The hoards of hungry office workers in the Myer Centre food court means it’s lunch time. I find myself here because I’ve been left in “no leftovers from the night before because I ordered takeout” limbo… Pushing and shoving my way between the too closely spaced tables, I make my way towards the newly opened Wagamama Express. Usually I avoid food courts specifically because they are crowded, stuffy places with dodgy vegetarian options. However in the interests of checking out Wagamama’s latest concept I made an exception.
After standing in line for a couple of minutes I place my order of Yasai Katsu Curry ($8.80) and Kasubi sweet potato chips($5.00) and take a ticket number. Standing to the side, I was able to observe the goings on in the kitchen. In typical Wagamama style they have brought their open kitchen concept from their full service restaurants and have shrunk it to fit into their “booth” in the middle of the food court. They result is sleek and modern. A dining bench wraps around two sides of the kitchen and allows patrons to observe the hustle and bustle in the kitchen. I’ve always loved this concept of openness… it’s a free show! Plus you know they will think twice about picking up that dropped bit of food and dusting it off and sticking it back on your plate!
My number is called and I pick up my order. I receive a plastic bowl full of Yasai Katsu Curry and a black box of what felt like air.
The box of air actually contains some very thinly sliced fried sweet potato chips with some basil and wasabi mayo. A sprinkling of black and white sesame seeds tops it off.
The chips unfortunately were cold, but to their credit they were light and crispy. The basil and wasabi mayo really helped to lift this simple dish. The fragrant sweetness of the basil and the subtle tanginess of the mayo went well with the sweet and savoury potato. The hint of wasabi tickled the back of the nose and added that extra dimension.
The Yasai Katsu Curry ($8.80) was a generous serving consisting of 4 fat slices of crumbed deep fried vegetables slathered with curry, on top of a bed of rice and a mixed leaf salad with Japanese pickles. The menu lists the vegetables as being sweet potato, butternut pumpkin, zucchini and eggplant. However pumpkin must have been too expensive or they ran out since I had an extra sweet potato slice to substitute the missing pumpkin slice.
Still I was not fussed and for $8.80, this is really good value! Biting into the vegetables, the crumb was thick and crisp. The sweet potato was slightly too firm for my liking however the eggplant and zucchini were deliciously soft and juicy. This is complemented by the thick, lightly fragrant and slightly sweet curry which was boosted by my liberal application of chilli sprinkles from the self serve seasoning bar. The salad was a nice touch and had a light dressing for which there was no description of but tasted of soy and ginger.
One thing I noticed was that because the curry is heaped on top of the veges, the rice at the bottom does not get any of the curry love. It helps to wipe some of the curry from the veges onto the rice while eating it so you don’t end up with a bowl of bland rice to finish off. I would have liked an extra layer of curry under the fried vegies… maybe I could ask for that next time as I have heard rumours of other curry places in the vicinity doubling the curry for nothing!
I think for $8.80 they have hit the spot with the Yasai Katsu Curry. Good value, tasty and with a generous serving of vegetables and salad. From what I could tell it is exactly the same, quality and quantity wise, as their full service Wagamama restaurants except for half the price. However I thought the Sweet potato Kasubi for $5.00 was a bit of a rip off… I’m convinced that half the cost went into the cute little box it comes in! Although it was tasty, there really is not much sweet potato to justify the cost. Maybe if it was $3.00 I’d order it again.
Name: Wagamama Express
Address: Myer Centre food court, Brisbane, 4000
Yasai Katsu Curry $8.80
Sweet potato kasubi $5.00
Other Vegetarian Options:
Miso Soup $2.50
Yasai Yaki Soba $8.80