When we moved to Leamington Spa Wagamama had only just opened and as Mini Gourmand had never visited before I took her for her first meal and she has been hooked on Chicken Katsu since then. Fast forward 18 months to Mr Gourmand and Baby Gourmand’s first visit to Wagamama.
When you enter through the revolving doors you are greeted with a fabulous bar area which is the only one outside of London, there are a selection of tables at the window where you can choose to sit or wait for friends which look directly out onto The Parade which is perfect for people watching. I believe this branch serves a selection of cocktails however we were not provided with a bar menu so I’m unable to comment on those.
The interior is extremely light, spacious and has a fantastic vibe. Decor is neutral and there is a lot of beautiful lighting. My favourite feature is the huge ornate mirror above the fireplace, I imagine that the room that houses the restaurant was originally a ballroom when the building was all a hotel.
One good thing about Wagamama is that it is extremely family friendly, on our arrival we were asked if we needed a high chair and were supplied with crayons and a colouring sheet, I originally thought Baby Gourmand would be far too young for crayons but he surprised us by doing a little scribble, then trying to munch on the crayon like a carrot stick.
Our waitress Laura took our drinks order and left us to peruse the menu. I hate the menu in Wagamama, don’t get me wrong there isn’t actually anything wrong with it. My problem is that I want to eat at least 8-10 things on there during each visit and although I’m a gourmand by name and nature it isn’t actually possible to do so which makes my decision really difficult.
After taking time out to laugh at Baby Gourmand pulling faces we were ready to order our food. We’re a family of sharers so decided on two starters each, a main course each and 1 side which was originally a healthy option for Baby Gourmand to munch on.
Mini Gourmand’s choice for one of the starters was the Ebi Katsu (£6.95) which is basically deep-fried prawns in panko breadcrumbs. served with a spicy chilli and garlic sauce and garnished with a wedge of lime. Even Baby Gourmand enjoyed this starter although he did try to shove the whole thing into his mouth including the tail so Mr Gourmand had to extract it and deliver it in smaller portions. The prawns were delicious, breadcrumbs were crispy and the chilli sauce was perfect in flavour and strength.
My choice for a starter was the Chilli Squid (£5.75) which is basically deep-fried squid seasoned with salt and shichimi. served with a chilli and coriander dipping sauce. Baby Gourmand made sure he tucked into this starter too although he didn’t sample the dipping sauce. Mini Gourmand commented about how so many restaurants just can’t seem to get squid right meaning it’s either tough or isn’t cooked enough. The Chilli Squid from Wagamama was perfect, tender, delicately spiced and the dipping sauce added both a sweet and sourness to the dish making it one of those dishes you wish you had ordered two of.
A creature of habit, Mini Gourmand ordered the Chicken Katsu Curry (£9.50) chicken breast deep-fried in panko breadcrumbs served with a curry sauce and sticky white rice. garnished with dressed mixed leaves and japanese pickles. I always wish she would try something else from the menu but I suppose the saying goes if it’s not broken don’t fix it and she always has a satisfied look on her face after cleaning her plate.
Mr Gourmand wanted to try something new and different so went for the Mahi Mahi Curry (£9.95) which was grilled mahi mahi fish in a spicy curry sauce with sweet potato, red and green peppers and mushrooms. served with rice and garnished with coriander cress. Not wanting to miss out I had a mouthful and was pleasantly surprised because it was so delicious, the sauce had a delicate spice but was also slightly sweet. Baby Gourmand gave the fish a thumbs up by demanding more of it, the boy has a real love of fish and seafood so it seems!
I decided to go for something different and picked the Teryaki Soba Beef (£13.95) which was grilled teriyaki beef on a bed of teppan-fried soba noodles with curry oil, mangetout, red and spring onions, beansprouts, bok choi and chillies with yakitori and teriyaki sauce. garnished with coriander and sesame seeds. Steak is another favourite of Baby Gourmand so we shared this dish. The flavourings worked together so well on this dish and the steak was cooked to perfection, It’s the first time I’ve gone for a noodle dish at Wagamama and I will definitely be back for more after sampling this particular one.
I actually ended up eating most of the Wok Fried Greens (£4.25) that we had ordered for Baby Gourmand as he decided that he preferred the meat on this occasion and the green stuff was for wimps. I actually thought the tender stem broccoli and bok choi, stir-fried in garlic and soy sauce was a delicious if not simple dish and could have quite happily had this as a main course with some steamed rice.
Our total bill including drinks came to £58.90 which is more than acceptable for the amount of food and drinks we consumed.
We left Wagamama with full stomachs and smiles on our faces, mainly because Baby Gourmand had behaved himself impeccably. The staff at the Leamington Spa branch were attentive and extremely friendly and I would not hesitate to go back again.
If you’re ever in the Warwickshire area and fancy some good food, cooked well which is good value for money you will be very welcome at Wagamama Leamington spa, the old regent hotel, 95 parade royal, leamington spa, CV32 4AY.
*I received vouchers towards part payment of my meal. All words are my own and as always my review is honest and impartial*