Wasabi — sushi/noodle bar in Swansea

You can now get sushi in Swansea – at last!

A place called Wasabi opened in Uplands a few weeks ago (phone no/address here); we’ve eaten there twice: it did not disappoint on either occasion. Great food, nice decor/atmosphere, loads of cute asian waitresses, plum wine, sake, green tea ice cream (deep fried and not), etc. The first time, I had gyoza, california rolls, and shoyu ramen, which last dish would have sufficed perfectly well alone – huge and delicious, with a soup spoon more like a gently dimpled spatula. The second time, the irresistable gyoza again, and another ramen, this time with spicy beef. My only disappointment here was that it wasn’t spicy enough: I’d hoped for something reminiscent of a spicy beef soup I’d had for breakfast on my last day in Beijing, nearly two years ago. Life continues to attempt to teach me the lesson that things anticipated are rarely as sweet as the anticipation, and I continue to put my fingers in my ears and sing la-la-la.

Anyway, all in all, highly recommended, long overdue, and very welcome.

Weirdly, they seem to have done a really bad job of sorting out an internet presence. On Friday they didn’t even have a Yell listing, though they’ve sorted that out now. (It clearly did no harm to their sales – word of mouth, I assume, assured that the place was packed both times we went.) Furthermore, and quite curiously, the menu sports the address www.wasabi.com, which is (currently) just a placeholder page, and the domain is registered to a PO box in Hong Kong. I guess it could be the people behind the restaurant, but my first thought was that it was just a domain squatter, and that the restauranteurs had made a big blunder, somehow. :-) The email address info@wasabi.com is also on the menu, though, so they really do seem to mean it. It all seems a bit weird, to me — can it really be that the (surely highly desirable) wasabi.com domain is owned by a restaurant in humble Swansea? I could understand it being owned by a chain, but then I’d expect the website to have more than a holding page.

Ah, in true geek fashion, I’ve spent as much of this post discussing domain issues as I did on the food (and the waitresses). Somebody save me, please.

Oooh! In related news, congratulations to Jo, who had her PhD viva on Friday and got through it without needing rescue or anybody getting poisoned. Hurrah for Jo! (And thanks for the spicy beef ramen.)

19 Responses to “Wasabi — sushi/noodle bar in Swansea”

  1. April 24th, 2007 | 8:46 pm

    I don’t suppose you happened to notice whether they did much vegetarian stuff, did you?

  2. April 24th, 2007 | 10:49 pm

    Not much but some, certainly. For example, they sell bento boxes which seem to be (at least partially) positioned as an “easy intro” if you’re bewildered and don’t know what else to get; they contain a range of stuff – and there’s certainly a vegetarian bento box. The contents of the bento are all individually available too, IIRC.

    Heck, why am I trying to recall correctly? I have a copy of the menu somewhere here… Who needs memory when you’ve got printed matter? OK, so, the apparently vegetarian options on the menu are as follows: the veg bento; niniku chahan (stir fried rice with garlic); vegetable ramen; vegetable yaki soba/udon (fried noodles w/ beansprouts, carrots, mushrooms, Chinese leaf, peppers, mange tour & onions (yaki soba/udon are different types of noodles)); green salad; vegetable gyoza (deep fried beg dumplings, gimbo says yum); vegetable tempura; vegetarian california maki; various veggie side dishes sch as wakame su (seaweed/cucumber), miso soup, rice, noodles, beansprouts, etc.

    So it’s definitely a restricted selection but I’d say it’s still worth checking out, and certainly doesn’t have to be avoided.

    HTH HAND, you hippy! ;-)

  3. April 26th, 2007 | 7:32 am

    Do you know if there is any truth in the rumour that it is owned by the same people as own Tenkaichi on City Road in Cardiff?

    The menu and layout are really similar.

    Have been once to Wasabi and can’t wait to go back, it was excellent! Not as good as Ichiban in Cardiff (in my opinion) but excellent none the less, although the spider maki were nowhere near as awesome as the ones in Tenkaichi.

    Thanks goodness there is a good Japanese retaurant in Swansea! At last!

  4. April 26th, 2007 | 2:59 pm

    I don’t know if that rumour’s true or not, and I hadn’t actually heard it (or been to Tenkaichi, though I used to live near there). However, I would certainly say that they know what they’re doing, which does suggests that they’ve done it before somewhere else – so it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    Will have to check out Ichiban next time I’m in The Diff. Unfortunately I hadn’t discovered the joy of Japanese food when I lived there. Had my first sushi in Johannesburg, of all places! :-)

  5. May 3rd, 2007 | 6:47 pm

    Yes I do believe it is the one and same Mrs Chang from Cardiff. Good place though, about time they had something like this here in Swansea, even if they’re not in my guide (Food Passion for Swansea Bay, Mumbles and Gower – can I get that in?) I thought the same about the domain name, dunno how on earth they managed that one!

  6. May 3rd, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    I popped in to the restaurant today and while I was there, asked about the URL. The guy admitted it was only his second day on the job, but his guess was that they’d just made up the website address! Someone really should tell them that that’s not how the Internet works. :)

  7. May 3rd, 2007 | 9:06 pm

    For a small fee, of course. ;-)

    Oh, that’s directed at Dave, not Tony, BTW… :-)

  8. Teresa Healy
    May 5th, 2007 | 7:12 am

    You could check out Ichiban and/or tenkaichi and have an awesome meal at both.

    When I lived in ‘diff I frequently went to tenkaichi and had an awesome meal every time (and I’m someone who likes to try everything on the menu at least once!).

    Am off to Wasabi on Friday, can’t wait! What’s their best dish?

  9. May 6th, 2007 | 9:24 am

    Well, haven’t tried them all, but as I said, I found the gyoza super-delish (and much chopstick fun), and really enjoyed the shoyu ramen.

    Anyone else care to venture an opinion?

  10. Dan
    May 14th, 2007 | 5:24 pm

    I have been to tenkaichi before and now live in the uplands, been to wasabi a few times and it is very similar to tenkaichi cardiff so my guess is it’s maybe a small chain of japansese restaraunts…i may go tonight for a takeaway 20% off!

    Spicy Yaki Soba is brilliant [not a big fish eater lol....but i do like their chicken meals!]

  11. Jay
    May 14th, 2007 | 7:56 pm

    It’s all really tasty and everything should be tasted and tested over a succession of ritualized visits ^_^ Although the miso ramen is a favorite when it’s raining and the veg yaki udon is enough for two meals! (Perfect for the poor and hungry ^_^)

  12. May 14th, 2007 | 10:54 pm

    As it happens, we went there tonight, for the third time. There were 26 of us, in fact, sending off davea to Helsinki for six months (/me throws dave the horns).

    Gyoza, gyu yaki udon, and rainbow maki for me. The gyoza I can’t resist. Gyu yaki udon is thick white flour noodles with beef & various veggies – most yum. The rainbow maki were delicious but I should have resisted, as those first two courses were more than enough. Bash went for the tuna & salmon sashimi bento and didn’t regret it, I think, followed by sesame ice-cream. Yumorama.

    One small chink in the armour: we were a huge party, and the time difference between the first person getting their first bit of food and the last person getting their first was approaching an hour, I think. Certainly at least forty minutes. I lucked out, and had actually been served all three of my courses before most people had had anything; most of the bento boxes arrived last, and of course if you ordered that you probably didn’t order anything else, so lots of people had to sit and watch a few people eating for quite a long while. It wasn’t feasible to wait until everyone had been served, at least not for the hot dishes. So, that was a shame, but I guess that’s the risk of a huge group. All the same, I don’t think anybody had any complaints about the foood quality, once again.

  13. Anita
    May 20th, 2007 | 2:50 pm

    Today me and my boyfriend have just been to Wasabi, we had two ramen, one spicy beef and one spicy chicken — it WAS HOT! and lots of vege! I found it very heathy and delicious! it is well worthy than buying chinese take away ~~ mostly because the chinese food here is not real chinese ~~ lol The only thing I was alittle disapointed was that the noodles are not hand-made~~ Ramen is the same word to chinese ‘Lamian, means ‘ pulling noodles’. However, the soup is super tasty, we really enjoyed it!

  14. May 21st, 2007 | 9:43 pm

    To Wasabi tonight, for the second Monday running, for a dinner promised by Lisi in exchange for a bicycle we gave her a few weeks ago. Somehow things exploded from the three of us to thirteen (including a genuine Heidi – wow!), and Great Food was had by all. Seriously, this is, what, the fourth time I’ve been there, and I have been disappointed by nothing. This never happens.

    Eaten: gyoza (of course), gyu don (rice/beef/egg/stuff/yum) and spicy tuna maki. I enjoyed the tuna, but I must say, I’ve been consistently enjoying the noodle/rice/soup dishes more than the sushi/fish ones. Don’t get me wrong: they’re not bad. Maybe it’s just that I can only eat so much of them, whereas I seem to have infinite capacity for, say, shoyu ramen. :-)

    I still haven’t reined in my savoury-lust enough to feel justified ordering dessert, so I can’t comment properly on the sesame ice cream (well, tasted it last week, mmmm, but not sure I could go for a whole bowl), the green tea ice cream, or the deep fried green tea ice cream. Oh yes. Maybe next time. Maybe next time I’ll also remember to try the Spicy Yaki Soba recommended by Dan, above.

  15. June 29th, 2007 | 12:24 pm

    Going tonight for my birthday, yum.

  16. July 8th, 2007 | 1:59 pm

    Went again last Monday (with Tina and Gabi)… Gyoza and gyo don again; scrumptious.

  17. Laura
    July 21st, 2007 | 4:01 pm

    Teresa Healy
    April 26th, 2007 | 7:32 am
    Do you know if there is any truth in the rumour that it is owned by the same people as own Tenkaichi on City Road in Cardiff?

    The menu and layout are really similar.

    I don’t think they are related, although I’ve been to both Tenkaichi and Ichiban in Cardiff. They are the same people who do the Oriental Garden (or similar sounding place) in the Red Dragon Centre near Cardiff Bay. I went there last Autumn with my late fiance – they do a chinese-style buffet and this used to include sushi too, which we thought was a bargain! On driving there one winter’s evening, we were disappointed to see they’d stopped doing ths sushi. When the waitress asked if we’d enjoyed I said “Yes, but we’re gutted you’ve stopped the sushi – we drove all the way from Swansea JUST for the sushi! ” She then told us that they would be opening a restaurant in Swansea soon, and gave us the card for Wasabi. I was sooo pleased, and even though it didn’t open until March, it was worth waiting for. Even better, it is just down the road from my work in Sketty :-) Paul and I went there a few times, and I think we had the ramen, various sushi/sashimi dishes and bento boxes. We even took our youngest children once and asked them to do a dish of just chicken and noodles and they did, and the children loved it !When we were a little hard-up we had the bento-boxes as a takeaway, which we enjoyed sat up Pantycelyn Road enjoying the view. Lovely memories as Paul was sadly killed last month. It’ll be a little while til I venture in there again, as I only ever went there with him, but am looking forward to it. I could soooo murder a nice piece of tuna sahimi, mmmmmm.

  18. July 30th, 2007 | 10:20 am

    To Wasabi again last night with Bash for a quickie on the way to the Uplands Tavern for some live music. We shared vegetable gyoza (not as nice as the chicken ones but still excellent), then I had the breaded chicken version of gyu don (its name escapes me and we’ve posted our takeout menu to my mum so I can’t check it right now). As usual, super yum.

  19. July 27th, 2011 | 6:22 pm

    To answer the menu questions i have put their menu online here;-
    http://www.take-a-way.co.uk/menu/2210/wasabi-swansea/
    enjoy