Sunday, 24 July 2016

Wagamama Union Square (Aberdeen): Review

With the sad news that Wagamama in the Academy Centre in Aberdeen was closing down, I had the ultimate fear that Wagamama would be no more in Aberdeen. A popular joint, I was relieved to hear that the HQ of Wagamama Aberdeen located in Union Square, Aberdeen's largest shopping and leisure centre, was stating open. Phew and phew.

A few weeks ago the general manager, Stu, connected with me on Twitter  after he'd seen online that I was a fan of the restaurant. Generously, he invited me along to try out the fast-paced Japanese cuisine Wagamama specialises in. Not one to usually visit chain restaurants (I'm all about eating local and indulging in artisan restaurants offering), Wagamama is probably one of the only chain restaurants I would actively seek out. It's freshly made dishes hitting the table as soon as they are ready, you're guaranteed to receive hot, tasty food fresh off the stove.

Of course, there was no chance I was going to pass up this offer without inviting one of my favourite Aberdeen bloggers along for the experience. Queue the entrance of the fabulous Sarah from Blogs, Vlogs, Etc. Now good friends, I'd met Sarah at my first ever Aberdeen bloggers meet up - otherwise known as #abzmeet - and decided this would be a great opportunity for us to catch up. And yes, in true Julia fashion, the boys got dragged along too.

Arriving at the restaurant, drinks were on our minds. The fresh juices at Wagamama's are really refreshing and always seem like the healthier option in my mind - whether they are or aren't is another question. A fruit juice featuring apple, orange and passionfruit and a tropical juice with mango, apple and orange were Sarah and I's drinks of choice, smooth and fresh, these lasted us the whole meal which I was rather surprised at.
For starters we shared ebi katsu, crispy fried prawns in panko breadcrumbs, served with a spicy chilli and garlic sauce, garnished with lime, and the chicken steamed gyoza - five steamed chicken dumplings served grilled with a dipping sauce. Both dishes boasted plenty on the plates to share and were a nice, light, dish to begin.

A chicken katsu curry regular, I felt obliged that I needed to try something different. Pushing myself outside my comfort zone, I decided it was time for a change, enter chicken raisukaree. A mild coconut and citrus curry with chicken, mangetout, peppers, red and spring onions, served with white rice topped with a sprinkle of mixed sesame seeds, red chillies, coriander and fresh lime. My boyfriend decided on the chilli sirloin steak ramen - spicy chicken noodle soup, red onion, spring onions, beansprouts, chillies, coriander and fresh lime, topped with tender strips of sirloin steak. Both dishes were very tasty, although I'm not a massive fan of the ramen dishes purely on the basis that I'm a rice over curry and a sauce over soup kind of gal. The chicken was succulent and juicy, and the curry sauce had a light kick to it. The freshly squeezed lime juice was perfect to calm the heat of the chillies and left a refreshing taste in my mouth.

Sarah opted for the chicken ramen, noodles in a chicken soup topped with grilled chicken breast and seasonal greens, garnished with memma and spring onions. Her boyfriend chose my ultimate weakness, the chicken katzu curry - major food envy.

One to usually push my stomach to its limits, with dessert menus in hand, we had made the subconscious decision that dessert was happening. Score.
I've had the coconut reika from Wagamama's before so wanted to try something different. Toying with myself, chocolate or coconut, I turned to our waitress for advice, Chocolate it was. Chocolate fudge cake served with dark chocolate wasabi sauce and a vanilla pod ice cream to be precise. This dish I really, really enjoyed. My favourite part of it was in fact the sickly sweet icing it was encased with. Of course I didn't manage to finish it, but what I can tell you is that all of the icing was devoured in seconds. The banana lover he is, my boyfriend opted for the banana katzu. Banana deep fried in panko breadcrumbs with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream on the side, this dish got a definite thumbs up from him.

Sarah and her boyfriend decided on the passionfruit cheesecake and the mix it up mochi ice cream. A combination of coconut, raspberry and toasted sesame mochi ice cream, the little balls of ice cream were wrapped in a layer of sticky rice, came accompanied with a house sauce. Both enjoyed their dishes, however I think the texture of the mochi ice cream took Sarah by surprise!
A busy restaurant, Wagamama Aberdeen is already very popular. I know so many people who have visited the restaurant over the past few years and have always enjoyed the food and drinks. What I never hear of is people trying out different dishes, so people of Aberdeen, I dare you to go visit the restaurant soon and try out different dishes. I did, and I loved every single one of them. Let your tastebuds relish in the different tastes of Japanese cuisine and get yourself to Wagamama to try something different now - be adventurous.

   For Now...

Just Julia

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