When a friend let me know that the new Wagamama on New St were holding an opening event in which you got a free meal for giving your opinion, I knew I had to get involved! Otherwise I probably wouldn't have rushed to visit this new restaurant. I've been to Wagamama in Solihull and at Brindley Place, I felt I knew what it was all about.
The new restaurant is a big change and a big improvement. Gone is the white theme and in comes wooden tables in a variety of arrangements- some for couples or fours, some of the long communal tables and a bar around the open kitchen which is where we sat. At first I found it a little uncomfortable watching the chefs at work- I felt bad sipping my wine as they slaved away grilling and stirring and plating up. Once I got used to it (and they basically didn't notice us as they were so busy) it was pretty interesting to watch.
The menu has changed and now includes some very tasty looking 'chef's specials'. I know a lot of people have a favourite which they always go for at Wagamama but I don't so I was excited to see some new options. I plumped for teriyaki lamb chops while my friend Sophie chose her favourite chicken katsu curry. Our free meal could include sides OR a dessert and we chose dessert, though the sides looked super tasty. I would definitely like to try chilli squid or prawn lollipops in the future.
Sophie's curry is a favourite with a lot of people- I've never tried it but she said it was delicious. Panko breaded chicken is served in a tasty (not too spicy) curry sauce with salad and sticky rice. There was a LOT of rice, she couldn't get through it. I liked the idea of breaded chicken with a curry sauce.
I loved my lamb cutlets! I particularly enjoy cutlets or chops anyway, and combined with a tasty, sticky teriyaki sauce they were even better. I liked the addition of red chili slices to add a little heat. The cutlets were seriously satisfying. They came with udon noodles and some greens which rounded off the meal perfectly. This was a great plate of food and I'm excited to try some more of the specials, such as pomegranate glazed poisson.
Then we moved onto the puddings. I had high expectations for mine seeing as I had given up prawns for it! I chose the banana katsu which is panko breaded banana, deep fried and served with salted caramel ice cream. I loved the idea of translating the katsu curry idea into a dessert and I love salted caramel.
Well, my high expectations were met. The breaded banana was a fun texture and the salted caramel was a dream!
Sophie went for mocha balls- little balls of coconut, raspberry and toasted sesame flavoured ice cream coated in a layer of sticky rice. As fun as this sounds, we both felt this dessert was a little uninspired. The sticky rice didn't add anything texture or taste wise- I would rather have a crunchy coating or nothing at all.
While we were waiting for our food we had a go at making an origami star using the instructions on the table. It was harder than it looked, mine looked more like a frog, boo!