Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wagamama Chicken Katsu Curry Rice - Wagamama's most popular dish!

I generally try to stay away from restaurants with long communal tables. By long communal tables, I am referring to the furniture, which are really elongated tables and benches with no demarcation whatsoever. Other than the sole purpose of removing the last shred of privacy in the hope to reduce turnaround time.

If you have not guessed already, I am talking about Wagamama (yes, the one I recommended in One Day in London). The widely popular London food chain serves a smattering of Asian cuisine that includes a variety of soup noodles and fried noodles (thick egg noodles tossed in soy sauce). But nothing is as popular as its Chicken Curry Katsu Rice (just under £9).


Wagamama's most popular dish - "number 71" of the menu (image source)

This dish is so popular that people will go queue up during lunch time and order the same dish by the table. In fact, after awhile, some didn't even bother looking at Wagamama's menu and ordered "number 71" (Curry Katsu's item number on the menu) right at the onset.

Before you rush off to get number 71 on Wagamama's menu, I'll like to set the record straight. Wagamama's Chicken Katsu Curry Rice tastes far from the original and it can't even compare with those sold in Tokyo's subway that go for 600 yen (£4) each. Its curry gravy is too powdery, the fried chicken slices too thin and often fried to a crisp, and the accompanying rice is often too soggy.

What is keeping Londoners returning for more again and again then? Perhaps its Londoners' penchant for thick curry sauce and for those who can't handle spicy will find Japanese curry a good compromise. Is it mere convenience due to locations of Wagamama's branches? Or is it because you can't really find a decent Japanese curry katsu rice in London other than the mix mesh served at Japanese Canteen (a smaller chain outfit in central London)? That said, Tokyo Diner at Leicester Square serves one of the better katsu curry rice I've come across in London.

Regardless of the reason, be sure to ask for your free cup of green tea (refillable) on your next visit. Few people realise that as the offer is printed in really tiny words right at the bottom of the menu.

To recreate the Japanese curry rice, you would just need sushi rice and Japanese curry cubes, which is sold in most Oriental supermarkets (check out Japan Centre at Lower Regent Street). Else, you can also get them at Amazon and have them delivered to your doorstep.

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lina said...

Well, the photo sure looks tempting. :D

Anything free, it'll be sure in a really, really fine print. ;)

::karinuslai:: said...

!! i used to love the katsu curry rice at misato's down in chinatown! it's good value for money (£6 gets you this huge plate any normal person would struggle to finish)!

C K said...

yep, I'm sure you'll find better ones during your next trip to Japan. :)

Misato? I've not tried that before. Is that a chain store as well? Thanks for the heads up, will try it out the next time round. Cheers!

::karinuslai:: said...

don't think it's a chain - just the one on the same street that wong kei is on, but towards the leicester square side - can be spotted by the queue of students in the doorway!

C K said...

OH! I know exactly the shop that you are talking about. I've been there once and fine the food a stomach filler at a reasonable cost.

I had to stand in line for around 15min. I was famished by the time when I stumbled in. Finished the katsu don in a hurry and had to rush off again. :)

Karin said...

@CK: yes unfortunately the queues there are quite horrendous thanks to the students who give them repeat and loyal business, haha. but yes, reasonable price, more authentic, and good portions!

C K said...

Reasonably priced and good portion - perfect formula for drawing in the student crowds. :)

kucingminummilo said...

my tongue could run dry if I keep looking at that photo all day. so tempting! :D