Posted by: Hungry Korean | October 13, 2010

Waga what?

Our first day in London, after a long day of sightseeing, Cookie Monster suggested we stop by this ramen shop near Harrod’s for a late lunch, Wagamama.  Because of the strange name, I recalled a friend from college talking non stop about this place while she studied at the London School of Economics for her junior year abroad so I was keen on trying the place. I mean she talked about it alot so it had to be good, right?

The place reminded me of Republic in New York in the stark minimalism of the room and the fact that the place is communal dining.  Also, like Republic, the restaurant serves up asian fare with a focus on noodles.

We started with some edamame that was clearly overcooked (they were quite dry) and seasoned too liberally with salt (and it tasted like table salt because the kick of the salt was too strong to be sea salt).

We also got the peking duck dumplings with plum dipping sauce.

Innards:

These were probably my favorite of the meal. Crispy fried outside stuffed with a generous amount of rich dark duck meat.  The plum dipping sauce was somewhat sweets so this had a flavor of a savory dessert in a way.

For main, Cookie Monster and I both got the chicken ramen.

Now the description on the menu stated that it was slices of chicken, ramen noodles, baby spinach and bamboo shoots in a pork and chicken broth. The pork and chicken broth is what drew me. If anyone knows real deal ramen, it’s all about the broth. I’ve had some of the best in NY  as we have quite a few traditional Japanese ramen houses there and Setagaya in NY is one of the best (in my opinion).  Setagaya adheres to tradition and spends hours upon hours making their rich delicious broth and serve it up with hand pulled noodles.  This broth at Wagamama was bland, easily too watery and really did nothing for the noodles. No long simmering here. Noodles were not hand made but the bamboo shoots and chicken were well seasoned and quite full of flavor. They were the saving grace.  Overall, though, we were happy to have somewhat of a healthy meal since we knew our dinner would not be.

Would I go back to Wagamama on my next visit to London, no. But it served to fill our empty stomachs with some light healthy food.

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