Wagamama, Leicester, August 2016

I am using Wagamama throughout this post as I disagree with the lower case w at the start of their name.

I seem to be writing a lot about chains at the moment. Our travels over the last couple of months have involved visiting quite a few chain places, but they don’t always have to be bad.

Wagamama is another in the list of “good chains”. There’s been a lot written about the homogenisation of our high streets in recent years, but a little standardisation (although not too much) ought to be a good thing, because you can go to a new town or city and if you’re not prepared to take a risk, you can find somewhere to eat where you know what you will be getting.

Wagamama has been with us since 1992 when the first one opened in Bloomsbury. There are now over 140 of them around the world, with most being based in the UK. But you can also enjoy Japanese ramen style eating in Cyprus, Denmark, Kuwait, New Zealand and Slovakia, to name but a few.

With the redevelopment of The Shires shopping centre in Leicester, which became Highcross Leicester in 2008, a range of new cafe/restaurant/bar chains arrived. Wagamama was one of these. The redevelopment has left Leicester at the forefront of East Midlands shopping experiences, and it’s somewhere we often find ourselves when we actually have to leave the house to buy stuff (it’s nice to see the physical product on occasion).

Tonight we’d had a brief shopping trip so were looking for somewhere to eat without too much fuss and delay (because there are Olympic sports to be watched!) It took no time at all to decide to pop in here for dinner, and as it was a quiet Tuesday evening it took no time at all to get seated and order dinner.

Both myself and Mrs MOFAD went for our favourites. For me that’s chicken katsu curry, for Mrs MOFAD that’s teriyaki chicken donburi. Here’s that curry:-

They have also upped their beer game in recent times. One of the latest additions to the menu is this Hitachino Nest White Ale, a Japanese wheat beer. This is a very interesting beer indeed, with coriander, orange and nutmeg flavours lurking within.

As you might expect, these flavours go very well with Japanese cuisine. This might be the best beer match I’ve yet spotted in a chain restaurant.

Wagamama is a good chain. It works. A good choice of food, an excellent beer and when these both match up in a relaxed atmosphere, you have a great informal dining experience that works well if you’re watching the clock, but is also good if you have more time on your hands. If you have a choice of chains on your local high street, this one won’t let you down.