January 27, 2003
The young international wait staff donned in the official Wagamama T-shirts arrive with a wireless handheld to take your order and immediately zap it to the diner-style (but much more immaculate) visible kitchen. The food comes out as soon as it is prepared--there are no heat lamps--and our food was appropriately timed, although I can imagine this could turn out strange. The other plus for us, at least budget wise, is that they give you green tea for free if you ask. We'd been spending so much $ on water, soft drinks, and tea at the restaurants--brutal for the Americans with our "free refill" mentality.
The food was exceptional--if you enjoy Asian-style food and flavors--curry, coconut, ginger, etc. with noodles, and tofu, chicken or shrimp. My husband didn't feel "slurpy" (udon noodles in a huge bowl with coriander bean sprouts and grilled shrimp, which I had, was yes, terribly messy) so he had fried eggplant, sweet potato, and pumpkin with rice and he loved it. As you can imagine, Wagamama is a paradise for vegetarians and even vegans (which my husband's order would have satisfied). The menus were also a pleasant surprise as the dish descriptions were in perfect English--helpful for exotic dishes such as these. This is because the chain is based in the UK. We'd had an unfortunate incident a few nights before when the Dutch restaurant translated a dish to read "venison" and it most definitely was not! While the Dutch speak English exceptionally well, there are always some glitches and subtleties on their English menus that can be puzzling.
Although the dollar continues to suffer (Jan 2003), we were pleased that this meal was our cheapest yet (chiefly because of no drink costs)--two entrées, an appetizer, and all the green tea we could consume--with a few bucks tip thrown in (uncharacteristic for Dutch restaurants, but again we weren't treating it as such) came to $29. Plus you got to dress up in your trendiest clothes and slurp noodles with a young international crowd.
From journal New Year's in A'dam