Traditional Japanese cuisine takes on a new fashion in a stylish laneway.


With a menu that combines many of Japan’s most popular dishes, elegantly fusing the feel of contemporary New Zealand with essential Japanese, this gem is well on its way to becoming a must-visit when in Auckland.


Sensational sashimi and nigiri combined with glimpses of izakaya and traditional Japanese dishes, result in a perfectly balanced menu with some unexpected twists. An outstanding chawanmushi heroes beef cheek and blue cheese, a deeply savoury mushroom purée takes gloriously crisp tempura oyster mushrooms to new heights and the absurdly good black tiger prawn croquette could become your next obsession. Our katsu dish was lamb, nestled in cheeky parmesan cream and the seriously oishii (delicious) market fish was crispy skinned and resting atop a magical yuzu koshō dashi. Make sure you drink every last drop of this dashi as it is too good to leave.

A small but interesting selection of sakes and spirits is on offer. Beers are predominantly Garage Project and Sawmill with a nod to Asahi Super Dry and wines showcase some well-known New Zealand greats plus a splash of Italian, French and Spanish.


Head chef Lucas Lee has an impressive pedigree with time spent in the kitchens of The French Café, Sidart, Cocoro and Gochu. At Waku Waku he shows a playful side, distilling a variety of Asian and European tastes centred in impeccable Japanese technique to produce food that stands out for its commitment to purity of flavour. When ordering, we suggest you take full advantage of chef Lee’s entrée selection and let him handpick a combination of six bites to share at $36 per person.


The team at Waku Waku is passionate and tightly knit and service is attentive. With the recent opening of an additional pavilion space, the team is welcoming new members.


Owner-operators Makoto Tokuyama and Jason Lee first worked together as chefs more than 20 years ago at renowned Auckland restaurant Rikka and are both celebrated hospitality professionals in their own right. At last count, entrepreneur and restaurateur Jason owned 18 casual eateries across Australia and New Zealand and Makoto is co- owner/executive chef of Cuisine Good Food Award three-hatted restaurant Cocoro in Ponsonby.

1D, 415 Remuera Road, Remuera, Auckland
Check website for opening hours
MAINS: $34 – $100
CONTACT: 09 520 024