During another flying visit to town we were again left with the question of what to have for lunch, this time Wagamama’s was decided on. Our only previous experience with Wagamama’s, Peterborough had been a disappointing takeaway from a couple of months back however given that this was ordered in their first week of opening I’ve decided to wipe the slate clean and give it another chance to see what it’s got.
We were quickly seated in a booth much to Annie’s happiness as she dreads the “shared table” seating of some noodle bars (I think it’s something to do with an anxiety surrounding the sharing of condiments but who knows) for starters we decided to share the old classic of pancakes and duck while I went for the Donburi and Annie chose the Salmon Teriyaki Soba. With orders placed a glance around the restaurant proved pleasing with the Asian-style bench seating faithfully copied but with modern touches and an open kitchen. With the bar behind us it was a pleasant place to while away some time however I do wish they’d made the seating a little more comfortable as after an hour I felt like I was losing some feeling in my legs.
Our starters were the first to arrive and we tucked in expecting the same thing that can be found at any Chinese restaurant however came away a little disappointed. The Duck meat itself was lovely but far to sparse, the cucumber and spring onions again were fresh and juicy however the Cherry Hoi-Sin sauce gave a sweet taste that I couldn’t quite decide if I liked or not, but the pancakes were altogether a disappointment as they came out hard and liable to cracking under pressure. With that shifted away mains were placed in front of us and, famished as we were to this point we dug in. Annie’s was, and I quote, “super nice but I wish they’d added more veggies” and on taste I agreed with her, the dish was well seasoned, and the salmon cooked well, however, a bit of filling out from the extraordinary range of Asian vegetables would be a welcome addition. For my own dish I can say I was pleasantly surprised it was a large bowl full of a rich medley of duck, spring onions, vegetables and a crispy fried egg which to my amazement elevated the dish to another level I didn’t think possible as it mixed with teriyaki sauce and created a velvety texture with deep flavour. The one Add-on to my dish that I really was excited about was a small bowl of Kimchi. Kimchi is something I’ve been fascinated by ever since first hearing about it. It is the Korean national dish however if you talk to certain Koreans it is so much more than that, to some it is the symbol of their nation and there have even been competitions necessary to produce a way of producing Kimchi that could be taken on space travel missions, so Korean astronauts would not have to do without it. At its essence Kimchi is a very simple traditional dish sort of like pickled cabbage in a variety of spices, however there are many different recipes and it is said nowhere outside of Korea gets it quite right. Now I don’t know about that having never been to Korea, but I was willing to believe it after tasting the Kimchi. It certainly wasn’t unpleasant in fact it gave an interesting edge to my dish, however you can’t help feeling whenever you have something like Kimchi in a Franchise setting its never quite done right, and it felt a little underwhelming compared to the dish that obsessed an entire country of people.
Finally, for the scores I’d give Wagamama’s Peterborough a 2 out of five for food, this sounds harsh but really it was simply good, dependable food with odd flashes of deliciousness but with one or two let downs. For service a 3 out of five as again it was fine but did little to blow our minds and was often fairly rushed and finally for atmosphere I feel a 3 satisfies here as the cool décor and relaxed atmosphere did make for an enjoyable lunch. This leaves Wagamamas with a score of 8 out of 15.
Been to Wagamamas? Think I’ve been unfair? drop me a comment below would love to hear what you think.