Yesterday evening I one of ten people to be invited to sample dishes at Wagamam, The Printworks. For anyone who isn’t familier, Wagamama is a quality Japanese restaurant and takeaway where the menu, is influenced by pan-Asian dishes including curries, chilli dishes, ramen (noodle soup) and stir-fry, as well as fresh juice drinks.
After previously reading the menu and selecting a dish I thought I would like (i’d never been before so I was basing this on the combination of ingredients), the chefs and food physiologist Christy Ferguson selected three other dishes they thought I would like based on my palette and emotional response to flavours.
For my first dish I was pleased when Head Chef Steve had chosen Chilli Men and swapped the wheat noodles to rice noodles without me having to ask. Rice noodles are definitely my thing now. The dish was surprisingly light but also satisfying and tasted as colourful as it looked. It also contained exactly the right amount of chilli for my palette . Usually chilli dishes are either way too mild or nicely hot to start but then have me begging for a glass of milk half way through.
Christy told us that chilli gives a rush of endorphins to the brain and citrusy foods can have an energising and uplifting effect on our mood. Apparently it tends to be confident people that choose chilli. I do think you would have to be a bold person to order a hot chilli dish.
Next up was mushroom ramen. I’m a very recent convert to mushrooms and the way they look can still freak me out a little but I’m learning to judge dishes mainly with my sense of taste and smell. The assorted mushrooms where cooked perfectly and had a wonderful texture. The soup absorbed their deep earthy flavours and the basil and ginger created a wonderful balance of flavours. This was really filling and comforting dish. I still have no idea how to eat a bowl of noodle soup using a folk and a spoon without getting the entire amount of noodles wrapped around my folk though!
With the last dish I cheated a little and asked to have the yasai katsu curry, which I’d picked previously but never eaten before. This coconut curry tasted gorgeous along side deep fried sweet potato, aubergine and butternut squash. I do order sweet creamy coconut curries fairly regularly when I dine out but this dish was uniquely uplifted by a welcome contrast of tangy Japanese pickles on the side. Wow! It was like bumping into a dear friend that you haven’t seen for ages and hardly recognising them.
We found the firecracker dish to be beautifully sweet, sticky and hot – a little too hot a times!
I will definitely be coming back and ordering a side dish, desert and more of those amazing Japanese pickles with my meal.
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