Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Wagamamas Has Summer Cooked Up

Unless you've been living in a hole, you'll know by now that I love my food.

It doesn't matter whether it's gourmet, fast, or home cooked, because I love it all. However, above all else, I love food to be bursting with flavour and packed with fresh, healthy ingredients.

For this reason, Wagamamas has always been one of my favourite places to visit after a long morning of shopping. In fact, it was at Wagamamas (after a day of suit shopping!) that I first realised I would end up marrying hubby. We weren't even together yet, but why let that stop me?

So, when my favourite journalist and good friend Emma invited me along to test their new summer menu, I was pretty darn excited - and not only because it meant a night off baby duty.

Like all Wagamamas, the restaurant we visited (at the Waterside in Brindley Place, Birmingham) was minimalistic and friendly. It made a quiet retreat from the noise and bright lights of neighbouring Broad Street, and I would imagine it is lovely on a balmy evening, when you can enjoy a few drinks along the canal afterwards. Of course, it bucketed it down the night we went, so that wasn't an option...

As we rocked up, we assumed that we would be asked to choose a couple of dishes from the six new courses that Wagamamas have on offer this summer. How wrong we were.

Instead, we got to taste every single one. Oh, and two full-sized fresh fruit juices, not to mention the three glasses of red I hastily necked back...

Although I am not a huge fan of fruit juice, the two new ones on the menu - mango, apple and orange juice and strawberry, apple, orange and mint - were deliciously refreshing. My favourite of the two, the strawberry juice, actually tasted a little like Pimms, and you can't argue with that...

wagamamas juice
Juice! Lots and lots of juice

On to the new starters, and we were presented with Beef Lettuce Wraps and Summer Rolls. The lettuce wraps were packed with slow-cooked shredded beef, red onions and chillies and served with a chilli dipping sauce, which provided plenty of heat. It actually set my tongue on fire. Meanwhile the Vietnamese-style Summer Rolls were deliciously light and moreish, thanks to the subtle chilli and coriander sauce. I had to stop myself from diving headfirst into the bowl.

wagamamas beef lettuce wrap
Beef Lettuce Wraps

Three new salads (a Bean and Glass Noodle Salad, Chicken Miso Salad and Salmon Miso Salad) have made their way onto the menu this summer, and we got to try each. However, it was the veggie Bean and Glass Noodle Salad which was a clear winner for me.

wagamamas noodle salad
Bean and Glass Noodle Salad
I find that so many salads get it wrong on flavour and content, but this gorgeous dish managed to be both light and filling. Adzuki and Edamame beans lay on a bed of glass noodles and rocket, flavoured with a delicious avocado and wasabi dressing. Meanwhile, red pepper, butternut squash and tomatoes were tossed through the salad to add beautiful colour and vibrancy. The flavour of this was just...well, yum!

Last but not least was my favourite dish of the night, the aptly-named Tom Yum soup. Served with either chicken or prawns (my favourite was the prawn!), this dish was absolutely delicious and contained so many of the ingredients I love to use in home cooking.

wagamamas tom yum
Tom YUM!

Thick rice noodles were served in a spicy and tangy coconut and lemongrass soup, while masses of veggies - courgettes, mushrooms, red and spring onions, beansprouts - were stirred through for texture and extra flavour. Even though my trousers were ready to split, I could not stop eating this dish - that's how delicious it is!

It's fair to say that, by the end of the meal, I was fit to burst. I honestly thought we would have to be rolled out of the door to get home. However, it was worth it - the Wagamamas new menu is delicious, and perfect for refuelling on a busy summer's day.

The new dishes are available at Wagamamas nationwide from May 21st. Which will you be having?

Sam x