I love Wagamama’s. It’s no secret, and my favourite dish by far is Katsu Curry. But when Voice Communications invited me to a VIP event at Intu Lakeside to sample the new dishes on the menu and a few of the most popular dishes, I just couldn’t resist…
Wagamama’s at Intu Lakeside has recently been refurbished. The restaurant is now open planned and welcoming with long tables with stools, fit for a couple eating out or a big family gathering. The main feature wall is covered in a gigantic rose gold mirror, and the kitchen has been opened up so that you can now see chefs freshly preparing your food. A VIP table has also be installed central to the kitchen; The table and chairs are higher up and made of better quality oak. The table is designed for chefs to be able to cook at the table for you, making it a more intermit and engaging experience.
For those who aren’t familiar with Wagamama, it’s a restaurant chain that serves pan-Asian food in the style of a modern Japanese ramen bar.
The manager Roger talked us through Wagamama’s new packaging, (sturdy carrier bags for your leftovers and sturdy microwavable and recyclable bowls – check) and a new takeaway service! The head chef, (whom I cannot remember the name of even if my life depended on it, but he was super lovely and had worked for Wagamama’s for a whopping 20 years!) gave us a run down of all the dishes he was treating us too and boy were we spoilt!
Duck Gyoza are fried duck dumplings served with a plum sauce. The duck was succulent and flavoursome, whilst the dumplings were soft with crunchy sealed sections. The sticky plum sauce worked so well with the dumplings, I think it’s fair to say this dish was devoured in seconds.
Pulled Pork Steamed Gyoza
Pulled Pork Steamed Gyoza are steamed and grilled pork dumplings served with a sweet sticky sauce. When I first looked at them they instantly reminded me of brains… but the pastry was soft and packed with flavoursome hand-torn pork. The sweet dipping sauce rounded off the dish perfectly. Another dish done and dusted!
Ebi Katsu is crispy fried prawns in light panco breadcrumbs, served with a spicy chilli and garlic sauce and a splash of lime. The prawns were fresh and bursting with taste, and the crispy outer breadcrumb sealed them perfectly. The dipping sauce had a lovely kick at the end to our surprise!
The Chilli Squid was made by crispy fried squid dusted in shichimi, with a punchy chilli coriander dipping sauce to accompany it. Sadly this was my least favourite dish, but that’s down to personal preference. I really didn’t enjoy the rubbery/chewy texture of the squid, but the seasoning however was incredible.
Short Rib Ramen
A new dish to the Wagamama menu, Short Rib Ramen is a slow cooked 6 hour rib, on a bed of fresh noodles, vegetables and broth. I love love loved this dish; the meat was so tender and fell off the bone so easily. The noodles were cooked to perfection and the vegetables crunchy and packed with flavour.
The Seafood Ramen is packed with sea bream, grilled tiger prawns and breaded tilapia on top of a bed of noodles in a vegetable broth, garnished with pea shoots, wakame and samphire. Don’t get me wrong I do like fish, but I found this dish way too fishy for my liking. I did however really enjoy the breaded tilapia – it was tasty and meaty, and had a similar taste to cod so I’d definitely eat that again!
Sirloin and Shitake Salad
Sirloin and Shitake salad is a 35 day aged sirloin steak with grilled shitake mushrooms, carrots, mangetout, red onions, baby plum tomatoes. It’s sat on a bed of mixed leaves in a pea and herb dressing with a sprinkling of red amaranth. PHEW. I loved this dish, it was so fresh and light. The meat was cooked perfectly, slightly pink in the middle, and melted in my mouth. The salad was crunchy and sweet and the tomatoes perfectly juicy. I loved this dish, perfect for a light lunch!
And last but not least, we were served up Wok-fried greens; a sizzling plate of tender stem broccoli and bok choi, stir fried in a garlic and soy sauce. I’ve tried this side before and I love it; the vegetables are crunchy and soaked in a gorgeous garlic-butter like sauce. I love garlic so this dish is a total winner in my eyes!
As you can imagine, we all left the restaurant well and truly stuffed! Thank you to VoiceCommunications for inviting me, and thank you to Roger and the team at Wagamama Lakeside for an amazing evening!