Wagamama’s – still a bit rubbish

wagamamas_wellington1On the back of 2-for-1 vouchers (courtesy of the Wellington Entertainment book) Laura and I, and a few others, headed to Wagamama’s for a meal the other Friday night. Having previously tried the place after it just opened, we thought we should try it out and see if it had got any better since then. Last year our impression was bad, perhaps things had improved in the year since?

Short answer, they hadn’t.First up, it’s fair to say the place looks stylish and modern and it has a great location on Wellington’s waterfront. Other than that, there’s simply not much going for it. The biggest problem is that the food just isn’t that nice. Here’s the range of meals eaten, and comments about them.

First up, my chili steak noodles. A large bowl of fairly bland soup with some noodles which hadn’t spent much time in contact with the rest of the meal, so they too were pretty tasteless. The sliced steak still had gristle on it (normally removed in most Asian food of this kind) and didn’t taste of anything much other than grilled steak swimming in soup. It was clear there had been no effort was made to marinade the meat. The rest of the dish consisted of bean sprouts and a few sprigs of green stuff. Overall, fairly disapointing and bland. But at least it filled me up.

With it I ordered some fried squid with a lime sauce (seen in the picture above). The squid was fine, but the lime dipping sauce consisted of, as far as I could tell, vinegar with a tiny hint of chili and a squeeze of lime. It was utterly tasteless despite how forcefully I dipped my squid bits.

Other meals included chicken katsu where the katsu curry sauce tasted weaker and less flavourful than the stuff you can get in a packet in the specialty section of the super market. Worse, the sauce didn’t come with the usual bits of carrot and potato leaving the diner with a meal consisting of fried chicken fillet, bland curry sauce and a serving of rice. That was it. Food pyramid be damned!

Worst of all was a coconut curry with lamb served over rice. Five gristly pieces of lamb and a handfuls of rice was how my friend described it. He was pleased we went out for desert after (to Pravda, excellent by the way) as he didn’t leave Wagamama’s feeling full.

The final thing that really bugs me about the place is that claim that delivering the food as and when it comes out of the kitchen somehow means the dinners get the food fresh. Frankly, I find the idea ridiculous. This freshness claim is made so that they kitchen can run more efficiently and the owners can make more money and it just isn’t nice when you get your meal first and your buddy doesn’t get his for 10 or 15 minutes. Worse, when Laura’s meal arrived she found it wasn’t even particularly hot! How come other restaurants have mastered the art of delivering *shock horror* all your meals at once, and hot, but not Wagamama’s? Are they lazy, or just incompetent?

Our advice. Don’t bother. Take your money and go eat at just about any other Asian restaurant in Wellington. You’ll enjoy the meal more and you’ll probably pay less as well.


4 comments so far

  1. fox on

    Wow – I read your blog about Wagamama Wellington and strongly disagree on this. I’ve been to Wagamama restaurants all around the world – Love the concept – Love the atmosphere ! If you’re looking for precious, over the top dining out then Waga’s aint the place. Yes, it’s a little unconventional with the dish delivery. It’s not traditional i.e your comment on the Katsu – the chicken katsu is one of my favs – but never claimed to be – fresh food fast but not fast food. I think Wagamama is a great alternative to Burger King..It’s not Logan Brown but it’s really nice, simple, and good all up…I’m a fan …

    • TinyPirate on

      I guess I will have to disagree. I’ve been to Wagamama’s in London and it was ok, but either the Wellington one is bad or the chain in general produces expensive, tasteless food everywhere and I’ve forgotten.

      As for precious and over-the-top dining, well, Wagamama’s is that when compared to just about any other Asian eatery in Wellington. As for the unconventional delivery, yeah, that’s a nice way to say they are trying to make the most money as possible by avoiding things like worrying about delivering food hot and all at once. They didn’t even manage the ‘hot’ when we were there.

      If you want alternatives to Burger King you will pay half as much at KK Malaysian, R&S Satay Noodle House, Oaks, KC Cafe, Cha, Seoul House or Miyabi, and the food will be a lot tastier.

  2. Natural Treatments : on

    the food pyramid always calls for low carb and high protein diet but ease up on dairy products as well`:.

  3. chris on

    the food is simply not nice. period.

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