Oh Waggie's how I love you! – it’s just like going to a friends house! Warm, Fun and Comfortable – I’ve eaten at them all – they have outlets in Chermside, Emporium Fortitude Valley and Wintergarden - by my favourite is by far the Emporium Centre chapter.
You would think they would all be the same – being a Franchise – but no, the Valley Wagagmama seems to be slightly more fun, more irreverent and, in true Valley style - nice and edgy. The staff are more willing to have a joke with you, sit down and point out their favourites and smile cheekily while your face turns beet red from the super spicy Chilli Ramen. (The also didn't kick us out the night my sloshed Mother-in-law kept pinching our waiters bum - they get massive points for that - although we did leave a tip!)
There’s just something about this place that keeps us going back (and not just the Frequent Noodler Points) – we have all our more casual occasions here – meet the new girlfriend, pre-Xmas dinner, sneaking out from work lunch, planning revenge on the ex… it caters for all of them. I love the fact that the tables are communal – that you’re forced to sit next to strangers and strike up a conversation to get them to pass the soy sauce, I love that the food comes out in it’s own special time encouraging everyone to steal from the person (un)lucky enough to get their meal first and to give food envy enough time to fully set hold.
I love that it’s a Japanese restaurant but there’s not a nori roll to be seen – I prefer Sushi Station for that, thank you very much! And I love that the food is always divine, in the same belly rubbing way that dinner at your Nana’s is. It's good, new-fashioned comfortfood in a massive Ramen bowl. It’s always good, always fast and always cheap. What more could you want for casual night out with your mates?
Verdict: It’s everything a meal with friends should be – tasty, fun and irreverent – and fast enough that you can still do something afterwards. I've been here so many times I have honestly lost count... and I'm yet to have a bad meal here. That says a lot in my book!
My recommendations: The Apple, Mint and Lime Juice; Chicken Katsu Curry (the Vegie version is just as good!); Chicken Ramen; Gyoza and Chilli Squid.