Sunday, 11 June 2017

Review of Wagamama's New Summer Menu

A few weeks back, I was invited to check out the new Summer menu at Wagamama, Bull Ring. I'll be honest, although Wagamama is a very popular chain restaurant, I have never visited. I had a rough idea about the sort of cuisine that is offered here: Far Eastern fusion cuisine. I visited with an open mind and was looking forward to trying new and exciting dishes. Centrally located at Birmingham's Bull Ring, opposite St Martin's Church, the restaurant is light and airy and there is an open plan chef kitchen where you can watch the hard working chefs prepare  delicious meals.  The restaurant seating has long tables instead of usual circular tables, which gives it more of a social feel.

There were quite a few bloggers who attended and sampled the new Summer menu.  There was an emphasis on pairing alcohol to the new Summer dishes, which I found exciting, as again this was something new to me.  All our dishes were shared between my fellow bloggers so we could sample all the new dishes but not be overly stuffed. One thing I really liked about Wagamama is that all the dishes have nutritional information, which is quite a rare thing for restaurants, so you can enjoy your meal, whether you are watching your waist line as you have the opportunity to make wise choices. First up was the Repair Juice, which consisted of Kale, Apple, Lime and Pear at 186 calories. The juice was fresh and to be honest, I didn't know that Kale could taste so good. The Repair Juice was a palette cleanser which set up my palette for a wonderful range of fusion dishes.

Next up was the Beef Tataki, which is described as "lightly seared, marinated steak, thinly sliced and served chilled. Dressed with citrus ponzu and Japanese mayonnaise and served with a side of pickled beetroot and coriander. This is the first time I've ever ate uncooked beef, I was a little unsure what it would taste like. As the beef was thinly sliced and marinated in citrus, this made the dish safe to eat. The beef was tender, melted in my mouth and the dressing complimented beef.

I also sampled the Seared Nuoc Cham Tuna, which alongside the Beef Tataki the tuna was rare. I normally like my meat and fish cooked medium, I asked how long this was cooked for. Our attentive chef advised me that the tuna was cooked on a high heat for 30 seconds and then left to cool so the heat can be evenly distributed inside the tuna. The seared nuoc cham tuna steak was served on a bed of quiona with stir-fried kale, sweet potato and edamame beans, red onion and peppers, garnished with coriander. I found the dish to be very light and refreshing.

The above two dishes were paired with the New Zealand Yealands Estate Land Made which was crisp and zingy and complimented the fish courses well.

The following dish that I sampled was the Grilled Beam Donburi, fillets of sea bream dressed in a spicy white rice and teriyaki sauce. This dish also had carrots, pea shoots, spring onion and coriander with a side of kimichi. Our chef advised us to add the kimichi to the Grilled Beam Donburi which added a tangy flavour to it.

In between the courses there was beers to  compliment the grilled beam donburi. I love fiery and flavoursome curries and the next dishes to sample were the Chicken Samlay curry and Yasai Samla Curry. The samla curry consisted of a fragrant, spicy lemongrass and coconut curry with chicken, peppers, shiitake mushrooms and baby plum tomatoes. This was served with white rice and garnished with spring onion, chilli and coriander.

Our last savoury offering was the Sticky Pork Belly. The sticky pork belly was glazed with citrus and teriyaki and served with grilled miso aubergine,  spring onions, ginger and chilli. I absolutely adored the pork belly, it had a sweet tang to it and the pork belly in this dish was moreish. In fact, this was my favourite dish of the whole meal. I really enjoyed the pairing with aubergine - a pairing which I've never considered before.

After the feast of the savoury dishes was a trio of desserts inspired by the Far East. The first dessert sampled was the Lemongrass and Lime sorbet. Sharp, sweet and a palette cleanser, this dessert was refreshing and ideal if you fancied a lighter dessert.

Following the sorbet was the Chocolate Layer Cake, which was gluten free. The chocolate layer cake reminded me of Ferrero Rocher. Surprisingly, I found the cake to be light and the vanilla ice-cream complimented the chocolate layer cake.

Our final dessert was the Yuzu and Lemon Tart which was served with a raspberry compote. In case you are not aware (which I wasn't) Yusu is a Japenesse citrus fruit. This dish reminded me of a lemon custard tart. The pastry was crisp, the filling well set and I enjoyed the combination of the yuzu with the raspberry compote.

Disclaimer: I was invited to Wagamama to sample the new Summer menu. All opinions are my own.


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