wagamama signFor dinner in Cork, we went to the much-talked-about Wagamama restaurant.

Through a full-length glass storefront, Wagamama is a vaguely Japanese-style restaurant furnished with long tables and benches (instead of individual tables) and characterised mostly by their huge bowls of brothy noodle dishes. The place reminded me of Long Life Noodle Company in San Francisco. Wagamama’s slogan is “positive eating + positive living” and their entrees are comprised of mostly simple ingredients, identifiable from a glance.

The menu is even more Japanese than the decor. Most items on the menu are some kind of noodle dish, be it served in a bowl or on a plate.
Wagamama restaurantThere are appetisers, a few rice dishes and a couple of other items like terriaki steak(€14.75) and salmon(€14.25). The food is served quickly and the environment is an unusual one for Ireland; lift your head and look down the bench to see the long row of your neighbours’ heads eclipsed by the steaming rims of their huge bowls.

Our table had the gyoza appetiser(five deep fried chicken dumplings, €6.75), kare lomen (a coconut milk-based shrimp and noodle dish, €11.95), chicken ramen (€10.25), yaki soba (teppan-fried noodles with various meats, €14.75) and wagamama ramen (seafood and chicken in a noodle soup, €14.75). The food was filling and simple, but generally lacking in taste. The big bowls of broth are a lovely aesthetic (and would be great if one had a head cold), but the broth is pretty bland. The kare lomen tasted like a curry sauce poured over noodles and the yaki soba was fairly dry.

Also, there are no provisions for young children. We had to wedge the munchkin and stroller into an awkward place between benches, making it difficult for other patrons to access those seats.

If I were feeling a bit under the weather or was on a health kick, I’d come here again. Otherwise, I might give it a miss.