I’VE long been a patron of wagamama.
On visits to the Big Smoke over the years I’ve always managed to fit in a bowl of noodles – or two – and recently the chain made its North East debut by opening in Newcastle.
A fortnight ago it opened in MetroCentre – great, now I can combine my favourite food with my favourite past-time of shopping.
I took wagamama novice, Cara, along with me to put it to the test.
In other branches the dining-style is contemporary school canteen chic, with diners eating while sat on long benches.
Here, it’s a little different, the benches have backs and are divided into sections of four.
This makes it feel a little bit like you are encroaching on other people’s conversations and, as the couple sat next to us began having a rather heated debate, we asked to be moved to a less crowded table.
The restaurants are modelled on Japanese ramen bars, so there are no starters. Instead you can choose side dishes to go with your main meals.
Feeling peckish after a long shift at Echo Towers followed by shopping for bridesmaid shoes for Cara’s forthcoming nuptials, we ordered three side dishes.
First to arrive was the chilli squid £5.55, a huge portion of deep fried squid with a chilli and coriander dip. It was a huge portion of quality, not-too-chewy squid, complemented by a sauce with a kick.
The other two dishes arrived soon after – duck dumplings (£5.55) and ebi katsu (deep fried prawns) which are a little more pricey at £6.55.
The main dishes didn’t take long to arrive and were served minutes apart.
I chose one of my staple wagamama dishes – cha han with chicken and prawns. (£7.55)
I was presented with a big bowl of fried rice with vegetables and a side portion of miso soup and pickles.
It was lip-lickingly good and despite being stuffed to the gills, I finished every last grain of rice.
Cara was super impressed by her choice too – the chicken raisukaree.
For £9.95, she enjoyed a beautifully-presented chicken breast in a coconut and lime curry sauce with steamed white rice and vegetables.
After that gem of a dish, Cara’s now a wagamama worshipper too, fingers crossed Sunderland gets its own branch soon.