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Wagamama’s, Touchwood, Solihull B91 3GS

Wagamama's, Solihull

It’s always a bit messy eating at Wagamama, a Japanese noodle bar originating in London and now a chain seemingly as widespread as McDonalds. The dishes are usually some combination of noodles and soup and are eaten with a small flat wooden ladle and/or chopsticks. Slurping noodles that wriggle endlessly from the bowl throwing their sauce all over the place.

Wagamama design is simple, clean, minimal and modern. Long wooden tables, fresh white walls, a light and airy feel. There is a long stainless steel kitchen bar where you can see and hear your food being made. The staff bustle around, take your orders by pda, bring dishes out as they are made and squiggle their version of kanji on your paper placemat. I always think I am in New York when I am in Wagamama’s.

Yasai itame, Wagamama

Yasai itame, Wagamama

The last time I was there I had the Yasai Itame: “stir-fried bok choi, fried tofu, red and spring onions, red peppers, portobello mushrooms and beansprouts. served with rice noodles in a spicy coconut and green chilli soup. garnished with coriander, mint and a wedge of lime”.

It’s a big bowl of noodles, deep-fried silken tofu, vegetables and green curry soup. The soup is not that hot-hot but can be warmed up by adding more red chilli oil from the big glass drizzler nearby.

Wagamama is a European Modernism version of a Japanese fast-food noodle bar that offers lots of “positive eating” for a vegetarian: good choice of meals, protein rich tofu, wonderfully filling food and no cheese in sight.

Make sure you ask for a green tea.


[MP. March 2009.]

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