When it comes to culinary requirements, I have to say that my girls have made parenting pretty easy in that department. They have always been open to trying new foods and flavours, which is wonderful as I like to experiment with a vast array of recipes!
I still remember my Mum’s despair when one of my sisters (you know who you are…) refused to eat anything remotely nutritious all through her childhood and my poor mother having to blend up vegetables to hide in other foods.
One of Lucies particular favourite cuisines is Japanese. From curries to sushi, she adores them all. So when Wagamama invited me to try out some of their best selling dishes, I immediately knew who I’d be taking along with me! It’s not often that I get spend quality time with Lucie these days so I hoped that the lure of Japanese food would be enough for her to keep me company for a few hours.
If you haven’t heard of Wagamama before, where have you been? I jest of course. With over 140 resturants in the UK alone, I think that gives a fair idea of just how popular this chain really is. In fact, when Adam and I were in Amsterdam last year and got tired of walking around in the vile rainy weather, we took shelter in Wagamamas, knowing that we could enjoy a bowl of warming ramen and a few drinks in a familiar setting.
A few weeks ago, the two of us arrived at Wagamama in Spinningfields, Manchester and were greeted by the lovely general manager, Zoe.
After getting settled, we were handed a menu each and Lucie and I spent a fair while deliberating over where to begin! We sought advice from our super-knowledgeable server Damien. After a chat to establish mine and Lu’s tastes, preferences and dislikes, he gave us some sound recommendations. Here’s what we decided on:
The weather was a typical Manchester summers evening. Damp with drizzle yet muggy and warm. When Lucie and I spotted these fresh juices, we opted for them straight away. Lu went for the Tropical Juice, containing mango, apple and orange and I chose the healthy Repair Juice, containing kale, apple, lime and pear.
They were a world apart form the usual processed drinks and hit the spot perfectly. The apple and lime stood out the most for me, with the kale giving lots of healthy benefits, without an overwhelming vegetable taste!
We ordered a plate of prawn gyozas, chicken gyozas and a beef hirata steamed bun to share. The five prawn gyozas arrived fried with a dipping sauce whilst the portion of chicken gyozas were steamed. These little tasty dumplings of goodness did not disappoint! Cooked to perfection and well-filled, they didn’t last very long.
The beef hirata bun was new to us. A fluffy, asian bun stuffed with korean barbecue beef and red onion, served with Japanese mayonnaise and coriander, I was unsure of what to expect. After the first bite, I knew this dish was going to be one of my future favourites. It was truly delicious! I (reluctantly) shared my hirata bun with Lucie, who also declared it to be ‘yummy’. So much so, that we may have ordered more…
We were left nicely filled whilst we pondered over our main courses. With so many lovely offerings, this took us around 15 minutes, however Damien remained patient and we never once felt rushed or pressured.
Once we’d selected our main courses, they arrived in record time and were both beautifully presented.
Lucie had the Ginger Chicken Udon; udon noodles with ginger chicken, mangetout, egg, chillies, beansprouts and red onion. topped with pickled ginger and coriander. She gave it a drizzle of soy sauce and tucked in with no complaints, using her chopsticks like the little pro she is! With plump, soft noodles and a nice mix of flavours, I had a sneaky taste of Lu’s dish and it was just as good as it looked.
I chose the Prawn Raisukaree; a mild, coconut and citrus curry, with prawns, mangetout, peppers, red and spring onions with white rice, a sprinkle of mixed sesame seeds, red chillies, coriander and fresh lime. With the curry surrounding a mound of steamed white rice, it almost looked too pretty to eat. Almost. I tucked in and the chillies began to work their magic. Giving a nice level of heat without burning my delicate taste buds, the blend was spot on. The prawns were a good size and plentiful, with nice chunky pieces of pepper and spring onion.
We thoroughly enjoyed the meals however ended up asking of we could take the remainder home after over-indulging on our extra starters; that’ll teach me to be greedy! Damien helpfully packed our food in easy to transport containers then asked if we would like dessert. Of course we had to take a look at what was on offer, despite being far too full!
In our family, dessert is a big deal. Us girls are all sweet-toothed and big, big fans of pudding, sweets and all things sugary. Obviously, our dentist loathes us! After scouring the menu and fawning over the mochi ice-cream (little balls of
heaven ice cream wrapped in a layer of sticky rice, served with sauce) banana katsu (banana in panko breadcrumbs with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream) and more, we had to reluctantly admit defeat and decline another course.
I think Damien saw the sadness in my eyes as he brought us two natural fruit ice lollies to take home! Despite being a ‘consolation prize’, we ate these in the car on the way home and they were were honestly the tastiest lollies I’ve ever had. With chunks of fresh cherry and strawberry pieces respectively hidden in these bad boys, they were much appreciated!
So there you have it. Lucie and I had a fabulous time and the food, service and atmosphere have gained a 10/10 from us! I’m a little sad that we live in the middle of nowhere and can’t take advantage of the Wagamama take away service but for you lucky folk that can, what on earth are you waiting for?
A big thank you to Zoe, Damien and all of the staff at Wagamama, Spinningfields for a lovely Friday night.
*Our food and drink were provided FOC however all opinions are my own.