Wayo Japanese Dining
286 Racecourse Rd
Flemington, VIC 3031
03 9376 5484
I confess I’m utterly hopeless with catching up with my friends, but the good thing is – if any of them asks me out, I’d still reply with an automatic ‘YES!’. Castletime messaged me one evening asking if I’d heard or been to Wayo, a new casual Japanese eatery on Racecourse Rd that’s pretty good.
I said ‘nope!’, and we promptly arranged to catch up over dinner there with Castletime’s partner, Beanstalk.
Wayo Japanese Dining has recently taken over what previously was a charcoal chicken joint on this busy stretch in Flemington. And they’ve done it up very nicely, creating a clean and modern interior with dark woods and minimalist tiles.
Having done no research about this place when Castletime recommended it, I told him to make a reservation. But on arrival at 7pm that Tuesday night, my heart bled a little to see this delightful gem of a place completely empty. We were the only diners! And no one entered this joint right through our meal, aside for this bogan who walked in asking if they served hot chips here. >.<”
Assorted Grilled Japanese Mushrooms with Garlic Miso Butter $9
We went with a few shared entrees before embarking on our individual main dishes. First up, a wonderful offering of grilled fresh enoki, shimeji and shiitake mushrooms in a beautifully balanced garlic miso seasoning. It was a perfect start to the meal and I wished we could’ve had a lot more of it.
Tori Oden $8.50
Chicken with Daikon Radish, Japanese Mushrooms, Egg, Zucchini, Konnyaku
Nasu Dengaku $8
Grilled Eggplant with Sweet Miso Sauce
I decided to skip the usual gyozas and agedashi tofus here (which Castletime confirms are very good). Instead, we tried Tori Oden, a traditional Japanese winter stew with daikon, okra, meatball, mushrooms, egg and a konnyaku cake.
This dish was once again an excellent offering… it came bubbling hot and it tasted clean with a delightfully smoky dashi broth base. Good proper dashi makes such a big big difference with Japanese cooking. I also had no complaints with the eggplant dish, which we sectioned into four and devoured skin-and-all.
Teriyaki Chicken Don $13
Charcoal Grilled Chicken with Teriyaki Sauce on Rice Topped with Poached Egg
Beanstalk had the Teriyaki chicken don as his main, and I must say it looked divine.
I had to stop myself from stealing his bowl when I saw him mixing that oozy soft boiled egg allover his rice! ROOOAR!!
Charcoal Grilled Chicken with Garlic Salt $13
Served with leafy green and potato salad
Castletime went with charcoal grilled chicken, and from the little sample that I stole from him, it had a nice chargrilled flavour whilst retaining its succulence. I’m so glad they did not put the chicken into boring skewers with teriyaki sauce (ie. turning it into yakitori). I think it tastes very nice this way as compressed pieces of chargrilled chicken with skin on. Clean and incredibly tasty.
Japanese Beef Hamburger Steak with Mushroom Demi-glace Sauce $13
Served with left green and potato salad
Fatbee had what the Japanese would’ve called the Hambāgu (ハンバーグ), which is probably a dish inspired by Western hamburgers then fusionised into the Japanese culinary psyche. It’s something I wouldn’t order, but he enjoyed it, saying it’s like how it should taste like.
Tempura Udon $13
Prawn Tempura on Udon Noodles in Soup
And for myself, I decided to beat the Wintry cold with a hot bowl of tempura udon. The noodles had a wonderful springy bite to them, and the gentle soup once again boasted an excellent base of good dashi stock. The addition of a wobbly-soft poached egg turned it into the perfect dish for me that night. I had no complaints with the tempura either, the prawns were fresh and I liked how there wasn’t any overzealous batter action over it.
Japanese Pancakes with Sweet Red Bean Paste, served with Vanilla Ice Cream
To end this fabulous meal, we decided to sample all three desserts on the menu. This dorayaki ended up being our favourite… warm, fluffy and freshly cooked.
Creme Brûlée with Matcha Sauce $6
Matcha Ice Cream $3.5
Then there’s our usual matcha ice cream, and a rather unique brûlée that came with a confident drizzle of matcha sauce. Even though the brulee did not come warmed, we still liked it because the punchy bitterness of the matcha sauce cuts through the sweetness of the brûlée very nicely.
This was such a surprisingly good meal in a low-key setting, I’d like to thank Castletime and Beanstalk for introducing it to me. The flavours are gentle and you can taste the quality of the ingredients and cooking here. Better still, the friendly owners are Japanese (as verified by their accents!). Don’t be deceived by the takeaway-ish feel to this eatery, I think it’s actually a marvellous place for a good Japanese feed without any gimmicky fancied up culinary tricks.