Wagamama: Bringing South East Asia's Best Flavors to Dubai's Iconic Mall
Acclaimed global Japanese food chain wagamama is opening its flagship restaurant at one of the most iconic malls in the region - The Dubai Mall. Launching today 31st January 2018 at the Lower Atrium level in the ground floor, this outlet would bring the total number of wagamama locations across UAE to 5.
I was very delighted to attend the official preview event last night along with host of food bloggers and other invited guests. We were treated to some of the restaurant's finest and most popular signature delicacies.
This is the first wagamama restaurant in the UAE to feature the same interior design as London’s flagship branch in Covent Gardens, with a modern interior featuring sleek mirrors and communal tables.
Seating and Decor
Comfortably seating 156 guests and spanning over 4000 square feet the restaurant also boasts an outdoor terrace.
Wagamama's spacious interiors offers umpteen seating options: bar-style tall stools (placed facing the glass outside the live cooking station), wooden booths, and long communal tables. This seating arrangement is known to be one of the most distinguishing characteristics of the restaurant ever since it first opened in London more than two decades ago.
The decor is clean and modern, comprising mostly of wood and some metal. The most noticeable feature is the stunning chopstick motif on the walls (near the ceiling) that makes the space look aesthetic and well-accentuated. The lighting too is stunning which throws in the focus on the tables - so light is never a problem for food bloggers who want to snap the instagram-worthy food presentations.
Though the preview menu was very limited, but nonetheless it gave first-timers some sense of the actual offering - featuring the restaurants popular specialty dishes. I started off with a glass of refreshing peach ice tea. My dining partner Suren Rajamohan, also a well-known food blogger from Dubai, went for a cloudy strawberry lemonade.
For starters we shared a platter of Chili Squid which was crispy, fresh and delicious. The fried squid were dusted with Shichimi and served with spiced sesame and soy sauce.
For the main course, I went for Grilled Duck Donburi - a bowl of tender shredded duck leg dressed in spicy teriyaki sauce (which was hardly spicy) and served with fresh carrots, mangetout, sweet potato and red onion. This concoction was bedded on sticky Japanese rice. The flavourful bowl was topped with a crispy fried egg and lots of greens including finely shredded cucumber and spring onion. The Donburi bowl was sided with a small portion of Kimchee - a traditional Korean side dish made from salted and fermented vegetables.
The Donburi bowl was filled with myriads of textures and tastes that complemented each other quite well. It was overall amazing and bursting with flavor. The grilled duck was definitely fresh, tender and shredded in bite sized bits, therefore easy to chew and enjoy. The unifying element of the dish however was the crispy fried egg on top with a runny yolk. I burst this yolk and let it mix into the other ingredients in the bowl. This not only accentuated the taste but threw in a textural surprise.
What is Donburi? A “donburi” is a Japanese dish which is served in a large bowl – which is also the literal translation of the word. It always starts with a base of rice but can be topped with various meats and vegetables.
My dining partner went for Katsu Curry which he seemed to have totally enjoyed. We were told that the Katsu Curry is one of their most popular dishes and they have a loyal following of customers who visit - only to taste this Chef's Special delicacy.
The service was quite remarkable and there were at least a dozen waiters available to take orders or for anything else we needed. They had very good knowledge of the menu and helped diners in making choices based on their food preferences.
VerdictOverall a great restaurant to enjoy some fabulous Japanese dishes. If you are at Dubai Mall and want to take a well-deserved dinner break between your shopping spree, this place is perfect. Stay away from the food court din and head over to Wagamama to savor delectable Japanese delicacies in a chic atmosphere, with decent pricing and awesome service.
Disclaimer / Voluntary DisclosureThe meals were sponsored by Wagamama during the restaurants official preview event. Though the meal was complimentary, all photos, views and opinions are my own, as always. The restaurant had no influence on the content of this article, there is no form of cooperation between us, I was not obliged to publish anything, and I have not received any monetary payment in lieu of this review. All images used are courtesy of Blogliterati.com, unless stated otherwise. The images may not be reproduced without explicit permission/consent from the site owner.