Wasshoi, a sound of encouragement and celebration made at Japanese festivals, is what you're likely to hear from Prahran Market shoppers who have stopped in for a bite at the market's newest foodie entrant.
Technically Wasshoi Yakitori Bar – which opened on Tuesday – isn't a yakitori bar as "yakitori" traditionally denotes only chicken. Wasshoi is grilling pork belly, chicken skewers, and soft tofu and chicken-mince patties over coals, and is more accurately described as a sumibi bar.
Ever-cheerful head chef Ikuei Arakane (Kin San) often chats with customers mid-grill. Compared with his previous cooking experience in large kitchens (Koko, Taxi, 100 Mile Cafe and The Glass House in Tasmania), the open-kitchen 29-seater is something new for Kin San.
Wasshoi is licensed, too, serving Kirin on tap and sake. For the abstainers, there's lemonade-like yuzu juice.
The Japanese pitstop has been designed so that shoppers can catch up for an informal bite and beverage while passers-by inhale the scent of charcoal-sizzled morsels.
Wasshoi is essentially an open kitchen framed by stools and a timber benchtop. Assorted wood panels line the exterior, a blue sake flag suggests the drink of choice and the glass panels surrounding the grill directs smoke to the rangehood and doubles as a display cabinet.
According to Kin San, it's easy to get carried away in the middle of the day at Wasshoi. "Not too much drunk when shopping," he warns with a signature grin.
Open Tue and Thu–Sat 8am–5pm; Sun 10am–3pm.
Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Road (enter via Elizabeth Street), South Yarra, 8290 8220, prahranmarket.com.au