[Birmingham] A 25-year-old legacy, Wagamama has made a name for itself by serving delectable Asian food that is inventive as well as comforting.
A lively atmosphere mixed with importance given to sustainable freshly prepared food, makes eating at Wagamama, a delightful experience.
Wagamama’s origin dates back to 1992 when its first restaurant opened up in Bloomsbury, London. It was founded by Alan Yau, who is also behind the renowned Chinese restaurants Hakkasan and Yauatcha.
I remember quite distinctly the buzz that it created, and over the years I have fond memories of eating at their London as well as Birmingham venue quite a few times.
Wagamama’s philosophy is to evolve continually or “kaizen” which means “good change.”
They have used this in their food which celebrates bowls full of Asian flavours and ingredients in the most beautiful way possible.
Now, the chain is a household name and one that has earned respect for its food as well as friendly service.
A passionate love for food that oozes from the menu to the final plate is what makes Wagamama special.
Their mantra is to cook fresh and serve as soon as the food is ready.
The dishes arrive on the table in a random order. This might seem unusual, but I prefer to eat my food when it is hot and ready rather than have it wait at the pass.
The menu is quite enchanting with predominantly Japanese and Asian dishes. They also have options for vegan and non-gluten customers in addition to an excellent juice section.
Wagamama’s “communal” style of table set-up has always left me in two minds about the place.
Long wooden tables and benches or chairs means that often you are eating shoulder to shoulder with strangers.
In a way, this brings about a certain closeness, the idea of sharing food as one. However, for someone who likes a little space, this might take a bit of adjusting.
Other than that, the interiors are simple, with lots of light coming in from large windows and an active atmosphere with hardly any space to move around during lunch and dinners hours.
Having a meal at Wagamama and not going for one of their fresh mixed juices is a crime. I stayed on the right side of the law and went with Positive (GBP4.75, SGD8.35) a drink that consisted of pineapple, lime, spinach, cucumber, and apple.
Absolutely lip-smacking delicious is all I am going to say about this glass full of healthy goodness.
For a change, and keeping in mind my ever-increasing weight, I went with two sides instead of a main this time.
The Seasoned Crispy Chicken Steamed Buns (GBP5.50, SGD9.70) had the fluffiest and softest bao I’ve ever had. The addition of sriracha gave the dish a much-needed zing.
I only wish that the two buns were a little bigger.
The Duck Lettuce Wraps (GBP5.95, SGD10.50) with shredded crispy duck, cucumber, tamari sauce, and spring onions was quite summery in appearance.
The wraps were simple, but each bite was crunchy and refreshing.
Eating at Wagamama can at times be a costly affair, but the mains are well proportioned. Plus, the quality of the food makes up for it somewhat.
There are three Wagamama close to each other in the centre of Birmingham.
I mostly frequent the restaurant at Brindleyplace as the vibe of the area is quite alive with many bars and restaurants situated alongside a canal.
The restaurant has free Wi-Fi, and they offer free green tea on request.
Lunch and dinner are especially busy, so come prepared to wait, but the table turnaround time is usually quite fast.
There’s a vibrant aura at Wagamama that I particularly love.
Add to that a sense of informality and the concept of eating together; there is a unique charm to this exceptional space.
Everything aside, the food is bursting with amazing flavours and so full of colour, that I can’t but help recommend Wagamama to everyone for a remarkable culinary experience.
If you are looking for Wagamama in London, there are several branches around, from Leicester Square, Royal Festival Hall (Southbank), Covent Garden, Holborn, Dean Street Soho, Great Marlborough Street, Cardinal Place (off Victoria Street), Wigmore Street and Bankside.
Water’s Edge, 66 Broad Street, Birmingham, West Midlands B1 2HL
Tel: 0121 643 7656
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 11:00pm (Mon – Fri), 11:00am – 11:00pm (Sat), 11:30am – 10:00pm (Sun)
* Written by DFD’s India Correspondent @tickereatstheworld. Raghav is a travel and food writer who enjoys the thrill of discovering new places and writing about them. When he is not working, he can be found driving around his two kids from one birthday party to another.