Wagamama - St Albans

Christopher Place, St Albans, AL3 5DQ

Things seem to move fast at Wagamama - the Asian inspired, noodle restaurant chain that was started in 1992. As soon as you decide what you want to eat, your order is taken via a PDA, and wirelessly networked to the kitchen, so it can be made fresh and served right after. The restaurant chain does not believe in taking reservations, and all customers are seated on a first come, first serve basis. In fact, be aware that most of the tables are long ones and you will often be asked to share them. The restaurants are modelled on traditional Japanese ramen bars that have been popular for hundreds of years - ramen are Japanese style noodles, served in a meat-based broth, topped with pork, dried seaweed or even corn.

Things seem to move fast at Wagamama - the Asian inspired, noodle restaurant chain that was started in 1992. As soon as you decide what you want to eat, your order is taken via a PDA, and wirelessly networked to the kitchen, so it can be made fresh and served right after. The restaurant chain does not believe in taking reservations, and all customers are seated on a first come, first serve basis. In fact, be aware that most of the tables are long ones and you will often be asked to share them.

The restaurants are modelled on traditional Japanese ramen bars that have been popular for hundreds of years - ramen are Japanese style noodles, served in a meat-based broth, topped with pork, dried seaweed or even corn. Chilli beef ramen, made of noodles in a spicy pork and chicken soup topped with a marinated and grilled sirloin steak and fresh vegetables, is hearty and satisfying.

Apart from ramen, you could opt for the coconut soup based kare noodles or teppan, cooked on a hot, flat griddle. They also offer many rice dishes like katsu curry, chicken fillet deep-fried in panko breadcrumbs, served with a lightly spiced curry sauce and sticky white rice. Vegetarians are definitely not ignored, as they can opt for saien soba, made using whole-wheat noodles in a soup topped with stir-fried vegetables, seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil and garnished with sliced spring onion.

Meat and vegetable dumplings, skewered chicken, deep-fried prawns and raw salads double as both sides and starters. Steamed green soya-beans, called edamame, go well with drinks - hold them up to your mouth and squeeze the succulent beans from the pod. If you've noticed, Wagamama is more about eating healthy food fast and less about the order. Don't be surprised if you're served the main course before the side dish - order isn't important, the aim is, don't wait - just tuck in and share.

Wash down your meal with sake, plum wine or even a Japanese beer. Wind up your meal with coconut reika - three scoops of dairy coconut ice cream topped with a fresh, tangy mango sauce and toasted coconut flakes or the tamarind and chilli Pavlova, with a crunchy meringue base served with a raspberry and tamarind sauce.

At Wagamama, you can also shop for cookbooks, sauces, ramen bowls and t-shirts. The restaurant is all about enjoying genuine, reasonably priced, Pan-Asian cuisine in a sleek but informal setting.

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Fast Food, Japanese

: 12:00 - 23:00
: 12:00 - 22:00

Reservations: 01727 865122

Christopher Place, St Albans, AL3 5DQ [Map]

£15.00    £26.00

(Avg Price is the average cost per person for two courses, coffee, half a bottle of house wine and tip/service)

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