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Member Name: 1st2thebar
Date: 03/08/10, updated on 19/08/10 (138 review reads)
Advantages: Fabulous food fusions and skimpy 'T Shirted' Lara Crofts to take orders
Disadvantages: Seating arrangement - not intimate enough
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.
Summary: Better take some Tums just in case - You'll be chewing the meal for hours afterwards.