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Waku Waku

415 Remuera Rd, Remuera
  • Closes 12:00am
  • Mon
    Closed
  • Tue
    5pm-10pm
  • Wed
    5pm-10pm
  • Thu
    5pm-10pm
  • Fri
    5pm-10pm
  • Sat
    12pm-2pm, 5pm-10pm
  • Sun
    12pm-2pm, 5pm-10pm
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The brash younger sibling to Cocoro serves immaculate and flavourful contemporary Japanese food hidden behind Remuera’s main drag.

Down a recently-developed, currently-hard-to-find laneway behind the Remuera Rd shops is a new contemporary Japanese restaurant from Makoto Tokuyama, restaurateur Jason Lee, and chef Lucas Lee. Tokuyama (chef/owner at Cocoro) and Lee started talking about opening a restaurant together when they worked side-by-side as junior chefs over 20 years ago, and together with chef Lee, who worked for Tokuyama at Cocoro, they have created Waku Waku.


The ties between Cocoro and Waku Waku, as well as the mentoring relationship between Tokuyama and Lee, are evident throughout the restaurant, from the name (Waku Waku means “heart pumping”, while Cocoro means “heart and soul”) to the food (both, for instance, serve variations on a savoury custard, though Lee has given his a mentor-approved update with beef instead of seafood).


Waku Waku is immaculate and tiny (though a bigger space is on the way, apparently), the spacious kitchen taking up more than half the room. Like the room, the food is small and immaculate. Snacks, small plates, and shareable mains are full of flavour and careful technique, with nods to both more formal, traditional Japanese dining as well as the fried, mayonnaise-accompanied bar food izakaya, as suitable for a date as night out with a small group of friends.

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