Wagamama have recently opened up a branch in West Bridgford on Central Avenue in the location that formerly housed Carluccio’s that sadly closed during lockdown.
I did once write about the Wagamama at the Corner House in town back in 2013 when I had some chicken noodle soup but I have never been to one since (read more here).
I wasn’t really planning to visit the Bridgford site but some kind soul sent me a gift voucher and my Mum quite likes the chain so I headed over to see what it was all about.
We poled up on Sunday afternoon, checked out the menu and ordered a couple of sides and a couple of mains. It will be no surprise that those choices included noodles and dumplings 🙂
PORK BELLY STEAMED BUNS
I do like a Bao bun (or Hirata as they call them here) so it was always a plan to order some here at Wagamama’s. There was a brief dalliance with the thought of getting the one filled with Duck but we were not at a Chinese Buffet so I held out for my choice which was the one with Pork belly or to be more precise Pork Belly, panko apple and sriracha‘ described as ‘two fluffy asian bun stuffed with pork belly, panko apple, sriracha, coriander and vegan mayonnaise‘
As bites go these were quite tasty, pork belly was both soft where it needed to be and crunchy where the fat was. There was crispness and sweetness from that panko apple crumb, and a little heat from the sriacha. The bun was soft and pillowy but there was not quite enough filling so after a couple of bites I was just left with a mouthful of bao bun to eat.
I would order them again though as they are a nice little bite of food to snack upon and I would not share next time as I need more than one to make it worth my while. You get two buns for £6.50
PULLED PORK STEAMED GYOZA
I do love a dumpling or gyoza or potsticker (whatever you want to call them) so we ordered a portion of the Pulled pork steamed gyoza which was ‘five tasty steamed pulled pork dumplings served grilled with a dipping sauce‘ for £6.50
The texture of the gyoza case was spot on for me, I like my gyoza like potstickers with a little caramelization where they have caught the pan and a nice soft slight chew where they have just steamed away in the pot
I wasn’t that keen on the texture of ‘pulled pork’, it was a bit too smooth and paste like. The flavour was quite nice though. If I ordered gyoza here again I would have a different filling
TANTANMEN BEEF BRISKET RAMEN
The tantanmen beef brisket ramen is a bowl of ‘Korean barbecue beef brisket, served on a bed of noodles in an extra rich chicken broth. Topped with half a tea-stained egg, menma, kimchee and spring onions. finished with coriander and chilli oil ‘ it sounded good on the menu although it was one of the priciest items in its section at £13.95
Now I always do love a soft boiled egg slice in with my ramen noodles and so was happy enough with that today, the shredded beef brisket was interesting, quite a lot of well developed flavour and possibly the best bit of the bowl.
The bamboo shoots or menma, and the kimchee were plentiful and I did eat them all as I was working my way through the top layer to find the noodles.
I enjoyed all the toppings in the bowl, but I didn’t really enjoy the texture of the noodles. I couldn’t work out if they were overcooked or undercooked, they may just be like that and that is how it always is.
Yaki udon picked from the teppanyaki section of the menu, featuring ‘noodles sizzling from the grill, turned quickly so that the noodles are soft but the vegetables crunchy‘ (so basically a stir fry then)
This particular combination was described as ‘udon noodles in curry oil with chicken, prawns, chikuwa, egg, beansprouts, leeks, mushrooms and peppers. garnished with fried shallots, pickled ginger and sesame seeds‘ and was priced up at £11.25
As stir fries goes this dish was a pretty successful one, the thicker noodles hold their own and the crispy shallots, crunchy peppers and tangy pickle add nice notes of texture and taste.
I can see why Wagamama is a popular chain, it has a very sleek looking menu and the restaurant itself is clean and tidy, basic simple benches around communal dining tables. The food is competent, has interesting flavours and looks good on the plate. I can see how it can be made consistently the same and when you are on for a chain meal that is basically what you want (the same thing every time)
I really am not a fan of the concept of the dishes coming at different times within a 25-30 minute window. It just seems daft to serve people with large plates at different times and sides that really are kind of starters randomly.
I now know that is how they do it, I just think that it would not be that hard to co-ordinate between the stations to time when meals on the same table are ready.
It is early days though and I am sure that once they get up and running that things will run a lot smoother, and if I come again I will be more aware of what to expect
Wagamama in West Bridgford is located at 20 Central Avenue, NG2 7RE right in the heart of the action
I was sent a voucher towards the cost of this meal. The staff on the day were not aware that I had been gifted. I was somewhat ironically given another voucher after some issues with the service.