An Asian Summer At Wagamama Spinningfields, Manchester.

By Jo Cooksey

We have been going to the Spinningfield branch of Wagamama since it opened and it has been a firm favourite over the years. Whenever we need a fix of fresh, spicy Asian food that is usually the direction that we head in.

I got a message saying that they had some new dishes on the menu and would we like to head over and give them a road test. Oh yes we would.

The Duty Manager, Nelly, greeted us and showed us to seats by the huge window, very important for creating great food shots and pointed out the new menu additions. My dining companion loves the their freshly prepared juices and there are three new ones on the menu.She chose the Repair juice that combines kale, apple lime and pear in a zingy, refreshing drink. I went for a Lucky beer, which comes in the cutest, chubby Buddha shaped bottle, whilst looking over the menu.

We love the Waga sides and usually always go for the Duck Gyoza but we decided to throw caution to the wind and go for the Chicken Steamed Gyoza. Five tasty steamed chicken dumplings, served grilled and with a dipping sauce. We also chose a portion of Tori Kare Age, seasoned, crispy chicken pieces served with a spiced sesame and soy sauce. We hadn’t had these before and they were very moreish.

Two new mains dishes off the Omakase section, (Chef’s specials), were the order of the day and I went with the Tamari Chicken. Tamari is a Japanese, gluten free soy sauce that is much softer and a little sweeter on the palette than the Chinese equivalent. It is also my new favourite taste sensation. Tamari chicken is a big comforting bowl of wok-fried chicken, aduki beans, sweet potato, mange tout, red onion, tenderstem broccoli and carrots, cooked in garlic, ginger and tamari sauce. Served with rice and topped with zasai chilli paste. The zasai chilli paste has joined my list of Wow! flavours. It is paste that combines chilli and prawns and has medium heat and adds a savory umami dimension to the dish. Absolutely delicious.

Frankie, our photographer, chose Grilled Duck Donburi, tender shredded duck leg in a spicy teriyaki sauce, served with carrots, mangetout, sweet potato and red onion on a bed of sticky Japanese rice. Finished with a crispy fried egg, shredded cucumber and spring onions and a side of kimchee. We had both wanted this dish after it was recommended to us by M-DOG. Frankie won in the end, on the understanding that we could share it. My go-to comfort food at Waga’s, especially when I have a cold is a Chicken Ramen but I think this duck dish could take its place. We both loved it and the addition of what Frankie described as “the best fried egg I have ever had” was definitely the icing on the cake.

Despite having virtually cleaned our plates, we were hungry foodies; we still had room for Waga’s lush desserts. One of my favourite things in the whole world is ice cream. If someone came along and said you can only eat one thing for the rest of your life that one thing would probably be Waga’s Coconut Reika. A very generous portion of deliciously creamy coconut ice cream topped with a passion fruit sauce and toasted coconut flakes. Frankie feels the same about their Mix it up Mochi ice cream. A combination of all three flavours of their little mochi ice cream balls wrapped in a layer of sticky rice, served with a chocolate sauce. Very Japanese in looks and very lovely to eat.

As usual the staff were friendly and cheerful and the service was top notch. We believe that the Wagamama at The Printworks has had an amazing make-over so that will need checking out soon too. We were guests of Wagamama Spinningfields but our opinions are our own.

Follow Wagamama:

Photos: © Frankie Cooksey Photography