Wagamama made noodles cool - no longer just the domain of students as they slurp their way through Pots or Supers. The Fleet Street branch delivers the same down to earth service and excellent dishes at reasonable prices.
As Londoners, we don’t much like sitting too close to each other, but Wagamama changed all that with communal dining that creates a really upbeat atmosphere. Fleet Street’s branch keeps to the same rows of wooden long bench seating with accompanying banquet style tables that mean you have to sit right next to strangers. It’s a little difficult to get used to but go through the pain and you may find you like it - and you don't have to talk to them anyway. Otherwise, the decor is pretty bland with cream walls and stone floor tiles and the kind of soft lighting that makes it easy to read the menu whilst still offering a little atmosphere. It’s functional, yes, but Wagamama is out to get the job done. And it does, more or less.
Ah those communal tables. They go against everything Londoners believe in but they do help to get conversations going and soon you’ll feel at ease. It’s not easy to have a romantic tete-a-tete, sure, but then there are always expensive restaurants for that kind of malarkey. Here, it’s all about good food served quickly. The staff are especially adept at aiding this, dashing in and out, making sure you’re served quickly and efficiently and always doing it with a smile.
The food is why Wagamama is always busy, with the Fleet Street branch being a prime example of an eatery that’s almost always rammed. The portions are big so you can forego the edamame beans (even if they are delicious) in favour of a well priced main that will sate your appetite on a budget. The menu is designed to be user friendly with all their terms explained clearly so you don’t get any surprises when the food arrives. The seafood ramen (£9.95) is always pretty good, arriving as a huge bowl of noodles in a well seasoned vegetable soup. The prawns are well cooked, plump and sweet and the accompanying squid isn’t at all rubbery, instead offering a nice, tender texture to the soup. A big selection of seasonal greens that retain crunch add a fresh dimension to the dish, whilst spring onions pep it up nicely. It’s hard to go wrong with this dish. Alternatively, the chicken katsu curry (£8.75) is also excellent, comprising a meaty chicken breast deep fried in panko breadcrumbs to offer texture, served with a medium hot, spiced curry sauce and sticky white rice. Both dishes are very filling and a great way of eating out for under a tenner – not easy to do well on Fleet Street.
The Fleet Street Wagamama offers a succinct wine list that's helpfully simple, with prices starting at £14.90. There’s also a good choice of bottled beer selected to complement the food, including Asahi, Kirin Ichiban, Tiger and Singha. A handful of cocktails and strong choice of soft drinks finish off the selection, none of which add considerable expense to the total cost of dining.
The Last Word
Wagamama is famed for its consistency and the Fleet Street branch doesn’t let the side down.