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“Great, but...” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Wabi

38 East Street, Horsham RH12 1HL, England
+44 1403 788140
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Ranked #31 of 135 Restaurants in Horsham
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $15 - $129
Cuisines: Japanese
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Large groups, Bar scene, Doing business, Romantic, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Late Night, Reservations
Description: The first authentic Japanese restaurant in Horsham, Wabi offers a modern Japanese fine dining experience with a cocktail bar and a simple yet elegant decor. Easily accessible within 10 minutes' walk of Horsham rail station and Horsham Park, Wabi showcases contemporary Japanese cuisine from it's celebrated chefs. Each dish combines traditional Japanese culinary techniques with quality local ingredients, making for a modern Japanese dining experience. With a stylish design throughout, Wabi is split into three main areas for dining. Enjoy Wabi Bites and cocktails in the lively atmosphere of the bar on the ground floor, or sample delicious Japanese specialities in the main restaurant on the first floor. Signature dishes include the Smokey Dragon Roll, Crispy Squid Kara Age, Alaskan Black Cod in Miso, Tea Smoked Lamb Chops & finish off by digging deep into a Kuro Mori dessert. Private booths and a traditional tatami mat seating area are also available for corporate meetings, special occasions and large parties.
Horsham, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Great, but...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

Wabi is a terrific restaurant. Food is excellent, with the price justified by the intricacy and novelty of the courses. Try the tasting menu: we go for a combination of vegetarian and deluxe which works really well. As an occasional treat, Wabi is hard to beat, although the main pleasure in the food is still the novelty value so we wouldnt want to visit too often. Downstairs is a cocktail bar that serves excellent, London quality cocktails and becomes extremely busy on Friday and Saturday night. And I mean EXTREMELY busy! The bar staff won't be rushed, and carefully avoid eye contact with increasingly irate customers. My suggestion would be to raise prices of cocktails (they are ridiculously cheap), and spend the extra money on staff training and more barmen. We recently gave up waiting and walked out after half an hour.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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311 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
West Sussex
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
44 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
“Interesting and well cooked Japanese food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2012

This restaurant received a tsunami of publicity from the day it opened. Friends said it was enjoyable but very expensive. A special offer of 2 luxury tasting menus for the price of 1 (normally £55 per person) tempted us to try it for my wife's birthday lunch. It was a dreary November Saturday so we needed cheering up. Wabi did deliver that wish but the building has some strange features.
The decor is best described as confused Japanese Tudor. Many dark panels of not very fine woodwork fight with small slide-away curtains in the upstairs booths. They would do better to go for the full Ginza treatment. The upholstery is just about OK. Downstairs there are high chairs and stools in some areas with low bench seating in other places. Stylistically I think it's a mess and not the sort of slick, sleek, modern steel and glass look that would fit better with a classy high flyers restaurant - an uneasy fit for uptight and respectable Horsham. But it seems very popular. Now about the food; the multi-course luxury tasting menu.
It was just wonderful; here it is ripped from the web site:-
Edamame, Soramame Tempura (delicate batter coating - fantastic) and Pork Scratchings (how do they produce this translucent delicacy?)
Crunchy Salmon ‘Tacos’ with Tomato, Chilli and Lime Salsa -excellent
Sushi Selection - lovely clean presentation.
Rockshrimp Tempura - with Kimchee Mayo and Butter Ponzu - my favourite I could eat these all day
Steamed Buns with Pork Belly, Roast Duck, Condiments and Sauces - very tasty and quite filling
Butter Roasted Seabass with Spicy Shiso Ponzu - a delicious highlight
Miso Soup - the perfect end
Choice of desserts from the Menu - can't remember but it was nice. The coffee had really good flavour.
All our doubts and niggles about Wabi were swept away in an avalanche of exquisite tastes and textures. At £27.50 a head this was an extraordinary bargain but you will be lucky to see that offer again. At £55 per head it would be pricey for Horsham but it is without doubt a great Japanese eating experience and on that basis it is well worth the price. We came away enormously satisfied but still wondering about the decor. The service by Meg (I think it was her last day before chalet hosting for the ski season) was utterly brilliant. She knew everything about the menu, delivered all the courses with perfect timing and was smiling, personable and friendly throughout. She was in fact so good that I gave her a large personal tip aside from the gratuitous 12.5% irritatingly added to the bill.
In summary, if you are used to Japanese food and you know your way around the menu you should enjoy Wabi - but just watch the way the bill is adding up. If you don't know Japanese food then start here, perhaps with some of the Tempura items which are not contentious to Western tastes.
Yes, we will go again but if we are paying the full menu price then our choices will be careful.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southwater, West Sussex
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Get rid of the rude Somelier”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 23, 2012

We've been twice to Wabi, we like the atmosphere, the different foods and flavours to try. It is overpriced and the service charge is too much, but what spoils it most for me is the Somelier. He is rude, criticizes what you order and is overbearing. He appears to treat the waiters (who are very good) as though they are second class citizens and lacking in something he obviously thinks he exudes, but he is repellent.

We will go again, but when I book, I'm going to make sure it's his night off.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Horsham, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Something very different”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2012

All is good here. Great selection of cocktails which are made in front of you by the talented bar staff. We visited for an anniversary and chose the taster menu but selected our own wine rather than opt for the wine flight. The food was excellent and each course was introduced and explained by the waiter that served us for the entire meal. Some new and interesting food all of which was presented beautifully. Have visited a few times just for drinks and there is a great atmosphere i the busy bar. Getting hard to get a table as a walk in so would recommend booking especially at weekends.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Horsham, west Sussex
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2012

What a rip off, far too expensive and left feeling hungry. far too overrated.
so you want more, well if you go to strada they offer excellent food for a fraction of the price. My sushi in London was cheaper!

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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