The buzz: There’s no shortage of Japanese options on the seventh floor of CentralWorld, the so-called Heaven on Seven. And there’s certainly no shortage of places offering Japanese-Western fusion. What the first Thai branch of Waraku has going for it, however, is a good space—not a non-room in the middle of the mall floor, but a cozy, recessed corner location where you can pretend you’re at a standalone joint. That and affordable prices and a few unusual dishes.
The decor: The room is divided in the middle by a large installation made of carved wood that reaches up to the high ceilings, giving the place a moderately grand (though not forbiddingly fancy) atmosphere. Comfy, maroon couches and light brown tables line the walls of the vast dining room, so there’s lots of space. If you decide to walk in during the dinner rush, you won’t have to wait long.
The food: The vast, moderately-priced menu offers supersized Japanese dishes with European twists. A staff recommendation is the salmon ikura cream udon (B260), which comes in an enormous bowl, filled with hot udon noodles slathered in an alfredo-esque cream sauce and grilled salmon. Also intense is the potato mentai cheese (B160), scalloped potatoes coated with four cheeses. For something less rich, try the artfully-presented beef on houba (a betel-like leaf, B180) or the seafood kaminabe, a light seafood and vegetable soup.
The drinks: Asian-themed cocktails, such as the mango chihu (B150), which has a shot of sake and diced mangos, and, for non-alcoholic fare, drinks like Thai milk tea float (B80) with a scoop of green tea ice cream to give a the classic Thai drink a Japanese kick.
The crowd: Pretty mixed: families, work mates and dates. A typical cross-section of CentralWorld clients. Clae Sea
There’s no shortage of Japanese options on the seventh floor of CentralWorld. What the first Thai branch of Waraku has going for it, however, is a good space—not a non-room in the middle of the mall floor, but a cozy, recessed corner where you can pretend you’re actually dining at a standalone joint. The spacious dining room is divided in the middle by a large installation made of carved wood that reaches up to the high ceiling, making the place feel a few notches above your average mall joint. That and affordable prices. Unfortunately, the food itself is average, perhaps because the menu covers such a vast range of dishes: ramen, sashimi, sushi, yakitori, soba—they do it all. We’ve had a tomato and avocado salad (B100/150) drizzled in excessively sweet sauce, seaweed soup that tastes of boiled water and not much else, excessively mushy (and bland) soba noodles, dry rice and oily breaded cutlets. But Waraku’s saving grace is that the produce is usually quite fresh. In fact, we really like their yakitori mori (B240): five crispy-on-the-outside-tender-on-the-inside skewers of vegetables, quail eggs, bacon and chicken. The raw fish in the chirashi udon (tuna and salmon on rice with cold soba noodles, B390) is definitely fresh. (As for the cuts themselves, you get what you pay for.) We’re also impressed that the massive menu has dishes like beef on houba (a betel like leaf, B320), a treat usually reserved for much fancier, and more expensive, places. The attentive service, too, belies Waraku’s very reasonable prices; prices made all the more reasonable for those with a big appetite by the many sets on offer, such as the rindo (B270), which has a pork cutlet on rice with both cold udon and soba noodles on the side (and the requisite dipping sauce, of course). You could definitely do worse at CentralWorld, but don’t forget Isetan is right next door, where restaurants, while pricier, are also a whole lot more authentic. Corkage B200
|Address:||Waraku, 7/F, CentralWorld, Rama 1 Rd., Bangkok, Thailand|
|Opening hours:||daily 10am-9pm|
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