Sunday, July 17, 2016

Wabi-Sabi Noodle House: Affordable Vegetarian Dishes That Will Leave You Wanting More

Wabi-Sabi Noodle House first opened their doors inside The Collective in 2010 to begin serving delicious vegetarian dishes that's a bit easy on the pocket. Since then, they've amassed sort of a cult following of foodies who love their unique twist to vegetarian food, that they even had to open a new store in Quezon City to serve their fans from around the area. In fact, I found out about Wabi-Sabi from a feature article when their new store opened. Since then, I found myself a regular customer of their Makati store, always enjoying that delicious bowl of Chahan or a plate of their delicious Okonomigyoza. But more on those later.

One look at the menu shows that the dishes are mainly Asian-inspired, with a strong Vietnamese, Japanese, and Thai influence. Most of their customers, like myself, probably aren't vegetarian. They just serve food that's just that good. Who said vegetarian food doesn't have to taste amazing?

Here's what you can expect from Wabi-Sabi Noodle House...

The restaurant in The Collective is a tiny enough to fit, by my estimate, around 15 people max. The ambiance is hipter enough to enjoy a bowl of hot soup or a plate of dumplings, with wooden tables and chairs that has a slightly Japanese feel to it.

The Okonomigyoza (Php 80) is just what the name suggests - a threesome of okonomiyaki, takoyaki, and gyoza. It may be small but trust me when I say it's packed full of umami goodness. The Japanese mayonnaise pair beautifully with the shredded nori and add to a really well-balanced appetizer. Definitely highly recommended! 

The Mission Street Dumplings (Php 80), on the other hand, is best if you want a refreshing, savory appetizer. It's a twist to the traditional Chinese dumplings as the sauce made of vinegar, coriander, and cucumbers makes the dish really refreshing that reminds me of a strong Vietnamese influence. 

The Veggie Unagi (Php 85) is nori-crusted dried bean curd that's slathered with unagi sauce. It may not be real unagi, but for the price point it's a really nice, tasty dish to pair with the Chahan rice. More on that below.

The Chahan (Php 75) is a Japanese-style fried rice that's umami rich and packed with flavor. It may just be rice, but don't miss out on this. It's highly recommended especially when you're having the pot stickers and other flavor-packed dishes. 

It once again has a lot of nori, which is one ingredient that really enhances the flavor of most of the dishes we've gone through so far. 

The Kuapao (Php 65) is good for a vegetarian-style alternative but it's nothing close to the real cuapao. This, I think, is where the veggie meat fails a bit to add that savory flavor and the richness of meat to really round out the dish. It was good, but it isn't as highly recommended as the dishes before. 

The Chaypao Steamed Bun (Php 30) is like your typical siopao but with faux meat inspire. It's very sweet and makes for a nice afternoon snack. I would order it again but it's not something I'd crave for. 

The Tom Yum (Php 180) doesn't taste anything like Tom Yum at all, which I think is because of the lack of seafood in the bowl. I've had a lot of good Tom Yum in the past, and I would not recommend it to anyone who loves a nice spicy kick from a hot bowl of freshly made Tom Yum from Thailand. This might be as close as you can get to real Tom Yum with vegetarian ingredients, but it's not for me. 

The Viet Pho (Php 140) is really good for it's price point, but it pales in flavor when compared with Pho Hoa's Pho since it's not as refreshing and lacks depth of flavor that comes with the meat. Overall, it's nice for an affordable Pho around the area if you're looking for hot, healthy soup. It's not mind-blowing though. 

The Lemongrass Iced Tea (Php 60) makes for a refreshing drink to help wash down all the flavor-rich food from Wabi-Sabi. I like it a lot since it's sweet but the lemongrass adds a lot of freshness into it. 

Food Quality: 4.0
Service Quality: 3.0
Ambiance: 3.5

Overall Rating: 3.5

If you're looking for an affordable, vegetarian, Asian-inspired restaurant then it's difficult to find anything close to what Wabi-Sabi is offering. Their price point may not be dirt cheap but for the quality of the food served I find that it's definitely a steal. Get the dumplings, the Chahan rice, the veggie unagi, and I heard their Tantanmen is a hit (although I haven't tried it myself).

Wabi-Sabi has food that's both beautiful and delicious, proving that vegetarian dishes don't have to be so dull! 

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Wabi-Sabi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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