Exeter Quay, 38A Commercial Road, EX2 4AE
Open: Monday – Tuesday, 5pm – 8:45pm.
Wednesday – Thursday, 12pm – 9pm,
Friday – Saturday, 12pm – 10:30pm,
Sunday 12pm – 8pm.
Prices: Small plates and sharing dishes, £4.90 – £7.90.
Main meals, £12.90 – £14.90.
Wabi Sabi Bay
Perfectly imperfect. That’s how Wabi Sabi Bay, the latest independent restaurant to arrive on the waterside of Exeter’s canal basin, describes both their food and ambience in-line with the philosophy behind the restaurant name.
Wabi Sabi Bay is a real lockdown success story. Their flagship restaurant was launched in Paignton during 2020 – a brave time to start up
a business and an all-new brand. Now, just two years on, they’re rolling out the second restaurant in this newly expanding chain right here in Exeter.
The aim: create an Asian fusion menu combining popular street foods and classic dishes with their own unique twist – the Wabi way! Over 20 years’ experience within the food industry and a passion and understanding of a variety of oriental cuisine has made for a winning recipe.
It’s simplistic food made to be honest, fresh, fun and highly social, with plenty of sharing options to encourage interaction.
An extensive (and beautifully soft) signature bao bun selection offers a variety of meat and vegetarian fillings, from pulled Vietnamese beef to crispy aubergine and wasabi peas or classic Hoisin duck, and sit alongside a number of simple sharing plates. Pair with these an array of Cantonese, Japanese and Korean dumplings – Dimsum, Gyoza and Mandu. These steamed and fried little mouthfuls of joy are perfect for an additional sharing dish and a choice of sauces help pack in the flavour adding further variety.
If you’re feeling more Joey from Friends (not wanting to share food) then there are larger mains created just for one. Ramen – traditional Japanese noodle soup – is a signature dish that Wabi Sabi Bay are particularly proud of, and complements a number of wok dishes and panko breadcrumb coated meats
and vegetarian options.
Many of the items on the food menu come with recommendations for drinks or sides that pair well with your choices, so if you’re new to this type of cuisine you can easily get an idea of what works well.
The interior décor is cool, colourful and trendy, drawing on Asian inspired decorations and heavy floral styling backed up by a chilled downtempo soundtrack. The natural theme continues with wooden tables and bench style seating for a western take on oriental style dining. It’s fun and exciting and seems to bring together diners of all ages.
Outside seating beside the canal is a definite bonus during summer and the addition of live music and an extensive bar helps to keep the restaurant diverse and the buzz alive.
Seek out Wabi Sabi Bay and appreciate the beauty of imperfection for yourself.
Words and Images: Jake Tucker
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This manageable there and back route offers easy walking and wheeling along the eastern side of the reservoir and to the dams, plus additional access to the wildlife trail in the Burrator Arboretum