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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wagamama, Sydney

wagamama menu

I still remember the first time I ever ate at Wagamama. It was in Dublin of all places, and after a relentless fortnight of fish and chips, seafood chowder, pub roasts and haggis around England, Scotland and Ireland we were dying for a re-acquaintance with Asian.

Chopsticks were pined after like a long lost lover, invoking dreams of graceful wooden limbs and the delicate transferral of tasty morsels to the mouth. Rice is nice, and stir-fried garlic and ginger were craved for with a feverish yearning I never thought possible.

So when we happened upon Wagamama on South King Street, we were--needless to say--utterly overjoyed. So much so that we ate there not only for lunch, but six hours later for dinner as well.

Later, when I was living in London, Wagamama was a relatively cheap easy option for a pre-movie or theatre feed. The communal tables were somewhat heartening in the busily indifferent city, and Japanese dining options were always somewhat limited anyway (to my continued dismay).

The first Wagamama in Australia opened in Sydney’s King Street Wharf in May 2002 and nine have since sprouted with more to follow. What struck me most was how the visual identity and branding of this global franchise has been remarkably consistent the world over. The menu designs are the same, the communal seating is standard and even the food presentation looks eerily similar.

Photos taken at Wagamama Bridge Street, Sydney:
Edamame steamed green soy beans stir-fried with
chilli and garlic $4.00

Chicken ramen topped with slices of grilled chicken,
seared greens, menma and spring onions $13.50

Steamed rice $3.00 with pickles $1.50

chicken katsu
Chicken katsu curry $14.50
Chicken deep-fried in panko, served with a light curry sauce

and Japanese-style rice, garnished with miso leaves and red pickles

banana katsu
Banana katsu $8.00
Crispy breaded bananas with coconut ice cream

served with cinnamon syrup

I've eaten twice at the Bridge Street outlet and each time I am reminded how lucky we are in Sydney. We are blessed with a fantastic Chinatown, a diversity of gastronomic hotspots throughout the suburbs and more Japanese sushi trains and noodle bars than you could poke a chopstick at.

You'd think it'd be like selling coal to Newcastle but obviously there's a market for positive eating + positive living.

Personally I prefer the grime of a dodgy foodcourt, although admittedly dodgy eating + dodgy living doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

wagamama sydney

Bridge St, Sydney 38 Bridge St, Sydney
Tel: + 61 (02) 9252 8696

King Street Wharf, Sydney
49 Lime Street, King Street Wharf, Sydney
Tel: + 61 (02) 9299 6944

Crown St, Sydney
241 - 247 Crown Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
Tel: + 61 (02) 9380 4820

The Galeries Victoria, Sydney
Level 1, 500 George Street, Sydney
Tel: + 61 (02) 9264 9155

Parramatta, Sydney
Brandsmart Riverside Centre, 330 Church Street, Parramatta, Sydney
Tel: + 61 (02) 9687 1600

Sydney International Airport
Terminal 1, Pier B, Airside Departures, Mascot, Sydney
Tel: + 61 (0) 2 9693 8525
14 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 10/27/2005 11:56:00 pm


  • At 10/28/2005 1:07 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yer right..! truly lucky to be in sydney.. :)

  • At 10/28/2005 4:18 am, Blogger Cat said…

    ive been on the search for vacuum sealed soybeans - edamame beans they are? i dont suppose you would know of a place to buy them online would you? :)

  • At 10/28/2005 5:55 am, Blogger deborah said…

    selling ice to the eskimo's.

    while you can find better japanese food elsewhere... their desserts are quite nice. banana katsu --- aaah!!!

  • At 10/28/2005 9:55 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Funny. The first place I had wagamama was in dublin too, and in the exact same situation and I loved it.

    Now that I am back in Sydney. Any other dodgy food court still does better in my opinion. Nonetheless it is fast, generic and pleases everyone more or less. Anyone that professes to think it is true Asian food though gets me mad.

  • At 10/28/2005 10:17 am, Blogger Ed said…

    They don't seem to have hit the mark here like they did in London. We used to queue up after work to get a few minutes at a communal table in their Soho joint. I've been to the Melbourne one a few times but have been very disappointed in the food. They are opening more franchises in Australia as well. I think to them its about the business now not the food. McNoodle!

  • At 10/28/2005 11:22 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    dude you should try the chocolate wasabi cake! heh we supply most of the cakes for wagamama

  • At 10/28/2005 1:00 pm, Blogger santos. said…

    >dodgy eating + dodgy living

    dang. is it too late to change the name/theme of my blog? ;)

  • At 10/29/2005 9:02 pm, Blogger Reid said…

    Hi AG,

    Interesting. I think the fried banana at the end looks great! I wonder if I can make something like that at home. The Filipinos have lumpia and in Singapore you could get goreng pisang. Hmmmm.

  • At 10/30/2005 12:40 am, Blogger Kalyn Denny said…

    I am intrigued by the stir-fried edamame. Do you actually eat the pods? I've never seen them served that way here (Utah, USA) although the edamame is pretty easy to find, even in Costco.

  • At 10/30/2005 3:36 pm, Blogger Robyn said…

    Dude, all that food looks SO GOOD! I'd want the curry! And the banana! FRIED FOOD, OH YES.

  • At 7/27/2006 9:06 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hmmm idunno, the first time i ate there it was a bit tasteless, lacking the 'real japanese' taste, but this was quite a while ago, maybe it has changed.. but it ur looking for some ramen, nothing can beat ichiban boshi!

  • At 1/27/2007 6:13 pm, Blogger rameniac said…

    geez i didn't realize you guys have wagamama in sydney now too. is that a good thing? hmmm... i always wind up there when i'm in the UK, usually out of sheer desperation at the dearth of noodle options available in the rainy home of your commonwealth brethren.

  • At 8/22/2007 3:07 pm, Blogger Sydneyguy said…

    I find the place a bit pricey for what looks like a small portion of food!! The food itself is average to me but my friend loves the place!!

  • At 8/24/2007 10:54 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Sydneyguy - Wagamama is a little pricy, but as you point out, it definitely has its own happy market :)


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