I forget how good wagamamas can be. The pan asian franchise that stormed into my world several years back now seems to be everywhere but I don’t find that offensive like other chains. Wagamama really do make nice food and when it is delivered to you on one of their snazzy plates the words ‘corporate’ and ‘margin’ aren’t the first words to cloud your judgement.
I used to really like the chilli chicken men. Udon dishes are not my first choice as I really don’t like those thick noodles and the ramon dishes never had the flavours I fancied. I much prefer the thin wispy kind found in pad thai , that did mean in previous visits I would generally buy that one same dish , nice but not particularly daring.
Today I zoned in on the latest offerings on their menu and chose their chicken firecracker, it promised to be spicy and I can confirm the dish was vibrant in appearance and taste.
In the words of the mighty menu –
‘tender marinated chicken breast or prawns stir-fried with mangetout, red hot chillies, red and green peppers, spring and white onions in a fiery sweet and hot sauce. served with steamed white rice and garnished with shichimi, sesame seeds and lime’
My firecracker turned up with that familiar heaped dome of rice, steamy with that zingy garnish, the mound surrounded by chunks of pepper and white onion cuts with spring onion finely chopped like a chive garnish everywhere, then just the right amount of thinly sliced red chilli , most of the seeds removed and for the perfect finish – some of those large long red dried chillis , like the dried kashmiri chillis in the supermarket but with a nice chewy sweet bite. The dish had some heat but not enough to disable the mouth to other flavours.
The sauce is a little thick, nice and sweet with a nutty caramelised flavour and a smokeyness I think comes from sesame oil. I did clock there was a slight lack of chicken , but having complained in the past about a seemingly small portion of meat we were then told that everything is weighed so you should never get swindled in one of their restaurants even if it is not intentional. I think I got around a chicken breasts worth in the end as some of the chunks were hidden by the rice, that is pretty fair really.
The edimame and lollipop prawns served with caramelised lime sauce were perfect and the amazing fruit juice to finish, with a zingy peppery taste that makes you think of an oriental summer daydream, topped off a nice clean meal.
With recent restaurant visits, to other places, it’s nice to go back to wagagmamas to remind yourself that their prices might seem high but so are their standards and the quality of what they produce.
Perfect Sunday dinner for me today, me and my flatmate had a nice meal, obviously good meals come from a few factors and this one was the opportunity to go out for food while my flatmate’s baby daughter was out playing with her dad. It gave us an hour to visit an eatery we haven’t been to in awhile. Our last visit was 7 months ago so today was quite a treat. Was not disappointed.
Wagas, let’s not leave it so long next time.