Restaurant reviews

Wagamama: Celebrating 10 years in Leeds!

Wagamama in Leeds (not the one in Trinity Leeds – the one on Greek Street!) recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. This made us realise how long this wonderful city has been our home as we remember it opening, and as part of the celebration we were invited down to see precisely how the restaurant has evolved and improved during its time in Leeds.

The original philosophy was all about positive eating, but the idea of slurping down ramen and enjoying coconut ice cream wasn’t quite what the general public was used to! That said, the quality of the food, and the fact Wagamama was so informal on the one hand yet special enough for a celebratory occasion on the other, meant that it was always going to work in Leeds.

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Heading down to try out the restaurant, we realised that this was our first time going to a Wagamama restaurant with our little girl. A quick search on the Wagamama website showed us that not only do they offer a children’s menu but one that is ideal for helping to give kids a balanced diet whilst avoiding high salt content. With this in mind, when we ordered our one-year-old the mini grilled fish noodles, we knew that the food was going to be fresh, well-cooked and tasty, without relying on fat or salt to give it some flavour. So many restaurants fail to achieve this balance. Not only this, but in case you fear that the table set-up might not suit little ones, the clip-on high chairs work perfectly.

For us, we have our favourites that have stood the test of time but still love trying new offerings from the menu. This was epitomised by the fact that we opted for duck gyoza (a long-standing favourite of ours that simply makes us want to keep coming back and back and back to Wagamama!) alongside the Korean barbecue beef and red onion hirata steamed bun. The latter was absolutely divine.

The old/new theme continued with our main dishes. I ordered the chilli ramen (though nowadays I opt for the steak rather than the original chicken option) and Charlotte opted for one of the more recent additions to the menu: the teriyaki beef brisket. This was tender, perfectly cooked, and as sticky as you expect a good teriyaki to be.

As we sipped on our green tea (the traditional and always free part of Wagamama!) after enjoying a super green juice, one of the hallmarks of the original ‘positive eating’ experience, we realised that the one thing that really has changed over the years is the dessert menu. The original desserts were delectable, but there wasn’t much choice! Nowadays, while we are still great fans of the white chocolate ginger cheesecake (which Charlotte went for on our visit and loved!), we were able to try new and different options which led us to try the mix it up mochi.

These little rice balls filled with ice cream and in three different flavours (toasted sesame, raspberry and coconut) were refreshing and different.

Perhaps it is this ability to surprise diners in a positive way that has seen Wagamama keep improving in Leeds over the last 10 years and why we continue to come down to the city centre to enjoy the food there.

Where it is: 31-32 Park Row, Greek Street, Leeds LS1 5JD 
Reservations: 0113 243 3468

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