Wagamama was created by London-based restaurateur Alan Yau, who subsequently created the Chinese restaurants Hakkasan and Yauatcha in London (which have each been awarded a Michelin Star). The first wagamama opened in 1992 in Bloomsbury, London and is has been steadily growing because of its popularity. Today it has over 120 restaurants in United Kingdom alone.
Wagamama’s tag line says fresh, lively food (with soul). The word wagamama itself means is self-indulgent or self-centered in Japanese. Wagamama believes in a Japanese philosophy called kaizen, which they say ‘shapes every dish we create, and pushes us to find better ways in all that we do. We’re restless spirits. forever creating and making things better’.
We visited the Wagamama branch in Brent Cross Shopping Centre for lunch. After a short wait, we were ushered to a communal table, which was comfortable and open.
Here is a list of things we ordered and tried:
Edamame: This is steamed edamame beans served with salt or chilli garlic salt. It was extremely tender and had an interesting flavour and texture which was new to me. Loved it.
Ebi Katsu: This is simply crispy fried prawns in panko breadcrumbs served with a spicy chilli and garlic sauce and garnished with lime. This dish was kay and it could have been better if the prawns were little moist and plum.
Chicken Steamed Gyoza: Five tasty steamed chicken dumplings, served grilled and with a dipping sauce. Nothing outstanding here.
Chicken Katsu Curry: Chicken coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs, covered in an aromatic curry sauce served with sticky rice and a side salad. A favourite with many dinners here. The curry sauce is clearly a Malay inspired one, which is creamy and very mildly spicy.
Firecracker Chicken: A fiery mix of chicken, mangetout, red and green peppers, onions and hot red chillies, served with steamed rice, sesame seeds, shichimi and fresh lime. The dish was great in presentation, ingredients and taste. Though it was spicy, it also had a hint of sweetness which balanced well with the hotness from chillies.
Chicken Itame: Rice noodles in a spicy green coconut and lemongrass soup topped with chicken, stir-fried beansprouts, red and spring onions, bok choi, peppers, mushrooms and chillies. Garnished with coriander and lime. This dish is quite filling because of the coconut milk base. But otherwise a good option for weight watchers.
Yasai Itame: Rice noodles in a spicy green coconut and lemongrass soup topped with tofu and vegetables, stir-fried beansprouts, red and spring onions, bok choi, peppers, mushrooms and chillies. Garnished with coriander and lime. A nice option for vegetarians.
Wagama also offers Ramen, Omakase, Teppanyaki, Donburi, more currys, salads, non-gluten food, desserts, fresh juices and drinks. And the food and ambiance won’t disappoint you.