Glasgow has it’s fair share of noodle style restaurants, and my usual one is Ichiban. However, as a bit of a change myself and a friend headed off to the local Wagamama outlet. Not been before so curious about what my first impressions would be.
I guess it was around half full, though they had got most people all squashed together. We were duly slotted into a gap between two other groups of people. (Not a place for conversation unless you want everybody else to be able to listen in.)
We had hardly sat down and picked up the menus when a waitress came up and asked us what we wanted to drink. Because I showed a slight hesitation in saying what I wanted the waitress grabbed the menu from me, turned it round so the drinks page was uppermost, then thrust it back at me (rather rude, and certainly no thought of ‘customer service’). Our drinks were quick to arrive and food order taken. The menu was rather dominated by either prawn type seafood or chicken dishes, so I went for some spicy chicken. It arrived reasonably quickly. The food itself was nice but had been put onto a very cold plate. This meant that the main part of the food was reasonably hot, but the food towards the edge was tepid at best.
I thought this was meant to be an oriental style noodle bar (chop sticks were provided) but the way the food had been prepared and cut meant that using chop sticks a was not really a practical option.
I had hardly finished my last mouthful (my friend was still eating) when my plate was whisked away from me. The thought ‘conveyor belt’ sprung to mind, no proper customer service, we were there to be processed as quickly (and as indifferently) as possible.
The bill was presented and money handed over, and then we waited, and waited, and waited, and I noticed all the money trays at the counter had long been cleared, and we waited (for longer than it took us to eat the meal) and waited and I noticed our waitress occasionally glancing at us till eventually she went to the computer terminal, tapped quickly, and shortly after our change arrived! Quite obviously she had no intention of giving this to us.
Looking around, for what was meant to be an oriental style food bar there were no ‘oriental style’ people eating there, and likewise not an oriental person visible behind the relatively open plan kitchen area. This thing of no local oriental people willing to eat in this style of place was for me an interesting reflection on it’s actual quality and authenticity.
Compare this to my local Ichiban; similar rice or noodle based dishes, similar price range, but a place where hardly an English word is audible from behind its kitchen area, and a customer base that’s very oriental biased.
Would possibly be willing to give the place a second try (though not in any rush). However from my first impressions I know which restaurant I prefer to be spending my money in!