The Wagamama festive menu is here (but should it be?)
Everyone will be familiar with Wagamama, the Asian-style chain that emphasises speedy dishes out the kitchen and staff who draw on your placemat.
To celebrate the festive season, it's unveiled a new 'Party Menu' – a bevy of sharing starters and mains – that aims to get 'the party' started. Does it rev up the festive fun? Or, like an abusive Grandma on too much eggnog, does it spoil the Christmas cheer?
Wagamama (here forth referred to as simply; Wagas) hasn't made much effort to transform its clinical atmosphere into something more Christmassy. Remove the party menu from the tables, and you'd be hard-pressed to guess the season, the month the holiday; you get the picture.
But that's not necessarily a negative. Wagas is good at one thing, and that's getting piping-hot Asian food from the kitchen to your belly as quickly as possible. Fortunately, it doesn't disappoint in this regard.
The party menu offers guests a selection of unlimited sided (including the all-new hirata buns – skip the salmon version, order many of the crispy chicken with Japanese mayo and coriander). After that, you get a choice of main course (ramen noodles, katsu curry, rice bowls, etc.) and a dessert of Japanese mochi balls and a selection of Asian-inspired sorbets.
The staff are quite friendly and helpful, in that forced-at-gunpoint kind of way that many chain restaurants specialise in.
When asked why they continue to scribble the order on the paper placemats of diners (before surreptitiously inputting that same request in the handheld device that notifies the kitchen of what people want to eat) the staff continue to maintain it's for 'writing down your order'.
Indeed, even at Christmas, there is a fine line between restaurant flair and wanton misdirection.
So is Wagas party menu aptly named? Or merely a seasonal cover up to disguise regular Asian dishes as festive food? A bit of both.
But the spirit of the season is apparent. Wagas is a great low-cost option to celebrate the holidays with friends and family, along with a variety of tasty dishes.
After all, isn't that what Christmas is all about?
Al Fattan Towers, The Walk, JBR, Dubai, 12 pm to 12 am, Dhs99 unlimited sides with main, Dhs109 unlimited sides with main and dessert, Dhs129 unlimited sides with main, dessert and drink. Tel (04) 399 5900. Taxi: Al Fattan Towers.