Where I ate:
Wagamama, Westfield Stratford, London
I think everyone is aware of my love for Wagamama, I’m forever craving ramen or katsu or soba – so when I was on the way back from Barnet and passing through Stratford, it was a no-brainer. Jake had never been before (I still can’t get my head around it when people say they’ve never eaten there before – err, why not?), so I was really hoping it was worth the long wait, especially as I’m always talking it up.
I love how informal it is – it’s so cosy inside and often you’ll find yourself sharing a bench with other diners. The food is so simple and quick, but despite the speed, you’re never in any rush to leave and you’re not being made to either.
There was a queue outside the restaurant, what with it being a Saturday evening and after being handed the menu, I soon knew what I was going to order. After a five minute wait, we were taken to our table.
What I ate:
Seafood coconut broth, followed by mix it up mocha
I always have the beef teriyaki soba as it’s quite frankly the best thing on the menu, by a country mile. Having browsed the website earlier in the week, I noticed a number of summer specials (which are still on the menu btw, marked ‘new’) and the seafood coconut broth really stood out above the rest. It’s a mixture of all my favourite things – broth-based, noodles, seafood, heaps of coriander... it’s making me hungry just thinking about it. When it arrived, it looked exactly like the picture – beautifully presented, with a lovely fragrant smell. I ate the mussels first as they’re so fiddly but the soup was packed full of prawns, squid and scallops, with tenderstem broccoli, flat noodles, coriander cress and fresh red chilli. There was just enough heat, balanced out by the sweet coconut and portion-wise, I don’t think I could have eaten any more. Hopefully it’s become a permanent fixture on the menu, I could well be my new favourite.
I followed the main course up with another new dish and a dessert first introduced to me at Yo! Sushi – mochi. I couldn’t decide which flavour to try so I thought what the hell and chose the mix it up, a combination of raspberry, coconut and sesame – all filled with ice cream. The bite-size blobs were a real delight, not at all sickly or stodgy and I could probably have eaten two portions quite easily. I couldn’t decide on my favourite – either the coconut or sesame. I really wanted to take a picture of it, but I couldn’t help but demolish the plate as soon as it arrived... the placemats don’t do it justice at all!
I finished with a cup of green tea (which is free at Wagas – winning!), before getting the bill and training it back to Shenfield. I’d love to know which leaves they use as the tea is so much nicer than any I’ve ever bought and made at home.The service started well but slowly deteriorated – everything was brought to our table in a funny order: my main meal, followed by Jake’s 10 minutes later and then the starter five minutes after that. It just made the whole meal feel disjointed. The same happened with dessert – I finished mine before his arrived. It was a shame because on previous visits, at other branches, there’s never been a problem with the food coming out together and in a structured order. I suppose the food court was heaving and people were queuing outside so they wanted to get people in and out – that said, I found our dinner to be leisurely and as always, very enjoyable.