What is it?
The wagamama chain of noodle bars has become pretty ubiquitous on the British high street in recent years. The first branch opened in London in 1992 and there are now over 100 branches worldwide - most in the UK but the rest as far and wide as Kuwait, Australia and the US. The food is described as pan-Asian, taking influences from around Asia. The company's slogan is positive eating + positive living, and the philosophy is defined as "combining fresh and nutritious food in an elegant yet simple setting with helpful, friendly service and value for money
Branches are usually pretty big and they have a very informal style of seating, with long benches which people just sit themselves on, so you will almost always find yourselves sitting next to some random strangers! If you are after a bit of privacy or a quiet romantic meal, do not go here! Everything else is pretty informal and basic too, from the paper placemats (on which staff scribble your order numbers) to the way in which food is delivered as it is prepared (so don't be surprised if your appetiser arrives when you're halfway through your main dish - and in fact they describe these as side dishes so you don't expect it to come as a starter). Branches always seem to be busy (in London at least) and its not unusual to have to wait for a table, although they get people in and out very quickly, which is the nature of the experience. This is not one for a leisurely meal and however much you order, you'll probably be done within an hour. This makes it a perfect quick-stop between drinking venues on a Saturday evening, which is the exact reason why I last visited.
What's on the menu?
The menu is extensive, with a range of soups, noodles and rice dishes on offer. Portions are generous and there is something nice and rustic about the presentation - everything is simply stir fried and thrown together, leaving you with an appetising mishmash of colours and ingredients. On my last visit I opted for the yaki soba, which is noodles with egg, chicken, shrimps, onions, green and red peppers, beansprouts and spring onions. I am obviously not alone in enjoying this particular dish as, according to the website, over 13,000 are ordered each week! I enjoyed every mouthful of my dish, in which all the ingredients listed were visible and in decent quantities. The dish was nicely spiced, very tasty and not at all greasy, so all in all it felt like a pretty healthy meal. All my other dining companions enjoyed their food too. The soup dishes (called ramen) come loaded full of noodles and other ingredients, and come served in a big bowl with a ladle. You;'all need your chopsticks too to dig out all the tasty morsels. The soups really are a whole, hearty meal in a bowl.
My favourite side dishes (although I didn't have it on my last visit) are duck gyoza - tasty little dumplings of duck served with a cherry hoi sin dipping sauce - and chilli squid, which are like strips of deep-fried calamari with a spicy dipping sauce. Drinks are the usual fare of wines, beers and soft drinks, as well as fresh juices and cocktails.
Staff in the branches I've been to are always hugely efficient and are armed with electronic ordering devices so your order is delivered instantly to the kitchen. The whole place looks hectic and the staff rush around like crazy, yet somehow everything worst perfectly and I've never had any problems with wrong orders. You can also usually see into he kitchens, where the chefs whizz about throwing everything together. I always think a night working in wagamama must pass by so quickly as the staff never seem to stop for a second.
Now I think the prices in wagamama are one thing that lets the place down. Given that this really is a fast food experience - there is no ambience, you can't linger over your food and everything's delivered in a very ad hoc fashion, I think the prices are a little steep. An example of some prices:
Duck gyoza £5.45
Chilli Squid £5.45
Yaki soba £7.40
Seafood ramen £10.15
The cheapest beer is £3.45, a small glass of the cheapest wine is £3.10 and a large fresh juice will set you back £4.25.
So be prepared to spend £15 upwards for food and drink, which I think is quite a lot considering the nature of the whole experience. Having said this, the serviceis hugely efficient and the food is great - and the place always seems to be packed out - so perhaps I am in the minority with this view! But it does mean that I wouldn't pop into my local wagamama for lunch on a workday, as it's too pricey for me.
The verdict ...
Overall I tend to visit wagamama a few times a year, and I always enjoy it. It's great for a quick bite to eat when you have little time but want something hot and substantial - and not as unhealthy as a burger, kebab or some fried chicken! The service is quick, friendly and efficient the food is really tasty and there is a good range of choice. However, I think the prices are a little steep for what is essentially fast food - albeit health fast food!
Having eaten at Wagamama on a few occasions now, i thought i'd review it on my latest venture there. Last time i went to Wagamama (Birmingham one) i had a very bad experience where the waiter dropped a bowl of chicken ramen over me. Accidents happen, but the fact my jeans were ruined and my legs scolded and the manager refusing to do anything for me in terms of discount or something for free majorly angered me. Anyway, onto this review!
Me and my brother went, and at Wagamama its recommended to have a main and a side. So we both had the same side, tori kara age, which is basically fried chicken with a dipping sauce. Very nice. We normally go for chicken ramen (big bowls of chicken broth with noodles, chicken and green veg in) so went for a change this time. He had the chicken katsu curry, which he said was very nice and polished off. I went for some stir fried noodles with chicken, prawns and veg, which were very nice (incredibly salty though), a coke for my brother and a ginger beer for me and the bill came to about £29. I like wagamama, but i view it has a place to go for a quick lunch, not a place to go at night for a nice meal. It has an informal, quick paced vibe about it which i find hard to relax in. But the food is top.
Japanese fusion cuisine
90 outlets across UK
Creator: Alan Yau: born in 1962
Initially. while visiting Wagamama, I admit I did envisage carnage if one bench toppled over creating a domino chain reaction; so on entry I did test out the sturdy frame-work with an irresistible calf muscle bench knock. Yep, pretty sturdy this end. The vibration to the other end of the bench was evident going by the customer's quick derriere adjustment, followed by a swift glance of irritation in my direction; yes, blame the newcomer. Having sat on the bench for just a couple of minutes, I was aware of every derriere shift. Let's hope no-one has flatulence, we would all be doing the 'Mexican Wave.' Advised by my dearest, she would order for me, I was quite relieved; she'd claimed that week-day luncheons often took a Wagamama theme. I agreed to the plan, after a hasty scan of my memory for any relationship discrepancies. No, I believed it'll be fine. I wasn't aware of any grudges or old scores to be settled. My palate was in her hands.
Hair-up, hands on hips, blue-toothed to the lug-holes, ready to take orders.
The cuisine layout was open-planned enough to see who was making the food concoctions. A strong scent of Soya Source, Chili, and well choked duck entered my nostrils simultaneously. Then moments later another waft of flavours would take their place; maybe, Coriander this time, a hint of Ginger along with the mandatory Soya Source. The scent of Caramelized Plum drizzle brought sweetness into the air. Staff members reminded me of TGI Friday high energy waitresses who bounced up to you like a Gazelle shrieking a prolonged 'Hi!' then offloaded the Chef Specials pointing at the two menu listings like an 'Air Stewardess, 'doing the 'introductory plane safety program, in case of an emergency.' Whatever she was doing it certainly was well rehearsed and she was carrying a portable gadget order device that clipped on her belt. It was a tad 'Lara Croft' orientated. I'm sure she said 'Raider' as well. It could have been 'Waiter,' I was behind by five minutes, due to translation. Surprisingly, my dearest got it all on the first take and before I knew it food was ordered, and Pepsi on the table.
Yau bowled me over
I really felt like a Wagamama virgin. Somewhat apprehensive, yet excited at the same time; everyone's food fusions differed. Several genres of noodles are used as bedding for many variables of dishes - it was a cross between 'Mongolian Wok style, sizzle anything that moved' and 'Japanese Sushi style cuisine.' You could see why it took off in the culture hungry Soho area of London; 'traditional dishes cooked under the customers salivary glands.' Alan Yau, the creator of Wagamama (English translation: 'Selfish') Hit his target market with clever ease and of course made Japanese food culture the new fad. Sushi bars flooded the market with the help of Yau. A 'Knighthood' promptly rewarded Alan Yau; for his 'services for Restaurants' after just fourteen years of trading.
Too put it mildly, I was a late comer when it came to Yau's Wagamama. The concept of combining cuisines and getting served by vivacious ladies with skimpy white 'T Shirts,' Blue-toothed to the lug-holes wearing 'hand-held computer terminals,' I knew I would once get in trouble, if I had mastered the spicy lingo. I could almost kid myself that Wagamama did appear futuristic, except the benches resembled a murky Moravian restaurant I visited in the mid nineties, that was occupied with hairy-lipped men, chomping on dumplings.
Beware of the sweet scented sprinkle jar - they're not as friendly as they look.
Noodles and many of them twisting about in a round bowl, glistening as if been airbrushed on, a selection of meats diced up till being unrecognized with several prawn type shapes made my bowl complete. I carefully placed the chopsticks, so no accidents would occur. I envisaged a 'Pretty Women' moment, where a 'slippery sucker' would galvanize into the air and be caught effortlessly by the 'Lara Croft' waitress. I needn't have been concerned the succulent diced seafood was magnetized to the voluptuous noodles on each pick-up - so did the diced vegetables, bean sprouts accompanied the noodles. A bit like a fisherman's net, not including the sweet sauce. "Try this!" I was told by my missus, and she offloaded 'five' amorous shakes from what looked like a colourful sprinkle jar.
Apparently, the sprinkle jar contained diced up dried chili - they kicked off their heat as soon as they hit the tongue, emulating a rampant Arabian horse having been startled by a rodent. The Pepsi disappeared as if by magic. I must add as soon as the sprinkles came out I did lose some of the delicate flavour of Coriander and mixed herbs. (I say mixed herbs, but it is because I'm ignorant to herbs individual taste clarities) Soya Sauce was available just incase you felt not enough was applied to the dish originally. The luncheon was delicious, and quite honestly the noodle orgy was a one o'clock treat for my gastric juices - the missus duck bedded on slightly less glutinous noodles in width, swam happily down to her gastric chamber. Helped on with a gassy Pepsi, we seemed contented and called the luncheon a success. The price was certainly a relief; a well flattened twenty pounds left my back pocket, no complaints there.
Wagamama is a world apart from the 'Noodle Bar, chain.' Herewith has changed its corporate name to another 'noodle' orientated culinary brand, in recent years. Not surprising having witnessed metal scour wires entangled in food that would shred an esophagus into tagliatelle strips.
What is fabulous about the Japanese culture is their time-keeping. However, if you do find in a Wagamama restaurant that food has taken too long to reach your table, the late item's fee will be 'wagged,' off the end bill. It is part of the Japanese culture. Time-keeping extraordinaire, delicious food fusions, high octane staff, exemplifies professionalism; all for a manageable fee. Next-time I'm bringing in my Net-book and staying for the entire day.
Thank you for reading.
Wagamama is a chain of pan-asian inspired noodle restaurants and my husband's current favourite place to go! Unfortunately we don't currently have one available in Edinburgh so we either have to travel to Livingstone or wait until we visit friends in other cities. We've now visited the Wagamama's in Manchester City Centre several times and I'll be basing my review on that.
Wagamama is what I would call a concept restaurant. It's been about since 1992 when the first restaurant opened in London. There's now 65 UK branches and 37 internationally (but still not one in Edinburgh - grrrr!). The Wagamama's philosophy is 'to combine fresh and nutritious food in an elegant yet simple setting with helpful, friendly service and value for money' but how does that translate for the diner?
I have to say every time I have visited one of these restaurants someone has been over to speak to me within two minutes of walking through the door. I have always found their employees to be really friendly even when they're really busy. I also find because of the way the restaurants work things do tend to happen quickly in Wagamama - which is good when you're really hungry!
The restaurant is set out with long tables and benches so you're sitting at the same table as other diners. Great for a quick bowl of noodles but obviously not the place to go if you're looking for an intimate dining experience! This does mean there's usually somewhere for you to be seated right away or really quickly at least.
The person serving you will then usually ask if you've been to Wagamama before. This is because once you've ordered everything just comes as it's ready so you may get your dishes at the same time or your starter may come at the same time as your main course. I like this as it just means the food gets there quickly - I'm always thinking of my tummy!
They also write the number of your order down on your paper placemat so they know who ordered what.
We've always received our orders quickly, never had anything forgotten and always had friendly people serving us so this area is definitely a big thumbs up from me.
Food and drink
I've tried quite a few things in this restaurant so I feel quite qualified to comment on the food and drink! The drinks are more varied than you find in many restaurants and include some really lovely fresh juices. My personal favourite is the fruit juice from apple, orange and passion fruit - mmmmmmmmm! They've recently introduced a wider wine list and I think it's a nice touch that they have some suggestions about the kind of dish the wines might accompany nicely.
My husband tends to go for one of their beers and here you can try some Thai or Japanese beers including Aashi super dry or Singha beer. You can also ask for green tea or tap water which is served free on request with your meal. One final recommendation for something you may not have tried before is the plum wine which is sweet and served with sparkling water and ice.
The food menu at Wagamama has enough that I think most people would find something they like unless you don't like pan-asian inspired food in which case I would question why you're visiting this restaurant. All the food I have tried is very fresh tasting and the portions are certainly big enough to satisfy even my appetite.
I like a lot of the side dishes including the chilli squid (£5.20) which is cooked very nicely as squid can very often be overcooked. The duck gyoza (5.20) are also lovely and five is a nice portion for sharing.
The rest of the menu is split into areas: Ramen, rice dishes, teppan, kare noodle, salads, chilli men and extra.
Ramen is big bowls of noodles in soup and you get different types eg seafood, or chilli chicken. Chilli chicken ramen (£8.95) is my husband's number one dish, he likes it very spicy so adds extra of the chilli oil which is on each table. The seafood ramen is one of the healthiest dishes on the menu and contains a lot of seafood for its £9.70 price tag.
My favourite dish is in the rice dishes and is the chicken katsu curry (£8.45). This is definitely not one of the healthiest dishes on the menu as the chicken is deep-fried in breadcrumbs! I love it though, the curry sauce is lovely and the sticky white rice stodgy in a nice way. I even love the pickles and salad.
I haven't eaten a lot of the desserts in Wagamama but on one occasion I asked if I could take out a white chocolate and ginger cheesecake. I took it home and ate it later and it was absolutely lovely!
If you like this type of food I would definitely recommend this restaurant for a quick bite to eat.
Wagamamas is a chain of pan-asian noodle inspired restaurants that gained rapid popularity about 5-6 years ago. They are all over the UK now as well as in many other countries.
I think that these restaurants are great if you want a quick, informal meal, but don't expect fine dining by any stretch of the imagination.
The restaurants are all designed around the same concept - the tables are long benches so you are sitting next to people you don't know, and the kitchen is open. They make a point of saying that the food will be served as soon as it is ready so you may not get your food at the same time as other people in your party. This not normally a huge problem but once I did recieve my food after my boyfriend had finished eating his. They did give me refund though which was good.
The food is good and the standard is normally the same across all the sites. The starters are asian inspired things like dumplings. I would definitely recommend the Ebi Katsu which are fried prawns in breadcrumbs.
The majority of the main dishes are noodle based and they have a huge variety ranging from soup based, fried or curry noodles. They also do japanese katsu curry which is a must try - quite a sweet thick curry sauce. And a few other rice dishes as well. All the food is cooked to a good standard and the nice thing is that once you have been a few times you know exactly what you are getting.
The service is generally quick and casual - your orders are written on your paper place mats!
I would recommend this for a quick and casual lunch with friends.
fast service and affordable prices, yes. anything else? hmm, not really.
Wagamama USED to be a great place, back in the day when it first opened. but the more branches opened, the more generic and uninspiring their food became. the chicken katsu, as well as the vegetarian version, are undeniably delicious. but to be honest nothing else i've ever tried has been worthy of my attention. while it is unfortunate that wagamama seem to have lost its unique quality in the process of becoming a pan-asian empire throughout london, there is still something to be said for reliably mediocre affordable food in a city full of as many horrible restaurant as it is good ones. something, yes. but not a lot...
bottom line: if you are in the area, especially if you happen to get your hands on one of their 2-4-1 vouchers, it is worth trying. but definitely do not go out of your way for
Wagamama in Clink Street , London, a trip over the Solent on Red Jet and a relatively short train journey ( using my Family Railcard if you can get one do so, big discounts and a good money saver).
A trip to Borough Market (not cheap but the food is good)and then to the Tate Modern with an enthusiastic 9year old in the lead. Tate is good for kids.Then the little ones hunger starts when we are near the replica of the Golden Hind, where to eat?
We considered the Nando option, my little one said it was too smelly and we would have had to get through clouds of fag smoke to get in, next door was Wagamama,m I thought the prices a little high but why not, the little one loves Asian food and it was a Big Day Out .We went in, the first staff member got us a table out of the glare of the sun and we looked at the menu, yes it did look a bit pricey but..
We ordered a very friendly staff member explained the dishes and we ordered. The food was well worth the money I was happy with my meal more important, my little one was happy!
The staff were enthusiastic and despite it being busy took time to ensure that we were both happy.
My daughter wanted to share some of my meal , being who she is she spotted a hair in my rice!
She took it upon herself to complain to the waitress and my meal was whisked away and replaced, I had not noticed the hair and was happy eating what as in front of me, I have eaten worse and having travelled in some strange places I value food, I have seen people starving in Africa and a little hair is not going to put me off tasty food.
The service was amazing considering how busy they were.
I emailed their head office to compliment them, they were worth being given a plaudit.
They responded by giving me a voucher which we more than happy to use on our next trip
If you are near Clink Street I would recommend that , if you are hungry, you visit them. Great food and great service.
After leaving Beijing for almost one year recently I miss the food I ate before very much. Last Saturday, it was a sunny day, I decided to have a lunch in a noodle bar called Wagamama.
Wagamama is an Asian food restaurant chain in the style of Japanese Ramen bar. First Wagamama was set up in 1992 in London by Alan Yau, who came to the UK when he was 12 years old with his family from Hong Kong. Today the chain includes 90 restaurants across the UK, as well as other 15 countries in the world.
According its official site Wagamama in English means selfish, but in Japanese the meaning is as wilful or naughty child. Their trademarked slogan is: positive eating + positive living. Although the food is served in a fast speed, it still combines fresh taste with nutrition.
My personal experience:
It was about 1pm when I arrived the Wagamama, which located in a business area. Around other restaurants its white restaurant name in a black signboard looks simple rather than noticeable. I thought it would be a quite restaurant as many I had visited in Beijing. One waitress standing in the lobby welcomed us warmly and led us to a seat. Walking into the dinning area my ears were immediately full of noises. Then I found the restaurant was almost full with over 100 customers. At the same time I smelled a strong smell of fried bean sprouts in the air. It's partly because they have an open cooking area, also because most of their dishes use bean sprouts as an ingredient.
Then we were led to a long wood table accompanied with a same length wood bench. Sitting down I felt I was in a picnic. However the way they display these tables and benched reminded me of the dinning halls of my universities in China.
However when I accepted the menu and had a quick glance the listed prices made me realise I was quite naïve. The atmosphere there maybe is similar as in other fast food chains, but the price definitely is above most ordinary local restaurants and pubs. How can they keep so high price but still so popular in the UK as well as other western countries? The answer is just hidden in the menu.
The menu is clearly displayed with 3 main sections below:
Section 1 Beverages. It includes fresh juices, soft drinks, beers and wines. Because ginger is an important material in Asian food so Wagamama has introduced a few beverages containing ginger, such as apple and ginger juice, carrot and ginger juice and ginger beer from Japan besides these ordinary drinks. I tried a regular glass of apple and ginger mix juice, which is priced £3. The taste was a little strange for me although I consider myself as a ginger lover. I need to concentrate my mind to catch the taste of ginger. I suppose they made ginger taste lighter to meet most western customers' habit.
Section 2 Side dishes
Different from western dinning procedures most Asian people send dishes to table at one go. So they have no concept of starters. However they have side dishes as a complement to your meal. In this section you can have gyoza, miso soup, Japanese style pickles and grilled chicken or pork chop with Japanese names and in Asian cooking ways, etc. Here I specified them in Asian styles instead of a particular country Japan based on my personal experience there. I ordered a gyoze, which is five steamed, grilled chicken and vegetable dumplings served with a chilli, garlic, sesame and soy sauce. The food itself is by no means very delicious. I was very happy to eat them because I love dumplings very much. However for me they are Chinese fried dumplings (named Jian Jiao) having a name in Japanese pronunciation.
Section 3 Meals
This section includes 5 options: Rice dishes; Teppan, noodles cooked on a hot, flat griddle; Kare noodle, noodles in a coconut based soup; Ramen, big bowls of noodles in soup; Chilli men, noodles in a spicy soup. It has a menu glossary that explains some ingredients meaning. Plus the describes of any meal you can easily know what your order would be. I had one bowl of miso ramen. It was noodles in a chicken spiced miso soup topped with stir-fried chicken, carrot, leeks, garlic and bean sprouts. The miso soup was a little spicy, but just right for me. Most importantly the miso taste was exactly what I expected. The minor criticism was the ramen that was cooked too soft. I preferred a Udon in a miso soup. Unluckily they have no the option on their menu. They did say they can do some changes according to your request, but I didn't bother to ask for.
They also have deserts available. However after one big bowl of noodles I felt too full, so I didn't try any. Incidentally their kids menu and take out menu are available too. Also there are chilli pepper, chilli oil and soy source displayed on the table.
I have to say I do love the food I ate in Wagamama. They were delicious. It reminded me of my home made meals. They served food fast without waiting. However from the styles they prepare and serve the food I would consider it as a fast food chain or a casual restaurant. It's more suitable with young people, particularly children. In some ways I would like to say it's a piece of heaven for kids. There they have got more freedom to enjoy their meals. So far it's the nosiest place I have been for a meal in the UK.
However in my opinion Wagamama is not cheap. From my background noodles are always cheap food on our table. It's simple as potato to British people. So when I had to pay 8 or 10 pounds for a bowl of noodles I felt I was 'cheated' even it's in England. Not to mention I paid 5 pounds for 5 small dumplings. But as the saying: A thing is valued if it is rare. Without travelling miles you can taste food different from yours the experience itself would be worthy of the money.
When I paid the bill the staff asked my comments on their food. I said it's the second time I had Japanese food in the UK after Yo!Sushi. However he replied that their food is not 100% Japanese food. It's more like mixed of Japanese and Chinese. I totally agree with him. Anyway for a casual lunch of two people I paid £35 included 10% tips that strongly provoked me. So next day I made fried dumplings at home.
for more pictures please visit my blog: http://blossom-iwanttoseetheworld.blogspot.com/2010/04/have-you-noodled-yet.html
Wagamama is one of those safe places to eat as it is a chain of restaurants that serves oriental food and each of its restaurants is pretty much the same. Yesterday we were in Camden market and wanted to sit down for a meal rather than opting for one of the many cheap stalls in the market and the al fresco dining, I also wanted to use a clean toilet as well so Wagamama it was then as we are both big noodle fans. This particular one is located just off the main Camden high street in Jamestown Road.
Wagamama specialise in noodle dishes and my favourites are the big bowls of noodle soups that you get, they are packed full of spring onions that are finely chopped and salad leaves as well as noodles and whatever fish, meat or other vegetables you order, I always go for something a bit spicey as well. They also do more traditional noodles with meat and vegetables and you can opt for different types of noodles as well. In addition they do soem wonderful sticky rice dishes, the chicken curry that my boyfriend had was a really big meal and tasted really nice as well.
The dining experience is an open style where there are long rectangular tables set out in rows rather like my old school dining room and you can find yourself sat in close proximity to other people which can make for a rather social dining experience however if that means noisy kids sat by you it may not always be pleasurable. I also find that you do not exactly have a lot of space at each setting which can be a pain if you have bags of shopping with you.
The whole thing is open plan so you can see the kitchens and your food being prepared, re-assuring when you want to know that everything is clean but it does add to the noise as well.
Service is fast, the whole idea is to get people in and out quickly to increase turnover and prices for a main course hover between £7 and £10 however you do get large portions and I have never cleared my plate when I have been there.
I eat here ever Monday and have never been unimpressed with the food. In High Street Kensington it is on the main high road next to T.K Max and Urban Outfitters. You walk through the main door and walk up 2 flights of stairs to find the door entrance.
When you walk up the stair way is really wide and it is marble flooring which is really nice and gives it a very classy feel. When you get into the restaurant there is a small walk way next to the tables you walk down to be seated. There are rows of tables and benches that you sit on next to other customers and you get a real sense of that Asian closeness.
You then get to order your food from the menu which is laid out in section of rice dishes, soups, noodles ect. You can pretty much choose anything from there ad not be disappointed. The soup dishes are very big indeed and actually look as though they are for two people. The flavours and beautiful capturing the smells and tastes of Asia every time. The meals are all large enough to fill and although quite greasy sometimes, they are really different tasting to your average take out.
The food all comes at different times as it is a quick paced restaurant and the waiters all ask you how your meal is and anything else you want. They do not so starters but more side dishes that compliment your food. I recommend the chilli squid which isn't very spicy but unlike squid, has a lot of flavour.
One of the best restaurants in London and I would recommend it for any occasion and for any food taste - unless you really hate all Asian food?
I wouldn't necessarily classify myself as a big lover of Japanese food, as I am not keen at all on the concept of raw fish/sushi, but Japanese restaurant Wagamama is nevertheless one of my favourite places to eat!
The website describes the chain as 'award-winning pan-asian inspired noodle restaurants'. Although not found in every town, there are a lot of them around both in the UK and all over the world. Personally I have been to two of the restaurants, one in Nottingham and one in Solihull.
The restaurants have quite a unique style which consists of long tables and benches. Some restaurants also have counters with bar stools round the edges. The long tables give the restaurants a cool and contemporary vibe, and are great for when you're dining with a big group of friends, however if you're looking for a romantic dinner or somewhere to have a private conversation this is probably not the best place as you can find yourself in quite close proximity to strangers!
The menu has a wide range of dishes. There is a large section of ramen, which are big bowls of noodles in soup, a selection of rice dishes which tend to be curries or stir fries, a selection of chilli men, which are noodles in a spicy sauce, a selection of kare noodles, which are noodles in a coconut soup, salads, and teppan, which are noodles cooked on a hot, flat griddle. All the noodle dishes have enticing arrays of vegetables, eggs and/or meats in them. The menu also includes an array of side dishes which are things such as dumplings, chicken skewers, deep fried prawns or vegetables.
My favourites dish is the Chicken Katsu Curry, which is an incredible meal. It consists of deep fried chicken in panko breadcrumbs, with curry sauce, sticky rice and salad. The chicken melts in your mouth and the flavours are just amazing. I also like the Lamb Soba which is stir fried lamb, noodles and vegetables. In addition, the Wagamama salad dressing is amazing and it's worth buying a side salad just to try it.
The menu also has a selection of beers, wines and fresh juices. The apple and lime juice, though possessing a lot of pulp, is really nice and tastes like lemon meringue pie!
The service at Wagamama is always fine, though not extraordinary. If you are going on a Saturday evening you will want to book or be prepared for a long queue. I have queued for over an hour at the Nottingham branch.
Prices are not too bad here although of course I'd like them to be cheaper! Side dishes are around £5, and mains range fro £7 to £13, with most falling at about £9. So OK for an occasional treat, and this restaurant definitely is a treat!
Chopsticks skills up to scratch? then head on over to Wagamama! I have visited Wagamama on numerous occassions in three different restaurants and what can i say but ... great food! Based on Japanese cooking styles, Wagamama offers noodles, rice and dumpling based dishes to the public. The first opened in London in 1992 and the brand has expanded ever since, so much so that you can even buy a wagamama cook book to recreate those delicious dishes at home!
The wagamama has a unique approach to Uk dining as the seating in the restaurant is laid out in long school canteen style benches so who you end up sitting next to is anyones guess .. this is a great thing as it sparks conversations and your meal out can turn into a great evening out with people you have never met!
Start off buy ordering some side dishes (not startes but basically the same), these include salted peas, grilled chicken, chilli squid duck dumplings and miso pickles.
Main meals are varied and include miso based soups which come in a large bowl with noodles and meat called a ramen. Rice dishes include currys, and normal meat/rice dishes. The rest of the menu is made up of various noodle dishes which range from varous types of noodles such as soba and udon with various spicey sauces, fresh veg and even seafood .. all the ones i have tried so far have been delicious!
The one strange thing about wagamama is the fact that food is served when its cooked so in theory you may get your main meal after your lady friend has finished but in reality this never really happens.
One thing i found is that Beer is not cheep here .. with £3.45 as the cheapest and smallest bottle of lager! but this is not the end of the world as as this is a whole dining experience and a great one at that :]
I have always wanted to visit Wagamama but the problem was that I never really got the chance. However, the other day, I decided that I was going to take my wife out for lunch, and what better place to think of than Wagamama!
When we arrived, it was quite empty and there were plenty of tables available. We sat down, ordered our drinks followed by food, and relaxed waiting for the meals.
The layout of the restuarant is very nice and they serve mainly Japanese food. I tried their chicken curry which is very nice and tasty. My wife tried their noodles, which she too thoroughly enjoyed. I so far have no bad comments about this restuarant and will definitely be going there again.
Ny the time we finished our meals, it seemed to be filling up and so we made our way all satisfied. The service was great and we were served immediately once entering. The food and drinks arrived fast after being ordered and the waiter was there to assist when requested.
The pricing of the food I would say is quite reasonable in comparison to many other restuarants in their category. Our meal only costed about £20 (including drinks), and it was much enjoyed!
I recommend that Wagamama is worth visiting, and giving it a try.
I've always wanted to visit Wagamamas, but there are none in my area. I was therefore thrilled to have the opportunity to visit on a recent trip away.
Wagamamas specialise in noodles, however they also offer dumplings and rice dishes. They are based on a Japanese style of eating.
On arriving the first thing I noticed was that everyone sits on long benches, rather than having individual tables. This communal style of eating is efficient if not necessarily my preferred choice.
We were seated opposite one another, and clean paper placemats placed in front of us with some drinks and desserts written on.
We chose from the main menu, I chose a Chicken Ramen while my fiancée chose two types of dumplings. You can have free green tea with a meal so we opted for this.
The waitress wrote our order on our placemats as well as typing it into a little handheld computer, then brusquely told us our food would come separately. To be honest if we'd known this I think we'd have gone elsewhere.
The Chicken Ramen arrived very quickly. It came in a huge wooden bowl with a traditional wooden soup ladle. A whole chicken breast was sliced over a big pile of noodles, with some greens piled on top. I have to say it looked pretty good.
Unfortunately the taste was less favourable. In fact there was pretty much no taste. The 'soup' was very ,very thin with no discernable flavour, it just tasted like the water the noodles had been cooked in.
I had almost finished my noodles by the time the dumplings arrived over ten minutes later. We had the chicken and vegetable ones, and also the crispier duck ones with cherry sauce. The chicken and vegetable were lovely, delicately steamed, fresh tasting and mild, with a nice chilli-soy sauce. The duck ones were quite bland but very crunchy as they appeared to have been baked or fried.
As we did not have drinks our meal came to £18. Considering this was definitely no fuss fast food I consider this to be a lot, and while it is nice to have the option of something different from the usual burgers and pizza, I felt it was a lot to charge for sitting squished up against strangers and eating very mediocre food.
I am considering buying their cookbook to try some of the dishes myself at home, as I find it hard to believe so many people can be raving about a place so bland.
Being vegetarian, I always have to look at the menu before I go out to eat anywhere. Stereotypical food with cheese and tomato really annoys me and I love restaurants that show a certain level of creativity with their vegetarian range.
Wagamama is my all time favorite restaurant that has a very creative range of soups, starters, mains and desserts that are perfectly suitable for vegetarians.
My all time favorite is the Miso soup, their vegetable dumplings for starters and their yasai katsu curry for mains.
The vegetable dumplings are made from finely chopped carrots, cabbage, spring onions and spices rolled into a steamed dumpling and served with a sauce. It is healthy and delicious at the same time.
The yasai katsu curry is served with sweet potato, aubergine and suede breaded cakes, rice, salad and of course the curry sauce. Absolutely delicious.
Usually, they have offers where you can get 2 main courses for the price of one. Sign up to their website and these get emailed to you regularly.
Fantastic if you are vegetarian or not!! :-)