), Wafu Steak ($9.80)
Tempura is something that I will favour ordering, but tends to end up with forgettable taste. Most places did not put much effort in creating a good batter coating, here included.
The steak was, uh, let's just say that I should have never ordered this in the first place. What was I thinking, that they will serve Wagyu beef? Tough and tasteless, the quality of the cut was just not to my liking.
Kaisen Pizza ($9.80), Okonomiyaki ($8.80)
The seafood topping was rather good with squid pieces, prawns and more scallops covered in a cream sauce. The pizza base however, was in the middle, neither having a thick crust like American pizzas nor a thin one like classic Italians. I would prefer it be have a more distinct stand.
The second one was served on a sizzling hotplate topped with mayonnaise, tonkatsu sauce and bonito flakes. Pretty standard stuff with no surprises.
Mango Daifuku ($3.80)
The mochi roll would perhaps taste better if they used fresher fruits. The mango was already darkening and tasted slightly soggy. The whole thing was rather artificial and felt mass-produced. Wrong choice for desserts!
Total bill for 3 was $68.60 after taxes, they even divided nicely the price per head for you in the bill, saving the trouble of doing calculations when going dutch! I would say the prices were quite wallet friendly and good for student outings but then again, I didn't think the hype and long queues were justified by the quality of food. I would walk elsewhere for a more worthwhile wait!