This is going to be a negative post, but I can't help it - I have to say this!
We went to the local Wagamama restaurant today because our favourite Japanese restaurant was closed. The last time I have been to one of the Wagamama chain restaurants was probably about eight years ago in London. I wasn't impressed then, but this time I was shocked and appalled!
I had their "yakisoba", as I remembered from the last time that it was quite edible - even if not very Japanese - and unsurprisingly, I thought the same this time. Miles, however, had "miso ramen". I had a taste of that "miso ramen" and I can honestly say that I haven't been as disappointed as that with anything I have eaten for years! And that is including the time I mistook a piece of tree bark for a piece of chocolate. Miles thought it was edible, bless him, but seriously, if someone goes to Wagamama, orders Miso Ramen and expects to get something that even resembles the type of miso ramen they eat in Japan, that someone is not going to be able to eat this dish water of a "miso ramen" they sell at Wagamama. What mockery! It's an absolute travesty.
We also had pork gyoza. They were the most bizarre qyoza I have ever eaten. The texture of the filling was very strange, it was possibly mostly grated cabbage. The dipping sauce was chilli oil. Not the usual soy sauce and vinegar based dipping sauce, not even rāyu, but some quite inappropriate Western cuisine chilli oil with big pieces of chilli in it. What on earth are these people thinking!
Not surprisingly there were no Japanese customers at all. Instead there were about 10 (non-oriental) families with little screaming kids. The atmosphere was like in a cheap family eatery where kids run around loose. And loud.
Equally not surprisingly there were no Japanese staff in the kitchen, either. I mean, who in their right mind would cook the kind of refuse they churn out at the Wagamama kitchen if they had any idea what the food is supposed to taste like?
The only way Wagamama can redeem my disappointing experience and a ruined Sunday lunch is to let me win their competition, stylishly advertised on their paper place mats (in the manner of fast food joints):
Thank you for letting me rant.
And don't forget to go to E-Kagen for delicious, authentic Japanese food when you visit Brighton. ;-) (Check their opening times beforehand!)