After a walk about London, WB and I were searching for an affordable, quick dinner. Wagamama is something of an institution in the UK and Europe and can be found mostly everywhere. Kind of like a Tim Hortons of noodle bars.
We of course weren’t expecting much, and were basically hoping for a filling meal that suited our meagre budget. The location was neat – a glass, round structure with a clean, modern interior, long communal tables, and a view of the Tower of London. It wasn’t very busy, which surprised us, so we weren’t seated with any other diners which, admittedly, was kind of nice.
But the service is evidently trained to accommodate massive crowds. They were perfectly friendly, answered a couple questions we had, but was very basic and efficient. They scribbled some sort of symbol on our paper placemats, which I suppose is probably some way to identify us when sending our order out. It feels a bit impersonal, but it is Wagamama, and in busier times I probably would have appreciated the efficiency.
They do have a selection of wines and beers, as well as sake, a few interesting-looking sodas, and of course, tea. However, wishing to trim our waistlines and wallets post-travelling extravaganza, we just opted for water.
I had the saien soba noodle bowl: “whole wheat noodles in a vegetable soup topped with fried tofu, beansprouts, courgettes, asparagus, red onions, leeks, mushrooms, mangetout and garlic. Garnished with spring onions.”
It was actually better than I thought it would be. I would declare it as “yummy.” Definitely not mind-blowing, but yummy. It was a huge portion, and it hit all my cravings: satisfying fried tofu, light and soothing broth, healthy vegetables. With a little less oil, I would make this at home as a kind of “travel recovery dish” from all the heavy foods we’d been eating over the last six months. And it was quite filling.
WB went vegetarian as well with the yasai yaki soba: “teppan-fried whole wheat noodles with egg, beansprouts, peppers, white and spring onions, mushrooms, and garlic. Garnished with fried shallots, pickled ginger, sesame seeds and coriander vinegar.”
WB says: This was good, but nothing to write home about. I thought it would be a little more interesting with descriptions of pickled ginger and coriander vinegar, but it was pretty bog-standard fried noodle flavour. Nothing to complain about, and a good option if you’re looking for something quick and cheap that isn’t McDonald’s.
I concur. Overall, Wagamama wasn’t life changing, and we didn’t expect it to be. Would we “recommend” it? That depends – if you’re spending a few nights in London it definitely isn’t a “must-eat” when there are countless other restaurants to be tried in the city. However, as a traveller long-term in London, it’s convenient to know there is probably a Wagamama relatively nearby, where you can get an affordable and filling meal.Anda place that will definitely have vegetarian options that don’t just compensate with globs of cheese (pet peeve).
Wagamama Tower Hill website
2b Tower Place
Tower Hill, EC3N 4EE
0207 283 5897
*note: being located near the City, I’d probably avoid this location around lunch. It’s likely absolutely crazy.