Newest Review: ... 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 ... more
Member Name: Helen477
Advantages: Quick, good service, nice food
Disadvantages: You might not like sitting at a table with others
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.
Summary: Try the chicken katsu