The Dubai Diaries: Wagamama @ The Dubai Mall

Located at: Financial Center Road, Downtown Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Visited on: 12 Oct, 2019

We’ve walked past this Asian and Japanese chain on the lower ground floor many times before, and decided to make a stop for lunch on this particular day. Perhaps partly owing to it being the weekend, it was packed, and we had to queue for a few minutes to be seated. Their menu, misleadingly, appears to be minimal, but actually offers quite a range of predominantly Japanese dishes.

What caught my eye first was their repertoire of unique fresh juice combos. We tried three of them. Fruit – apple, orange and passion fruit, tasted just as fruity as it suggested. What’s great is that they don’t seem to add sugar to their juices. And despite this, this juice wasn’t sour. Super Green – apple, mint, celery and lime, was truly refreshing. The green apple did take away from the sweetness that could have been, but there was no compromise on taste or healthiness. Positive – pineapple, lime, spinach, cucumber and apple. Spinach was undoubtedly the boldest of the ingredients, but not in an overpowering way. Their juices are priced at AED 24 for regular size and AED 30 for large. As a whole, they were all light, refreshing and healthily delicious.

Super Green, Positive, Fruit – fresh juices

We started off with a portion of Lollipop Prawn Kushiyaki – skewers of grilled prawns marinated in lemongrass, lime and chilli, served with a caramelised lime (AED 40). The dish comprised of two prawns rolled up on each of three skewers. Not only did this look cute and enticing, but it was also packed with flavour. One of the most unique presentations I’ve seen lately. A tiny squeeze of the caramelised lime did well to highlight the existing flavour of the prawns.

Lollipop Prawn Kushiyaki

We tried out two varieties of their mains. The first was their Chicken and Prawn Pad Thai – rice noodles in an amai sauce with egg, beansprouts, leeks, chillies and red onions, garnished with fried shallots, peanuts, fresh herbs and lime (AED 57; AED 49 if you opt for tofu and vegetable instead). I’ve tasted pad thai at several different places over the years, including some in the Far East. This was, by far, the one that tasted the best. There is often a tendency for pad thai to taste a little plain, lacking oomph. Frankly, this dish didn’t look any different, but it had so much more flavour than I anticipated, it was truly a pleasant surprise. It also had a generous amount of chicken and prawns. Big thumbs up here!

Chicken and Prawn Pad Thai

The second was their Chicken and Prawn Cha Han Donburi – stir-fried brown rice with egg, mushrooms, mangetout, sweetcorn and spring onions served with a side of Japanese pickles (AED 51; AED 49 if you opt for tofu and vegetable instead). This came with a serving of miso soup, which was warm, tasty and welcoming. Again, there was a generous serving of chicken and a fair amount of prawns in the rice, and the mangetout and sweet corn contributed wonderfully with their own crunchy textures. A tiny helping of soy sauce helped to sharpen the flavour, but it was fine even without. The pickles were attractively presented too, and also made for an interesting combination of slightly vinegary and slightly sweet items.

Chicken and Prawn Cha Han Donburi

I have to say that this visit exceeded my expectations. The food was tasty and felt healthy enough, as did the juices. Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable experience that I would certainly like to go back for.

Yummy rating: 4.0 / 5.0

Special offers: Emirates Platinum card holders get 20% taken off the total bill.


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