Eating Out With Kids: Wagamama (Review)

Last week we were invited to visit our local Wagamama, Japanese restaurant as part of an occasional new series on eating out with kids.

My friends and I use to be big regulars at Wagamama in Bloomsbury, London, just the best place to go after an evening’s work in the theatre!

In case you aren’t familiar with Wagamama, it is a nationwide chain of restaurants inspired by Japanese noodle bars, and is renowned for fast, fresh food that is full of authentic Asian ingredients.

Everything is cooked to order with the freshest ingredients, so will come to your table as and when it is ready.  You can eat in – and enjoy the famously friendly service – or order your favourite Wagamama dishes to take away.

The menu consists of side dishes, main courses (including the famous Ramen dishes from those original noodle bars), and desserts, with some amazing drinks and juices.

The restaurant design is modern and minimalist, and your order will be taken by highly efficient waiting staff who zap it through to the kitchen on a handheld device, so that cooking can begin immediately.

We ordered our delicious drinks - Orange Berry Bang Juice (orange, mixed berries & passion fruit) for Lara, and lovely plum wine for Steve and I - and browsed the menu.

Lara was given her own menu, starring cute little character 'Hoshi' (meaning star in Japanese) and some crayons to colour in with.

One absolute joy for us at Wagamama is that as soon as we look at the menu, we can relax – there are so many Vs!!!

Eating out as a vegetarian can sometimes be a bit too predictable for comfort – would you like the beany chilli thing or the pasta?

Often only one of those is on offer. But at Wagamama there are vegetarian versions of most of the dishes, or ones that could only ever be vegetarian. Bliss!

The same goes for the children’s menu – and there more than one veggie choice is almost unheard of! But here Lara was presented with several dishes to choose from.

She loves noodles, so opted for the mini Yasai Yaki Soba - fried noodles with tofu, egg and vegetables, which Sophia helped her make light work of!

Sophia is nine months now and getting more and more into this eating thing, so as well as having titbits from Lara's dish.

And she had lots of tasty morsels from the wonderful Chop Salad we ordered - miso marinated fried augbergine, baby plum tomatoes, avocado, caramelised red onions, pumpkin seeds, roasted sweetcorn, red cabbage and mangetout tossed in a miso dressingand garnished with celery cress.  Yum!

The deliciously flavoured Yasai Pad Thai - egg-fried rice noodles in a tamarind sauce with fried tofu, beansprouts, leeks, chinese chives, spring onions, garlic, ginger, mint and chillies.

Garnished with coriander cress, fried shallots, peanuts and lime - was a bit spicy for the girls, but made me very happy!

All of our food was as fresh as could be, and absolutely delicious, there was hardly a thing left, despite the generous portions.

The girls had an absolute ball, and were waited on attentively by our lovely waitress.

Sophia usually sits on one of our laps at the moment, but at Wagamama she had her first highchair experience.

It was one that bolts on to the table edge, which meant she was right up to the table and, most importantly for her, the food!  She loved it.

Lara refused to use the 'baby' chopsticks and got stuck in with the adult ones, making a very good job of it!

We also indulged in some yummy desserts, not something I had tried at Wagamama before.  We had a chocolate fudge cake - complete with wasabi chooclate sauce! - and passion fruit cheesecake, plus four spoons!  Both were delicious.  Lara had asked for one of the real fruit ice lollies, but found it a bit much, so next time we would order her a portion of the vanilla ice cream instead.

Main courses are priced around the £7.50-10 mark, and the children's menu is very reasonable.

Thank you so much to all the staff at Wagamama, Gunwharf Quays for our lovely evening, and to the PR company for arranging it.

If you fancy something different for lunch or dinner, you really can't beat the relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere and great food.  Enjoy!

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