First off let me say that I have absolutely no problem with chain store restaurants and bars, Starbucks, The Slug and Lettuce, All Bar One, even ahem Eddie Rockets at times – the reason I don’t mind the fact that they are soulless establishments is because they are always the same. You can always count on the same food on the menu, it’s consistency in an inconsistent world. Now I thought Wagamama was the same – sort of like the Mc Donald’s of Asian food, but more upmarket of course. We had eaten a really tasty dinner in a Dublin branch one night and I naively thought that all Wagamamas would have the same menu. While we both hate their bench style seating arrangement, we popped in for a quick dinner as I was craving a tuna teryiaki and couldn’t be bothered walking to the Japanese down the road.
To my horror none of the items we had eaten in Dublin were on the menu and they had no tuna at all. As the rest of the menu seemed very meat heavy, I ordered a yasai katsu curry, slices of sweet potato and butternut squash deep fried and served with a light curry. Well that was the spiel on the menu anyway. Despite the fact that they served C’s dinner about fifteen minutes before mine, I didn’t mind as I love curry and was looking forward to this Japanese take on it. I saw the chef messing about with the curry pot long before I was served, he was wandering back and forth with a paper cup and a terrine of curry. I actually thought “oh my God please don’t tell me that is my dinner”. It was. When I was finally served, my first thought was “this looks like chip shop curry sauce”. You know the type, a mustardy looking colour with black specs in it – made from reconstituted curry powder. Well, it was chip shop curry sauce, it looked like it, tasted like it and I bet if I went in the kitchen I would find the tub of curry powder it had been made out of. It was seriously horrible and it covered everything on the plate, totally inedible.
I guess this is why other people hate chain restaurants, because they just don’t care as much.