Wagamama with My Mama

Let’s get one thing straight: I really do love British food. Bangers and mash, colcannon, clotted cream, steak and ale pies…I really see nothing wrong with well made English food. It gets a bad rap because people eat bad versions of it. Think about how horrible pizza can be, versus how ethereal it can be when made well. 
That said, a saddle of lamb with beef fat roasted potatoes and a hot toddy is not quite what I can manage at lunch every day.  That’s when I turn to my favorite London guilty pleasure:
A pan asian casual restaurant that features noodle and rice dishes with Asian and Southeast Asian influences, Wagamama just has what I want when I want it- hot, spicy, and comforting.
That’s what she said.

There are many locations of this chain, and you sit at communal tables and benches in a casual dining space.  The whole gimmick with Wagamama is that you order a bunch of stuff and share it – no appetizers here. Stuff gcomes when it is ready. I love that!

Togashari pepper, chili oil, and regular and low sodium soy sauces located for your convenience. That togashari pepper is really spicy and really outstandding.

And this is how much ice you get, when you order a soda, all over Europe. Kinda hysterical.

Chilli Beef Ramen –   noodles in a spicy chicken and pork soup topped with beef sirloin, beansprouts, red and 
spring onions and chillies. Garnished with coriander and lime. I always get this and it is always delicious. The broth is light yet full flavored because of the pork/beef combo flavor. The beef is nicely charred on the grill with a pink interior – -I do wish  it was cooked a wee bit less, since the beef continues to cook in the broth, but the flavor is wonderful. The pickled chilis on top are fruity and firey, the onions are sharp, and the noodles are SO delicous. They are springy, toothsome, and absorb the meaty, salty, spicy flavors of the soup perfectly. With a bit of togashari pepper, this really is one of the world’s perfect meals.
DUDE, I want another bowl NOW!

We also shared a  raw salad of mixed leaves, red onions, mooli (daikon) and carrot, garnished with fried shallots and served with Wagamama house dressing. Simple, but a fresh and delightful counterpart to the spicy and complex bowl of soup. The dressing was ginger and soy based, and the fried shallots added the MOST delicoius salty curnch to the dish. Think French’s Fried Onions, but about 7 million times better.

Oh, and we got these Japanese pickles. Turnip, cucumbers, and maybe eggplant? Crisp, sour, and funky the way that good pickles should be, these were still nothing memorable.

 Teriyaki chicken donburi - grilled juicy chicken glazed with orange teriyaki sauce, sticky white rice, with thin sliced carrots, pea shoots, spring onions and sesame seed,s and a side of spicy kimchi. I didn’t get to taste this, but Marmie basically licked the bowl clean.
That’s why I liked her.
I DID try the kimchi – garlicky, sesame laden, mildly spicy.  YUM!
For London, this was a cheap meal – about $50 for 2. If you just heard someone yelping in pain, that was me…realizing that the dollar is SO weak in England.
What wasn’t weak was the food at Wagamama. Fast, delicious, and – for London – affordable.
Yeah, that was me yelping again. But this time…a yelp of joy.

Comments

  1. Kyle says:

    Nice beef ramen….. looks good

  2. JustinM says:

    A couple years back my brother and I were in Dublin; we paid the equivalent of 60 USD for three little pieces of sushi each. (We had eaten fish & chips for three days straight and felt like getting something else, and the sushi joint was recommended to us.) I mean, like one container of sushi at a supermarket in the US split between two people, for $60. We went to a pizza place after "lunch" to get some real food.

  3. Joanne says:

    There was a wagamama in boston when I lived there. And I never went to it. But I walked by many times. Good story, huh?

    It sounds delicious from the way you describe it and now I WISH i had gone in!

    Maybe those small coca colas are the reason that french women never get fat. Hmmm

  4. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @Kyle-indeed it WAS.
    @Justin-unfortunately, i can TOTALLY believe that…ugh
    @Joanne-oooh i like that reasoning! And yes, next time you go back to Boston, PLEASE visit wagamama!

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