Mahi Eats: Loaded Dumplings Edition
BY MAHI K
Watda has already garnered significant publicity and hype despite only being open for a few weeks, so of course I went.
2 December 2022
Watda Dumplings is the new spot in Ponsonby Central serving up loaded dumplings.
Watda Dumplings recently opened its doors in October. By the creators of Gaja (one of my favourite Korean restaurants which opened earlier this year - like literally, I’ve been 6 times already!), Watda has already garnered significant publicity and hype despite only being open for a few weeks.
WATDA contemplates dumplings as we’ve never seen them before, as it serves loaded dumplings inspired by street food around the world. A rejuvenation of the traditional form of dumplings, the joint uses dumplings as a base for an array of different loaded dishes with a comprehensive set of toppings.
In a small restaurant on the corner of Ponsonby Central, WATDA has a completely unique take on dumplings which at first glance seem slightly wild (I’m talking dumplings with oreos in them).
On opening weekend, the girls and I checked it out and ordered every dumpling on the menu with a side of the nashville chicken tenders ($9.50) served with a mustard dip and the baby gem potatoes ($8) which were deep fried baby potatoes topped with a sriracha mayo. The sides were delicious and went great with the dumplings. Each dumplings order comes with 6 pieces and the flavour range is as follows.
First was the Cheeseburger ($17) which is a beef dumpling topped with burger sauce, cheese, onions, pickles. The girls liked this but weren’t blown away; a combo that seems initially slightly outrageous, this was good but not something that we’d gravitate towards getting again.
The next dumplings were our winner. We ordered two plates of the Prawn Volcano ($17) which were dumplings filled with sushi rice, topped with prawn and crab meat, nori, japanese mayo, ginger and teriyaki sauce. We were scraping this off the plate and it was divine, probably as the palette was something which we both expected and were used to. Would definitely recommend trying this one.
The Philly Cheese Steak dumpling ($17) was a dumpling with bulgogi beef, onions, green peppers, cheese, jalapenos and yoghurt. Again, a cool to try dumpling and the bulgogi and the jalapeno definitely hit hard, but not a set of dumplings we were blown away by.
The Mac n Cheese dumpling ($16) was a dumpling filled with chicken, topped with macaroni and cheese. As a Macaroni and Cheese lover, the flavours of the toppings definitely hit the spot with this dumpling, and the chicken filling was an interesting twist.
Finally, the Jack’s Burrito dumpling ($16) is a vegan option filled with refried beans and rice, and topped with jackfruit, salsa, red onion and sour cream. This was definitely a taco/burrito meets dumplings situation and the flavours were confusing yet worked well if you’re a mexican food fan offering up something that feels like mini burritos. What it lacked to me was the kick/spice that salsa generally has.
and the moment you've all been waiting for.. PQQ:
For the Price, I give it 7/10. It’s priced at $16/$17 a dish which is great for a fun cheap night out, particularly in a group setting, but other places such as Sumthing Dumpling do 10 pieces for $17-18 and those are more filling in my opinion.
Deeply interrelated with my comments on Price, for the Quantity, I give this a 7/10. 6 pieces of dumplings for each dish is a reasonably sized meal (albeit other street dumpling spots do pieces of 10). This format works well in groups, however the sizes of the individual dumplings are not necessarily overly large which led us to double up on some orders.
For the Quality, I give this a 6.5/10. While the flavours are fun, distinct and slightly eccentric, in all honestly it wasn’t a mouth watering meal that has me dying to go back for more. Some flavours felt mismatched or underwhelming in certain aspects. As such a big fan and advocate of Gaja, I think I expected a bit more.
Coming to a 6.83/10 on the PQQ scale, I think this place is fun and contemplates something innovative. The idea of integrating fast food flavours into a traditional dumpling form hasn’t been explored. Being the first of its kind, Watda is vibrant and unique. It’s worth a try particularly for the novelty of it and the experience. In the same vein though, I don’t count on it to become your new local or regular spot.