A little trip to Wagamama
I had a work related meeting in town today so inevitably the baby had to come with me. That little imp follows me wherever I go….can’t get rid of him. Anyway, the meeting finished at 12 and we were both hungry. As I am still getting to grips with the idea of taking food out the house with me I had nothing to offer A bar a few Ella’s melty puffs which is not exactly a balanced lunch. I needed to choose a venue that was loud, informal, and where getting messy is part of the fun. Oh hark! There is a Wagamama. Win.
I admit that since Deliveroo entered my life I have had more takeaway Wagamama than actually dined in the restaurants. To be honest it had fallen a bit out of favour with us as I had eaten a couple of bad yaki udons and living in London there just seemed to be better options elsewhere. Nothing much seems to have changed in the interior (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing..) but the menu has definitely had a revamp. There are loads of new vegan options, supported by cheery staff donning bright green T-shirts just to make the point.
A was given a clean high chair and a colouring in sheet and crayons which I got loads of entertainment out of while it was probably a little beyond my nine-month-old’s age range. Happily for me, the high chair was brought with minimal fuss – I loathe being in a restaurant where half the furniture has to be rearranged to accommodate a chair. As if parents don’t already have a neon sign over their heads saying ‘Hey! I am here and I am going to be bloody loud and messy!’
The children’s menu – a new foray into the unknown for me – is extensive and has loads of options which do not differentiate too much from the main menu which is a real plus. This place would cater for most types of weaners – there are ramens and spoonable rice dishes for traditional weaners and lots of noodle type things for the baby led weaners. As I am a terrible mother I thought about none of this – I actually made my decision for A’s meal based on what I fancied having a taste of, which today was going to be katsu curry and breaded cod bites. At £4.95 it still cost less than most of the appetiser dishes so seemed to be really good value.
The meal came and it was as hot as the sun. The cod bites had been deep fried and brought straight to the table which for an adult would have been great, but for a baby meant that a very quick interception was necessary to blow on it like a maniac to cool it all down. Same with the freshly cooked rice. Five minutes of mad blowing later, and with A pinching more and more from my own plate of yaki soba, his food was cool enough to eat and he really tucked in. The katsu sauce was a winner as was the cod. In fact, the whole meal was delicious and he was clearly enjoying it. It was a shame I had forgotten to bring a bib with me as he ended up with curry sauce all down his crisp white front. Perhaps something that could be provided in future. In addition, it was a shame that the plate provided was made of some bloody heavy ceramic material. Looked lovely, but meant that I basically had to weight it down with my elbow to prevent A using it as a musical instrument when he realised he could pick it up and drop it back on the table.
The guy serving us was efficient, friendly and took a real interest in how we were both getting on. I love places like that – it is hard (and brave!) enough for parents to take babies out for meals without staff making them feel uncomfortable and here we really felt at home.
The final wow for me was being able to take our food home so I could munch on it for dinner later. I know a lot of places no longer allow this so I was grateful that it was possible here, as even with the best intentions A only managed half of his meal. But he IS only nine months old so I am not going to worry about it.
Overall, lovely venue with a clear focus on healthy food, great atmosphere and staff who really showed that they cared. More attention to detail over the temperature of the food would be helpful as some parents might forget to check how hot it is. I also wonder whether Wagamama might consider providing disposable bibs as their food is inherently messy for adults, as well as kids and babies. And get those plates changed as there will be more smashes than in a Grecian taverna. BUT we shall be back, and who knows – next time I might even let A choose his own dinner.
N.B. We visited the Ealing Broadway branch at 12.30pm on Thursday 28th June.