Dinner at Wagyu Ya

This beautiful spring day starts off with JoJo messaging LiLi asking what time she was coming over. When she hadn't heard back in over two hours, she thought that the worst had happened and that LiLi had finally stood her up.

This wasn't the case at all, as LiLi had every intention of coming over -just not any time soon. As it turns out, LiLi was still asleep, blissfully unaware that that daylight savings kicked in and that she'd gone forward in time.

When she finally got through JoJo's front door, she had a one litre bottle of coconut water and a quarter chicken and chips from Chicken Central tucked under her arm. Apparently Lili is a tad bit parched and very hungry. Jo looked at this picture of grace standing in her doorway and a massive, knowing grin spread across her face. She knew that LiLi was in for a bad time of monstrous servings and terrible regret. 

Which is exactly what happened.

Serves her right for turning up late.

JoJo and LiLi had actually planned a day of tackling some serious business decisions, but flailing internet and side tracking to images of decadent looking desserts took precedence.

Time passed and the sun began to sink, marking the time to leave. They dragged Cranky Mate Rich outside to take a quick couple of photos for the blog post before scuttling into the car to head in the direction of Wagyu Ya.

How did we find Wagyu Ya? At the very start of a very long and drunken evening several weeks ago, Jo had spotted it as she drove past in a taxi with a few friends. She'd only really registered the word Wagyu before having a mini conniption in the car, immediately demanding to know if anyone in the car had ventured there before.

She's a sucker for Wagyu and anything chargrilled you see. So she simply had to go.

Upon arrival to Wagyu Ya, we were led to our seats upstairs where a waiter set down some menus in front of us. Even though we had spent a bit of time at home pouring over the menu, having it thrust in our faces again didn't bring us any closer to figuring out what it was we wanted - there was so much to choose from!

We were asked first if we wanted to start off with some drinks whilst we pondered over the food choices. We of course said yes and unanimously agreed to go with the lychee cocktail jug.

By the time the waiter came back with our drinks, we had decided to go with three starters, three types of meat for the grill and a salad on the side.

Before we got to giving our order, the waiter learnt that we hadn't been to Wagyu Ya before and was quick to recommend the banquet at $99 per head. The amount of premium M9 and M10 grade Wagyu on that set menu was appealing but it seemed like a crazy amount of food to be consuming and JoJo shuddered as she recalled her recent venture to Woodo (Korean BBQ) - in particular, how much she had suffered after having sat through a similar banquet.

There was that and the fact that we were set on the green tea and black sesame puddings which were no where to be seen in the banquet! 

We politely declined the banquet and instead went to order our three meats and side dishes. The waiter suggested we ordered one more plate of meat as he said that there wouldn't be enough food for us all.

Here is what we ended up going with: 

Entrées

  • Wasabi Octopus
  • Salmon Belly Aburi Sushi
  • Tori Karaage

Sides

  • Wafu Salad

Meat Cuts

  • Oyster Blade (Marble Score 7+ F1 Beef)
  • Premium Ox Tongue (Marble Score 7+ F1)
  • Rump Cap Slices (Marble Score 9+ Wagyu)
  • Kurobuta Pork Belly

The entrées were visually quite stunning and were plated on beautiful serveware. The dishes were good but nothing overly special and Jo was audibly disappointed when she got her salmon belly.

The wasabi octopus was the highlight of this round with very interesting textures and flavours that stood out.

Next up, we have our meats.

(Above) clock wise, starting from the left: Oyster Blade, Ox Tongue, Rump Cap and Pork Belly. 

We were very excited as the dishes came through and marvelled at the sight of the platters of meat spread out across the table. How could you not with such an attractive looking array like this?

We all agreed that the M9+ Rump Cap Slices was easily the most impressive thing for this course.

The other meat could not compare. There was such a major difference between the Wagyu and F1 grade beef.

Okay. Dessert. 

Here's what we asked for below. You'll have to pay attention for later.

JoJo

Black Sesame Pudding with a side of Green Tea Ice Cream

LiLi

Green Tea Pudding with a side of Black Sesame Ice Cream

To Share

Wasabi Ice Cream

The ice cream came out first and we each took a spoonful of each others, to taste. We had ordered the Wasabi Ice Cream as a bit of a joke, fully expecting not to like it - but man were we blown away!

Seriously, how they managed to capture the essence and flavour of wasabi, and swap out heat for creaminess is beyond us. Jo was the first to try it and fall in love. She felt the need to mentally record LiLi's reaction: plough spoon into mouth, purse lips, look up wide-eyed with pupils dilated, turn eyes back to bowl, utter the word "WHAT?!". 

Every bit as good as that ice cream.

But then this happened.

Yes, that is more ice cream. No, it was not our intention to order five scoops.

To clarify, there was absolutely no mention of the fact that these puddings came with ice cream and because we specifically requested "x pudding with x ice cream flavour" without so much as a confused glance or interjection from the waitress, we expected x2 puddings and x3 ice cream scoops. 

So, this really, REALLY, bothered us.

Don't get us wrong - these puddings look and tasted fantastic but, after five scoops of ice cream, it kind of lost it's appeal. LiLi couldn't even taste the black sesame in the black sesame pudding.

One thing I'll say is that you should not go here if you're overly hungry. You will not be satisfied and it will become very expensive for you very quickly. This restaurant is one where you eat slowly with small portions. You can choose the chargrill or à la carte menu.

The highlights for me was the Wasabi icecream! Blew my mind! Plus I'm a sweet tooth at heart.

What needs improvement is definitely the customer service. The problems I had was that the waiters didn't explain the menu when we initially walked in and they hovered around the tables too much. I get that they want to be attentive in clearing plates but this was off-putting as I don't like to be watched whilst I'm eating. Also when ordering dessert, we ordered ice cream and pudding. The waitress did not state that the pudding came with ice cream so we basically doubled up where we didn't need to - rookie mistake.

I would say that you should not waste your time here based on service and food. It wasn't a typically welcoming Japanese restaurant that you'd expect. It has all the tradition of Japanese flavours and sure, the higher priced meats is what you'd typically go for but if you're trying to have a cheaper feed, then don't bother with Wagyu Ya. Also, I can't guarantee that you'll love the higher priced cuts either.

If theres at least one thing you have to get right in sushi, it's ensuring that the sushi rice is seasoned properly! You can't have a beautiful cut of fish and then be let down by the rice. Such a shame as I was really looking forward to that. I do tell myself that this restaurant prides itself more on the Wagyu so try to not let it get to me too much - but if you advertise something on the menu, please take care!

That M9+ Rump Cap Wagyu though was something else and I'm really glad I ordered it! It had a complex, buttery and rich, almost aged flavour - really thoroughly enjoyed that. Would be keen to go back and try other cuts.

This small victory was short-lived however when it came to our desserts - I seriously cannot believe that the waitress didn't bother to clarify the fact that the puddings came with ice cream and allowed us to order extra - we ended up with five scoops in total! No where on the menu did it indicate that the puddings came with ice cream. 

My advice for those interested in visiting - come with a bit more cash and spend on the premium M9+ and M10+ cuts, forget entrées. Be sure to ask questions about menu items.

 

LiLi's Rating

Food and Drink: 2.0
Interior: 2.0
Customer Service: 1.5
General Atmosphere:  3.0
Value for Money: 1.5

Overall: ★★☆☆☆

JoJo's Rating

Food and Drink: 3.0
Interior: 4.0
Customer Service: 2.0
General Atmosphere:  2.5
Value for Money: 3.0

Overall: ★★★☆☆

Happy Snaps

 
 

Wagyu Ya
★★★☆☆

Address: 156 Toorak Road, South Yarra & Toorak, Melbourne, VIC
Opening Hours: 11:30 - 15:00 (lunch) 17:30 - 22:00 (dinner) 
Contact: 03 9867 2882 ; wagyuya.melbourne@gmail.com ; 
Social Media: Facebook; Instagram

Wagyu Ya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato