One of my traditions when travelling is having food at Wagamama in London Heathrow Airport, it doesn’t matter what time it is (time goes out the window when travelling), I always get the teriyaki chicken donburi and the chilli and garlic edamame. I also love Wagamama for eating on my own or for a quick bite after work, so I was thrilled to be asked to try their new summer menu*.
We were lucky that the sun was shining, so Sam and I were in a summer mood when we arrived at the Lothian Road branch on Tuesday at 7pm.The restaurant was busy, which is great to see, especially now that there are 3 different restaurants across Edinburgh. We received a very warm greeting and we were seated at a table for 2 beside the window. I think of Wagamama with their big wooden tables and communal dining culture, which makes it a great place for dining solo because it’s not formal seating, but this branch also has a number of individual booths. We were introduced to our server Naomi, who was friendly, Japanese and definitely knew her stuff. Naomi presented us with the menu, which consists of a mix of new and classic dishes and she pointed out the new introductions for us. These are clearly marked on the menu, so customers can see with ease, any new dishes.
Drinks were up first and the new Nix and Kix soft drinks caught my eye. I decided on the cucumber and mint one, whilst Sam ordered a super green juice. Normally at Wagamama all of the food just comes as and when it’s ready, but Naomi was extremely flexible and offered us our sides as starters and said we could order our main courses after. She gave us some recommendations and also let us know that we could make modifications if we wanted to change any of the dishes. We started with some chilli and garlic edamame – how could I resist?! – and also the tama squid, which is a new addition. The edamame was as delicious as ever, they always have so much flavour, and I thoroughly enjoyed the tama squid. I’m a big fish fan and these were like a lighter version of a fish cake; lightly fried balls of squid with a tasty okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise drizzled over the top.
Once our starters had settled, we let Naomi know which main dishes we would like, and Sam ordered the classic teriyaki lamb. The new dishes on the menu revolve around healthy eating and veganism, but not being a vegan myself, I chose the new chicken harusame glass noodle salad. Although 9 times out of 10 I will choose a meat-based dish, there are plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans at Wagamama. We also took this opportunity to order some of the new Mio sparkling sake; I fell in love with sparkling sake when we visited Tokyo, so I was delighted to try this one. The sake was light and refreshing, so it matched perfectly with my salad, which was very tasty and after one bite I was happy with my choice. It had many of the components that the teriyaki chicken donburi has (chicken, carrot and pea shoots), but a lighter dressing than the teriyaki sauce. The added fried shallots gave the salad a nice bit of texture and flavour, I would most certainly have this dish again. I think Sam enjoyed his lamb because it was gone pretty quickly! I managed to grab a quick bite and thought it was great. I’m not a huge lamb eater, but this I could eat again.
Although we were full, we had spotted the banana katsu on the menu and we couldn’t say no. Naomi offered to bring us some green tea before dessert, which we gladly accepted. The tea was subtle and a great way to cleanse our palate and settle our stomachs. The banana was coated in panko breadcrumbs and served with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream. Every dessert should taste this good. I could have eaten the whole thing to myself, but luckily I restrained, and we even had some left over – I’m not sure how this happened either.
I always know what I can expect with Wagamama and it never disappoints. The summer menu offers some delicious new dishes, but also all of the old favourites. I’m looking forward to my next airport stop in a couple of weeks!
*Although our main meals were complimentary, all opinions are my own.