Family tea with a side order of ko club at Wagamama Covent Garden

Family tea with a side order of ko club at Wagamama Covent Garden

Wagamama is one of those restaurant chains that seem to have family-friendliness built into their DNA. The long wooden benches, open kitchens and bustling, cheery staff give a casual feel to their eateries. You always know that, however unruly your children, they’re not going to ruin the seats, or sound too noisy above the clatter of dishes.

Wagamama

Diners eat using chopsticks at Wagamama, but there’s a kiddie version, with two halves that slot together, making the chopsticks more like pincers.

Wagamama

Wagamama’s traditional Asian menu is fused with more eclectic ingredients. You can order a very decent ramen (hot broth with noodles) or yaki soba (stir-fired noodles with chicken and prawn). But their new summer menu includes mouth-watering, modern dishes dishes like seared nuoc cham tuna steak on a bed of quinoa with stir-fried kale.

Wagamama

A ‘Wagamama ramen’

Wagamama invited us to dine at their new Bedford Street restaurant, in Covent Garden, London. We decided to meet D from work, and have an early family tea.

Wagamama

Our arrival time of 5.30pm (17.30) was well-timed. The restaurant was quiet, so we could have our pick of the seats. By the time we left, at about 18.45 (Wagamama’s great if you need your dining experience to be swift), the tables were filling up with the post-work crowd, who were mainly child-free.

Wagamama have developed a new ‘ko club’ to help make family visits even more enjoyable. When we arrived, a smiling waiter on the door gave our children (aged 5 and 7) a couple of table-mat sized pieces of paper. On one was the children’s menu, with a large scene for colouring-in on the other side. The second sheet of paper was covered in a range of activities, to keep the children amused during dinner.

Wagamama

Plenty of child-friendly restaurants now offer crayons, and sheets to colour in. What made the ko club better than most was the variety of activities, and their suitability for different ages. Little linguists could learn the Japanese word for vegetable, carrot, or child (‘ko’ – hence the name of the club). There was a wordsearch, and a chance to create your own ramen by drawing the ingredients. An easy-to-make origami creature kept both children busy for a while, and my daughter treated us to a mini puppet show after putting hers on top of chopsticks.

Wagamama

Wagamama

Wagamama

Wagamama’s menu is wide, with dishes to suit most palates, including a range of gluten-free items. D opted for the flavoursome vegetarian yasai samla curry. My Wagamama ramen (extra hot) was delicious, as were the spicy bang bang cauliflower, and the mixed mushrooms and panko aubergine hirata steamed buns.

Wagamama

The children chose mini chicken yaki soba, with ice cream for dessert. Both of them can be picky at times (and my daughter generally refuses to let soy sauce anywhere near her), so the yaki soba was a surprise hit. They ate their meals with relish.

Wagamama

Wagamama is good value. They gave us vouchers to cover the cost of our meal, which came to just over £50. The children’s menu in particular was very reasonably priced, and there was no charge for their cococcino drinks. D and I adored our own drinks: a ‘super clean green’, with apple, mint, celery and lime; and a ‘blueberry spice’, with a hint of ginger.

Wagamama

Heading into town to meet Daddy from work at Wagamama felt like a nice treat, but something that was pretty stress-free, and not likely to break the bank. We may well be making a habit of it.

This is a collaborative post with Wagamama. All views are my own.

 

 

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8 Comments

  1. August 23, 2017 / 11:54 am

    Love the sound of this – we tend to default to a few places with a similar child-friendly atmosphere, but I love Wagamama so after our Cambodia trip, perhaps I can persuade my daughter to get stuck into their noodles?

    • Nell
      Author
      August 24, 2017 / 8:50 pm

      My two took to their food with glee. I did worry it might be too ‘different’ for them – but somehow it worked.

  2. August 23, 2017 / 3:38 pm

    I think wagamama really know how to help families have a good experience. I love the dining style and I love the food. It’s always a big hit with the kids too

    • Nell
      Author
      August 24, 2017 / 8:52 pm

      It was with us, too. We’ll be back very soon!

    • Nell
      Author
      August 24, 2017 / 9:00 pm

      They’re fab, Daisy.

  3. August 24, 2017 / 11:05 am

    Ooh fabulous! We absolutely love Wagamamas, the girls literally won’t go anywhere else if Wagamamas is an option. I’ve never tried the mixed mushrooms and panko aubergine hirata steamed buns though, they look lovely! One to try next time.
    Nat.x

    • Nell
      Author
      August 24, 2017 / 9:02 pm

      Oh man, you really must! My favourite dish of all was the bang ban cauliflower, but these came a very close second. Delicious!

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