Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Wagamama, Leeds

A big steaming plate of noodles is just what you need after a hard week’s work so last Friday night we paid a visit to Wagamama.

Who am I kidding? ..... A few glasses of Pinot Grigio are just what you need after a hard week’s work but supplementing that with some noodles is not a bad idea! We started the evening in the Radisson hotel bar, where I drank the place dry of Pinot. I only had one, it just happened to be the last glass in the last bottle. Ah well, we wouldn’t be staying long as we were meeting one of A’s work colleagues visiting from America to go somewhere else for a drink and possibly some food. And hotel bars are notoriously expensive.

As a Leeds food blogger of some months now, I rather embarrassed myself by drawing a blank when asked by our visitor where was good to eat. I seem to be doing this a lot recently which is strange as I have had some really good meals in Leeds city centre. My excuse is that I hadn’t really thought it through, having raced off to the supermarket after work and then raced into Leeds to get there for seven. Luckily, A suggested Wagamama, a great choice!

The restaurant is a series of long bench tables, so there is an air of community to the eating experience (or communism*, if you prefer). No meat and potatoes here, though. Instead, the menu is a selection of noodles, rice dishes, and those watery-soup noodle bowls (called Ramen, I believe). These never look that appealing to me so I ordered some chicken gyoza followed by Yaki Soba – chicken, prawns, some vegetables and thin noodles.

The chicken gyoza were lovely – steamed dumplings with a dipping sauce. Sadly I had already laid into them before remembering the photo....

Yaki Soba is a generous portion but is quite light and so easy to clear your plate. I added a little chilli oil, which is available on the table, just to spice things up a bit.

Another bonus is that Wagamama** has added Pinot to the wine list – I always had to have a Rose on previous visits which doesn’t quite float my boat.

I like the way the waiters take your order and write your dish numbers on your place mat. I like the way they bring the food out in any order without rigid rules about courses (a touch of anarchy*). I like the way you can hang your coats up in a line on the wall - a bit like being in primary school. I like the way you can eavesdrop on other people’s conversations. I also liked the food and the company.

*Please note references to political ideologies within this post are purely accidental – next time I may be reviewing a Liberal lunch, a Marxist breakfast or even a Tea Party.

**Wagamama has a motto: “positive eating + positive living”. I can just imagine a load of marketing apprentice-types sitting around a boardroom table brainstorming this wonder of a catchphrase. What I want to know is, what is negative eating? On second thoughts, probably best not to think about that!

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