Wagamama, has just opened its doors to their biggest restaurant in the UK â€“ the 295-seat restaurant is located in Manchester’s Trafford Centre. I was invited to the press day, but unfortunately was working and could not make it. Lucky for me I was able to make the next day when they were having a friends and family day prior to opening to the public.
The press release says â€œManchester residents and visitors will be invited to enjoy a variety of new and classic dishes from the brand new seasonal menu, including wagamamaâ€™s famed ramen; bowls of fragrant soup filled with noodles plus meat or vegetables. Spice enthusiasts can enjoy the much-loved prawn firecracker, and the new tofu chilli salad offers a fresh and crunchy treat. The menu also boasts favourites such as the chicken katsu curry; succulent chicken breast fried in golden breadcrumbs, served with the famous katsu curry sauce, rice and salad. Those after a light bite can enjoy small plates such as chicken gyozas or edamame beans shaken with chilli and salt, alongside an extensive choice of fresh juices, desserts and beverages. Thereâ€™s also a range of dishes designed especially for kids.â€
â€œA central open kitchen will form the heart of the new Manchester restaurant adding theatre for diners sitting by the chef’s table. The new venue also boasts an upper mezzanine level, which overlooks the restaurant below. For guests who fancy a quick bite, the iconic wagamama canteen-style benches are here to stay, but for a longer dining experience to enjoy with friends, breakout areas and booths have been brought in.â€
I really loved the booths, so much more intimate when you are on a date. No knocking elbows with strangers or having to wiggle to get off a bench when nature calls, donâ€™t get me wrong I love the bench seating when a big group of friends go to Wagamama, but when it is just Mr CK and I, I like to be able to hold hands, share bites to eat across the table and chatter.
On to the important bit, the food! It has been a while since I have been to Wagamama, I last went when we still lived in Cambs. I was impressed with the changes to the menu, it seems much more concise now and more interesting.
Mr CK chose the katsu chicken, the chicken was perfectly cooked, crispy, and moist chicken, not oily, the katsu curry sauce unfortunately did not live up to the â€˜famousâ€™ tag, there was nothing wrong with it, it was just not very exciting and a bit gloopy. The accompanying rice and salad were good, the dressing on the salad was great.
I had the Firecracker chicken, it was an outstanding dish, spicy from chillies and shichimi. Stir fried chicken, crisp vegetables, perfect rice. I really wished I had asked for a doggy bag as I would have happily had this for supper.
We also shared a side of wok fried greens, this consisted of tenderstem broccoli and bok choi, with garlic and soy sauce. We both loved this dish, it was so tasty and the veggies were absolutely perfectly cooked. They had a lovely bite to them.
The portions (for us) were big, I really struggled to eat all of mine. Mr CK still had room for a pud though so he had a mochi ice cream trio. I had a little nibble of each, I loved the raspberry & the toasted sesame. The coconut was a bit weak, I thought it was vanilla at first. Mr CK prefered the sesame one, he thought it was really nutty tasting.
All in all, this was a great meal, our server Daisy was bubbly, enthusiastic and sweet. We will be back, but with friends so we can try more of the menu. If Wagamama read this, please put a sharing platter on the menu so us lovebirds can have a bit of everything.
(I was a guest of Wagamama â€“ the meal and drinks we had were complimentary. All opinions are mine, excepting the wording in the press release)