Saturday, 23 March 2013

Wagamamas - Review

Itame Yasai - £8.65

I don't really think there is any point in writing introductions to my Mercury reviews anymore. First of all, my reviews introduce themselves and second of all, posting them on here, a few days after they have been published on the site is such a, well, routine. And routines exist, I suppose, so pointless explanations like this don't have to.

Food Review: Wagamama
Address: 2 Leopold Square, Sheffield S1

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As much as I try to concentrate on local, independent operations in Sheffield, you sometimes just want to sack off all the risk-taking and run along to the old-faithful. It’s a bit like Sunita’s affair on Coronation Street – in the end, she just wanted to be back with solid and dependable Dev. Sometimes familiarity is the nicest thing.

After being seated at one of the large canteen-style benches at the Leopold Sqaure branch, a friendly waiter came over to ask whether we had been to Wagamamas before.

Now, if the restaurant worked in an unconventional way like, I don’t know, you had to write your menu choices on your forehead and recite the lyrics of Food Glorious Food for someone to come and take your order then it might make sense to explain it. Wagamamas just works like any other restaurant though and so I think what they’re trying to say here is that it’s possible that not all your dishes will arrive at the same time.

If you’re a bit wary about Japanese food, thinking it’s all uncooked fish and weird, salty tasting sauces, you should definitely order a katsu curry. You will be fed either healthy chicken or obese chicken (the chickens are, as far as I know, uniformly farmed but the fried stuff will make you obese and the grilled stuff might make you thin) covered in chip shop curry sauce (£9.40). There is also a deep-fried veggie option (obese) which I ordered (£8.45). Katsu curry is so cutting edge that I don’t think the Japanese have even discovered it yet. The fools!

The traditional Japanese dish: Yasai Katsu Curry - £8.45
My fellow diner ordered Itame Yasai (£8.65), which is also newly available with prawns (£10.85) or chicken (£9.75). The itame contains a ton of fresh ingredients for the price you pay: beansprouts, chillies, red and spring onions, bok choi, pepper and mushrooms.

Wagamamas are perhaps the only company I know to suffer from reverse Creme Egg syndrome. What I mean by this is that usually, everyone complains that manufacturers make their products smaller (whilst simultaneously increasing the price “to take account of inflation” aka to buy a new company car).

Now, ruling out the fact that I have unwittingly become Benjamin Button, I believe that over the years, the portions have expanded. This is a company policy that should be applauded and applied to boobs, wine bottles and Jammy Dodgers; wouldn’t THAT be a party you’d want to be invited to?Having said all that, when you go to these chains you do hope that the economies of scale are paying off. In return for sacrificing any hint of passion or individuality, you should expect to pay less than, say, a family-run noodle bar.

What makes me sad about Wagamamas is the price of the desserts. A slice of (admittedly, very tasty) white chocolate and ginger cheesecake costs a whopping £5.10. They’re just pushing their luck a bit, aren’t they? Let’s conservatively assume that there are 12 slices per 1 mass-produced cheesecake. Do a bit of maths and you will soon discover that this cheesecake is worth £61.20.

A 'taster' dessert (white chocolate and ginger cheesecake) with a double espresso. This is a new thing they do that I didn't mention in the review because I ran out of words. Very good though. 
Shave a quid off the desserts, keep making the portions bigger and I’m yours, Wagas.

Wagamama on Urbanspoon

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