** UPDATED: 18.09.14 ALL WAGAMAMA RESTAURANTS IN AUSTRALIA HAVE BEEN CLOSED! SUCH SAD NEWS - I BELIEVE IT IS A FRANCHISING ISSUE **
Many moons ago when I was a single gal, I lived the high life in London. Well let me correct that, I had champagne tastes but lived on a beer budget (to quote my father). I loved eating out even back then and my favourite place to eat was a trendy new chain of noodle houses called Wagamama. On my beer budget I could afford to eat out at a Wagamama restaurant at least once a week. Now let me tell you that Wagamama was so trendy that people queued for hours (even in deepest darkest winter) to nab a seat at a share table (a relatively new concept for London back then).
My antipodean besties and I would take it in turn waiting in the queue whilst the the rest of us would warm our cockles in the closest pub and then when we got the text from the poor sod in the queue we would make the mad dash up to Wagamama for some delicious hot noodles.
So almost 15 years on I'm still dining at Wagamama, but this time it is in Sydney with no besties in sight, instead Mr Munch and the little bulls, there was no queueing, we just walked straight in, and for some reason Wagamama's prices are starting to rise beyond those reasonable for a beer budget. But the noodles are still hot and delicious!
On Sundays we like to make the most of Family Funday Sunday. The little bulls love catching a train to somewhere new and different and of course I make sure there is food involved. So in the rain last Sunday we jumped aboard the city train - destination Town Hall. Our plan was to explore the Galeries Victoria and lunch at Wagamama. The brilliant thing is that when you disembark at Town Hall station you walk underground into the Galeries - so it is a perfect rainy day outing.
My favourite book shop is Kinokuniya on the top floor of the Galeries, it has a certain charm that most other book shops lack in this city. The staff don't seem to mind if you sit and read your children a book from the shelves (even if you aren't buying it). Their card and gift section is sublime and they have a cute little cafe. At the moment the Galeries have a Superman exhibition on. The Man of Steel costume is on display from the new movie, plus movie stills as well as a 3D flight simulator - very cool indeed.
Wagamama opens at 12.00pm for lunch every day. We were greeted warmly by the hostess and she seated us near the window so that from our perch we overlooked the Superman exhibition and simulator. And as you can see from the photos above it felt as though Superman was flying in to join us for lunch! This was very entertaining for the little bulls and also Wagamama supplies a colouring in menu with crayons for kids to complete and take home, so they certainly make an effort to make their restaurant child friendly.
The interior of Wagamama is like that of a funky, spacious Japanese noodle house. You can watch all of the chefs toss about your delicious meals from the open kitchen. There is plenty of room for prams and clip on high chairs can be provided for little bottoms. As I said before there is a share table concept in Wagamama but when we dined, we were the only customers on our long table. Every place setting had a paper place mat as well as napkins with chopsticks (don't worry they have loads of forks if you are chopstick challenged!).
The menu covers everything from nibbles to full on meals and they have a policy of serving everything as it is cooked, so don't expect your nibble to come out before your main. My favourite nibble are the little pillows of tastiness called gyoza and for main I always order Kare Lomen - it's a bit like a spicy laksa - perfect to warm your cockles on a cold rainy day. But Wagamama is famous for it Ramen, basially a big bowl of noodles in soup - a slurpers heaven.
Now the brilliant thing about Wagamama is that when you order an adult main you can receive a child's meal for FREE! So our little bulls ate for nix (that certainly put a smile on Mr Munch's dial). There are about 12 different meal options for kids on the mini noodlers menu and as long as your child is under 12yrs of age they can choose anything off this menu.
Basically the menu is a condensed version of the adults menu and guess what? There isn't a chicken nugget or chip in sight! It's all delicious stir fries, soups, rice and noodles. The portion size are huge. Also each meal comes with a free (plastic) glass of freshly squeezed apple or bottled orange juice. Our little bulls devoured their mini yakitori and chicken mini noodles. They even managed to use their chopsticks with varying degrees of success, and luckily for me I didn't have to clean up the mess!
The staff at Wagamama are very friendly and were always attentive to the needs of the little bulls. But be warned they are seriously into the upsell. So instead of "would you like fries with that madam" I got caught out with "would you like the large size madam" when I ordered a sneaky glass of wine. So instead of my wine costing $8.30 it ended up being $11.00 (and let me tell you my version of large and theirs differ a wee bit).
So dear parents if you need to get out of the house on a rainy Sunday may I suggest that you make the most of the cheap public transport and have some family fun at the very child friendly Wagamama. You have two to choose from in the CBD - Galeries Victoria on George St and another on Bridge St down near Circular Quay. I do believe that Wagamama is quite possibly the most child friendly restaurant in the CBD x
Lvl 1, 500 George Street, Sydney
Open: 12.00pm - 9.00pm daily
Tel - 02 92610292