Friday, September 29, 2006

wagamama, Bridge Street, Sydney

wagamama, Bridge Street, Sydney
Friday 29 September, 2006

The premise behind wagamama is positive eating + positive living and as they boldly state on their website and menus,

'at wagamama, we celebrate consistency and quality in everything we do. Our ethos, developed since the first wagamama opened in London bloomsbury in 1992, is to combine great, fresh and nutritious food in an sleek yet simple setting with helpful, friendly service and value for money.

Our group of 7 arrived on Friday without a reservation. Fortunately you never have too long to wait at wagamama. We were seated at a large share table (the whole restaurant consists of large share tables witimmovablele bench seats) and for the first time I noticed the almost hidden bench under each table where you can place your hand bag/ personal belongings. Very smart. The interior is sleek and all the Australian sites have been designed by Idiom Design. The restaurant interior does not encourage a long lunch - it's fast and fresh.

The menu's are enormous and explains the approach,

'wagamama is modeled on the ramen stalls of japan that have been popular for over 200 years. We don't have starters at wagamama instead we offer sides, which are the perfect complement to your meal. Individual selections of your side dishes and main meals will be delivered at different times. this is because all dishes are cooked fresh to order and delivered straight to your table rather than sitting under heat lamps waiting for the other dishes to be ready. we want your food to be as fresh and delicious as possible! The idea is don't wait. just enjoy the wagamama experience. We hope you enjoy your meal.'

Each menu outlines the variety of meal offerings from ramen, katsu, salads, teriyaki, wok, kare noodles, teppan and extras. It's quite a read. The staff wander through the restaurant with electronic ordering machines that contributes to the hip and happening vibe. However, once you order they handwrite the number of your menu item (e.g. 76 = Chicken tama rice) on your paper place setting. Go figure.

Our group ordered and other thing to be aware of is that the food comes out as soon as it is ready. So, it is quite likely that your group will not eat together. Some will get their meals immediately and others will just start as you are finishing. I decided to choose something completely different and went with the chicken tama rice - grilled chicken with stir fried courgette and shitake mushrooms in a wine, garlic, ginger and egg sauce served with japanese style rice.

I regretted it as soon as it arrived - it was an enormous bowl of rice swimming in the sauce with some chicken on top. The sauce tasted like thin, watery gravy. I didn't enjoy it all. That'll teach me - next time I'll return to ramen or kare noodle dishes.

wagamama's - 38 Bridge Street, Sydney - T: 9252 8696


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