WAN, Mascot

restaurant

WAN, Mascot

WAN, Mascot

The team behind WAN in Mascot is made up of Carol Xu (pastry chef and florist), Elvan Fan (branding and concept design), Maureen Ma (operations) and Kei Tokiwa (restaurant and menu consultant). Carol and Maureen are both co-owners of Moon and Back in Rosebery. "We love the idea of Kissa Culture (Kissaten), and wanted to incorporate those ideas, vibe, and flavours in a more modern setting," says Kei. Kissaten are literally tea drinking shops that also serve coffee in Japan. "With mainly influences from Taiwan via Japan, it’s still quite tricky to pin down our style of food. We want the food to be comfortable but fun at the same time. More than the food however, we want to create a chilled space where everyone can come in at different times of the day to have a quick meal, a relaxed drink, and enjoy the space that we have designed," says Elvan.

WAN, Mascot

The name WAN was chosen as it means bowl in both the Chinese and Japanese language and it also a play on the word "One" and can also mean "fun". The space was designed by Darren Kong of Studio Kong. "He wanted to bring the tracery aesthetic and memories into the space by adopting the traditional metal window frames (commonly found on Taiwanese old housing and apartments) into the modern design, which evolved into the terra cotta," says Elvan.

I'm meeting Sophia for our pre Christmas get together before the end of the year sees us out with god knows what it has in store (hopefully not another lockdown). WAN is located within the Meriton retail and restaurant precinct in Mascot and there's a couple of tables facing the outside with plenty of breeze if you're not quite ready or willing to dine inside. There are booths and tables and ordering is done via QR code at the table with helpful staff on hand to help. "The snacks are the best," says our lovely waitress who is very helpful and she goes through a hit list of her favourites.

WAN, Mascot

There are a range of drinks and WAN is as much a drinking establishment as an eating one. There are sakes, beers, wines, cocktails as well as a non alcoholic list. But tonight we're sticking with the complimentary sparkling water.

WAN, Mascot

Sweet corn ribs $10

We are dining early at 6pm on this Friday night so it is easy to get a table and the food arrives quickly. Sophia is crazy for the sweet corn ribs and I remember I was the first time I tried these at Soul Dining and I loved them. These are curled over and cut into strips and grilled before being sprinkled in a "nacho" spic cheese powder and aonori designed to make them taste like Cheese Supreme Doritos (which they do). These tasty corn ribs are a flavour bomb and really set the tone for the umami tastes to come.

WAN, Mascot

WAN, Mascot

Cheeseburger Harumaki $15 for 2

"You can get a nice cheese string," says our waitress. If there's one fast food fusion that never seems to fail it's the cheeseburger spring roll or harumaki. It is luscious inside and with plenty of oozy cheese and cheeseburger, sauce and pickles, pretty much everything that you might want in a spring roll but didn't know that you wanted.

WAN, Mascot

Tempura calamari $14

There are lots of orders of tempura calamari going past. The enormous calamari rings are very tender courtesy of the light brining pre cooking and they are dusted in a spicy "instant ramen" powder and served with yuzu aioli and lime on the side. The yuzu is very light in the aioli.

WAN, Mascot

Piri Piri Karaage $15

The piri piri karaage is a chicken karaage that is marinated so all the flavours go right through the chicken and it is superbly juicy in texture. It is seasoned with a sansho seasoning and yuzukosho mayonnaise. Again the yuzukosho in the mayonnaise is very light.

WAN, Mascot

Avocado Yakisoba Dog $9

Having seen some Wan Pans go past I had to try the Avocado Yakisoba Dog. There's yakisoba or fried Japanese soba noodles, kewpie mayonnaise on a toasted brioche bun brushed in additional butter with generous amounts of avocado on top. I especially love the buttery bun paired with the yakisoba and nori salt dusted avocado.

WAN, Mascot

Wagyu Somen $26

We were tossing up between the wagyu noodles and the Pork Dan Dan but Sophia doesn't eat spicy food so the wagyu somen it was. It's a 12 hour bone marrow broth, MB5+ wagyu rump slices, coriander and daikon cut into squares. It comes with chilli oil and some bone marrow butter on the side that you can add to the soup to melt it. While somen isn't one of my favourite noodle types the broth is delicious and the wagyu slices melt in the mouth and I especially like these dipped in the chilli oil.

WAN, Mascot

Milk Mochi $12

We try both desserts on the menu. The Milk Mochi is made with black sugar and kinako powder which is soybean powder that has an almost peanut buttery flavour to it. This bowl is deep and generously sized, ideal for sharing and texture wise reminds me of a salep dessert rather than a strict mochi dessert.

WAN, Mascot

Coffee Jelly $7

Coffee Jelly is a time capsule for me and puts me straight back to being in Japan on sweltering summer days and using coffee jelly or (kohi zeri) to cool down and pep up spirits. They use a dark roast coffee set with agar with dulche de leche, a dollop of cream, sea salt and a sprinkle of shiso powder on top. If you haven't tried coffee jelly this is a good one to start on.

There's one thing at WAN that you just have to know about and that's the off menu items. It can be something like a creme caramel for dessert which is today's off menu item. To access these complimentary off menu items you just have to do one thing: "Have a conversation with us!! Everyone too busy with their phones these days," says Kei .

So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever been to a kissaten? Have you ever tried coffee jelly?

This meal was independently paid for.

WAN

G03/256 Coward St, Mascot NSW 2020

Wednesday to Friday 12–3pm, 5–9pm

Saturday & Sunday 5–9pm Sunday 5–9pm

Phone: (02) 4610 7539