Wasabi, 6A/F, Siam Discovery, 989 Rama 1 Rd., Bangkok, Thailand
Nearest Train:BTS National Stadium
Opening Hours:daily 10am-10pm
Price Range:BB - BBB
We’re more than ready to celebrate the rare sushi joint that decides to go it alone, particularly if it’s in a mall. But what exactly do we expect from a non-chain Japanese restaurant? A touch of inventiveness? Better fish? An exciting décor? Wasabi doesn’t deliver any of these, so we’re left with the same proposition as its bigger chain brothers, like Zen and Fuji—decent, cheap food and zero atmosphere. Not that this isn’t an acceptable option when on a budget. (Technically, Wasabi is a branch; the original is in Esplanade.) The quality of the fish is pretty standard: the bright red tuna has a metallic almost acidic aftertaste, the flavorless salmon hardly lives up to their promise that it’s flown in from Norway, but at least it’s all hygienically fresh. On our last visit, the clams in sashimi set C (B480) nearly get our pulse racing, but that’s about it. The cheaper nigiri set A (B280) certainly won’t cause any palpitations, with its six cucumber and surimi maki alongside six insipid pieces of sushi. But apart from issues with the produce, there’s also a rather localized taste to any of the dishes that involve dressing. It doesn’t always work: the shuka hotate (scallop salad, B90), for example, is doused in an extremely sweet sauce. But the gyu tataki’s (beef salad, B140) lime-heavy dressing seemed well suited to local palates. It’s easy to nitpick endlessly (and maybe unfairly) with sushi sets that come in under B300, but the real question is to what can Wasabi be compared? Service is probably smoother at Fuji or Zen, the décor equally soulless, the food very similar. Wasabi probably has an edge on price, though, particularly if you order the full-on kaiseki sets, which come with too many small dishes to mention and start from just B350. And if you’ve never tried a scoop of wasabi ice-cream (B65), the not entirely unpleasant weirdness could be reason alone to give this place a shot.