Wagamama invited me to try out their new summer menu alongside other bloggers in their Bullring restaurant in Birmingham’s city centre. The idea behind the evening was to try out the new dishes alongside some of the new drinks available including juices, wines and beers.
To kick off proceedings we had the Beef Tataki which is made using a really good quality sirloin cut. Beef served rare won’t be for everyone, but I loved it. Just fold the beef over enclosing the sauce with a little of the pickled beetroot. To drink we had the Repair Juice made from kale, pear, lime and apple. Kale is a really good accompaniment to beef, so that worked well. The kale didn’t overpower the juice, but Wagamama do add a decent amount of kale. The juice did separate a bit after a little while, so it makes sense to drink it quickly.
For me the stand out dish of the evening was the Seared Nuoc Cham Tuna Steak on a bed of quinoa with stir-fried kale, sweet potato, edamame beans, red onion and peppers. garnished with coriander. I really liked that Wagamama were able to tell us the source of the fish and it clearly was the best quality tuna. It melted in the mouth. This was paired with an outstanding beer called Kikku, meaning ‘kick’ in japanese. It’s described as a pale ale, but I’m not usually a fan of pale ales and this was a little darker than the average pale ale and leaps ahead in flavour. It is brewed with the secret seven spice mix, shichimi to give it’s distinctive taste. We were all asking where we could buy this beer, so we could take some home, but you can only get it in the restaurant. On my next visit I’ll be having the tuna with the Kikku for sure.
More tasty fish next with fillets of sea bream dressed in a spicy vinegar on a bed of sticky white rice and teriyaki sauce. finished with carrots, pea shoots, spring onions and coriander, served a side of kimcheek: Grilled Bream Donhuri. I loved the fish which was tasty and tender, but I found the rice a bit of a chore even with the kimcheek to liven it up. This was served with the Kansho beer which I was less keen on too. Again it’s described as a pale ale and it came much closer to what I would consider a pale ale to be, but it’s not my first choice sort of beer.
Next up: Chicken Samla Curry. This is just the sort of main course that I associate with Wagamama and it doesn’t disappoint. For this dish we were served a white wine to drink alongside it which provided a nice hint of lightness and freshness.
One of the tastiest dishes of the night was the Sticky Pork Belly. This was a citrus and teriyaki glazed pork belly with grilled miso aubergine, served with white rice and garnished with spring onions, ginger and chilli. Very tasty and very sticky. It was served with the Pinot Grigio Blush wine which was a match for the sweetness, although it was a touch too cloying for my taste.
We tried out a few of the desserts. I don’t think I’ve ever had enough room for desserts at Wagamama so this was a bit of a revealation for me. Everyone else seemed to be raving about the Chocolate Layer Cake, which was very nice and very, very rich. My pick though would be the lighter, more delicate flavour of the Yuzu and Lemon Tart, which had enough zestiness to cut through and refresh the palette. Served with raspberry compote and fresh mint, for me this was a wonderful end to a delicious array of dishes.