Worth a train ride from France
I have been to Wagamama twice. It's an Asian-style chain restaurant that is apparently very popular in London. The first time I went, a British friend brought me, telling me I "had to try it." I am skeptical of chain restaurants that I "have to try," especially because (OK... maybe this is a little snobby), I am from New York and live in Paris and am fairly convinced that the only thing I can get in London that is better than my native city is curry.
I was so wrong.
The concept behind Wagamama is that the food is made fresh and fast: they tell you that not all members of your party will be served right away, which I've found is especially true if you order from two different sections of the menu, i.e. one person rice and the other noodles. The food is what they promise: quite tasty and fresh and very inexpensive compared to other London restaurants. There are a lot of locations all over the city: you can check online to find one that is close to where you are staying.
I brought my friend back here when we were visiting London, and she concocted an elaborate plan to have a Londoner bring her Wagamama to Gare du Nord every evening in time for dinner. It's that good. [more ]
Eat in communal tables with traditional bowls at Wagamama
I´ve been to Wagamama so many times I have lost count. I love their food and their huge wooden tables. Actually sitting next to complete strangers in communal tables is such a nice feeling. I love their bowl soups, delicious tiger prawns and their chicken marinated. Food is fantastic, every time I ordered something it tasted perfect, and service is always great. Although there is plenty of room it usually gets really crowded. There are many Wagamama´s around London and food is always good. I love it here as even with large groups you rarely have lack of space like in many other places in London. [more ]
According to their advertising materials, Wagamama restaurants are found around the world: Boston, Auckland, Sydney, Dublin, Amsterdam and so on. But it was only when we arrived in London last year, that we first discovered this restaurant chain The noodle dishes and curries came highly recommended by friends, and it has quickly become one of our own favourite dining destinations.
The Wimbledon version of Wagamama is located at 46 Wimbledon Hill Road, a short walk from the Wimbledon tube and train station. It’s a relatively big place, which I’d say would seat over 100 people at a time. That said, it gets pretty crowded and the restaurants don’t generally take bookings, so I’ve noticed that people with large groups sometimes have to wait for a table (or two) to become available.
The restaurant takes a minimalist approach to décor, and seating is canteen-style, on benches around long rectangular tables. Underneath the table there’s a storage area for bags, and there’s also coat hooks available on the walls for those nights when it’s much colder outside than in.
Once we were seated, our waitress took our order for drinks and starters, noting down our selections on the paper placemats in front of us. On the drinks menu, there is a selection of beers, wines, juices and soft-drinks, including some Japanese specialities such as Asahi beer, Sake and plum wine. Starters include dumplings, soya beans, skewers and miso soup.
The main menu is largely focused around noodles and rice dishes, ranging in price from £6 – £10. These meals seemed to be cooked in batches, and delivered as soon as they’re ready, which meant that my friends’ meals must’ve arrived about 5-10 minutes before mine. No matter. The ebi kare lomen (if you don’t trust your Japanese pronunciation, each meal also has a number: this one was 35) was worth the wait. Noodles in a spicy soup, with grilled prawns. Yum! Though with the all the spiciness, I just wished I hadn’t finished my drink before it arrived.
However, for me the highlight is always the dessert menu. Or rather one part of the dessert menu: the white chocolate and ginger cheesecake (about £4.50 from memory), which is truly the best cheesecake I’ve eaten anywhere.
With so many people talking and slurping their soups, this isn’t an ideal venue for a romantic date. But the food’s great, the staff are friendly and there are knives and forks available if you can’t quite manage your chopsticks. [more ]
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