Thank god for wagamama.
Getting back from a sunshine break often leads to a case of holiday blues; returning from a dream honeymoon is next level torture. Having spent the past two weeks in nothing less than 25 degree sun surrounded by cocktails and gorgeous food to say I was gutted about getting back to the daily grind was an understatement.
Luckily our return flight landed early Sunday morning, allowing us a full day to get prepared for the working week ahead. And by ‘get prepared’ I of course mean head to our local for a restorative pint. Some of our friends kindly agreed to come and congratulate us on getting hitched and unsurprisingly one drink turned into a few pints, and we whiled away a few hours in Sun on the Hill (where Ian and I actually spent our first ever date) before we headed off to find food.
In need of a carb hit but not wanting pasta (considering we went to Rhodes we ate a lot of this on honeymoon) we opted for a tried and tested favourite: wagamama. OK, so it’s not the most imaginative of choices, and there are lots of fabulous independent restaurants offering epic Asian eats within the confines of the city centre, but we needed safe familiarity – and big portions. I’m greedy, what can I say.
The 30-second walk from the pub made the New Street branch of wagamama the ideal venue for supper, and armed with a 5 pint hunger we grabbed a table in the (surprisingly quiet) restaurant. Deciding to stick to what we knew – mainly because I’d already had enough faff at the airport that morning – I opted for Chicken and Prawn Pad Thai (£10.25) whilst Ian ordered his usual: Yaki Udon with Soba Noodles (£9.95).
The combination of sweet and savoury flavours gave the noodle dish some punch and the large amount of prawns was welcome. Additional mint provided freshness and the dish overall was just as I’d hoped. I also like their Raman bowls when the cold weather hits, so I think one of those will be my next port of call.
We also ordered Chicken Gyoza (£5.95) and Chilli Squid (£6.25) which both arrived quickly and with plenty of the accompanying dipping sauces. The dark glossy soy sauce dip is my firm favourite, and I love the strong garlic bite; delicious with the griddled dumplings. Ian loved the crispy pieces of squid but noted the portion was smaller than usual.
A solid and (happily) predicable meal at a chain that, I personally think, offers much more than others of its popularity. The staff were attentive and polite, making the experience enjoyable and relaxed.
You can find other city centre branches in the Bull Ring and Brindleyplace, but if you’re in the Chinese Quarter I’d give Chung Ying Garden a go for your noodle fix.
Wagamama, 98 New Street, Birmingham, B2 4HS
Disclosure: We paid in full. All honeymoon blues and up close noodle pics are mine