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The White Rose Centre in Leeds has been undergoing a transformation recently. A big extension now houses lots of new restaurants. The new Wagamama at the White Rose Centre is the shop I have been most excited about. Despite being a huge Japanese food fan, I’ve never eaten at Wagamama before. Fortunately I was invited down to try it out for myself and see the new summer menu. Steve Mangleshot, the executive chef for Wagamama, was also there to talk us through the menu.
Wagamama at the White Rose Centre is set in the new, outdoor, section. It looks stunning and is just perfect for sitting outside for a meal on a summery day.
If you are new to Wagamama the menu is really surprising. As well as the ramen and asian buns you expect there are so many other gorgeous treats on there.
Wagamama at the White Rose Centre – Beef tataki
First up is the new beef tataki on the sides menu. This is thin slices of lightly seared, marinated steak that is served chilled. It comes with citrus ponzu, Japanese mayonnaise, pickle beetroot and coriander. I love my meat rare so this is a real treat for me. The marinate on the steak tastes amazing and the meat literally melts in the mouth. The accompaniments are all delicious and work perfectly with the beef.
Wagamama at the White Rose Centre – Duck gyoza
Next the duck gyoza which is also on the sides menu. Five fried duck filled dumplings served with a dipping sauce. I love duck and often choose it when I’m out as it’s not something I cook at home. The dumplings are gorgeous. They are really crispy with plenty of filling and they are not greasy at all. The sauce is really tasty and perfect for dipping the duck gyoza in to.
Wagamama at the White Rose Centre – Bang bang cauliflower
The bang bang cauliflower is another dish on the sides menu. It is crispy, fried cauliflower with red onion and spring onion, fresh ginger and coriander coated in firecracker sauce. I am not a cauliflower fan but it is so popular at the moment. In the name of food blogging I did try it…and it is so nice! It has a really satisfying crunch and the spicy sauce takes away the cauliflower flavour.
Wagamama at the White Rose Centre – Seared nuoc cham tuna
Next from the Omakase chefs special menu is the new seared nuoc cham tuna. This is a seared nuoc cham tuna steak on quinoa, kale, sweet potato, edamame beans, red onion and peppers. This really is a perfect summer dish. It is light, fresh and filling without being too heavy. The tuna steak tastes amazing and everything else goes with it perfectly.
Wagamama at the White Rose Centre – Sticky pork belly
Also from the omakase chefs special menu is another new dish, sticky pork belly. This is pork belly with a citrus and teriyaki glaze with miso aubergine, white rice and spring onion, ginger and chilli garnish. Pork belly is my absolute favourite, I often order it when I’m out and often cook it at home. This is as perfect as I was expecting. The glaze is sticky and super tasty, the pork belly is cooked perfectly and I love everything with it. A few of the other bloggers there did say they didn’t think the rice was necessary with it. I personally like it there, I always want all the carbs with my meals.
Wagamama at the White Rose Centre – Chicken samla curry
From the curry menu is the new chicken samla curry. This is a fragrant, spicy lemongrass and coconut curry with peppers, shiitake mushrooms, plum tomatoes served with rice and a spring onion, chilli and coriander garnish. This dish smells so nice! Whilst it is spicy it isn’t too hot at all, you get more of the taste of the spices than the heat.
Wagamama at the White Rose Centre – Pad thai salad
On the salad menu is the new dish, pad thai salad. This is ginger chicken and prawns with mix leaves, mange tout, plum tomatoes, shredded beetroot, carrot and red onion with peanuts and a nuoc cham and ginger miso dressing. It is a light, fresh meal that is perfect for summer. Everything is really tasty and it is a great nod to the favourite thai dish.
Wagamama at the White Rose Centre – Chicken firecracker
Another dish on the Wagamama curry menu is the chicken firecracker. A fiery chicken, mangetout, peppers, onions and hot red chilli curry served with white rice, sesame seeds, schichimi and fresh lime. As the name suggests this curry is hot! One mouthful made me realise it is too hot for me, everyone else loved it though. If you like hot curry this is definitely a dish for you.
Wagamama at the White Rose Centre – Grilled duck donburi
On the donburi menu is the grilled duck donburi. Donburi is a traditional Japanese dish and is a big bowl full of steamed rice, meat and mixed vegetables. This has duck leg in teriyaki sauce with carrots, mangetout, sweet potato, red onion, sticky rice, a crispy egg and cucumber, spring onions and kimchee. This is my first time trying a donburi and it was definitely a great introduction. Everything in it tastes amazing and mixing it all together makes a perfect bowl of comfort food.
Wagamama at the White Rose Centre – Short rib ramen
Short rib ramen is on the ramen part of the Wagamama menu. This is beef short rib (on the bone) in chicken broth with noodles, chilli oil, mangetout, red onion, sweet potato and pea shoots. The beef short rib is so tender it literally falls off the bone. The broth is delicious, and not too salty as ramen broth can sometimes be. It is another really comforting, filling dish.
Wagamama at the White Rose Centre – Katsu curry ice-cream
And finally, completely off menu, katsu curry ice-cream. This is exactly as the name suggests, ice-cream covered in katsu curry sauce. I really didn’t want to like this, I didn’t even want to taste it if I’m being honest. BUT it is amazing! The cold ice-cream melting in to the hot sauce and the spices mixing with the coconut ice-cream is just delicious. Everyone had empty bowls. Unfortunately this isn’t something that is on the menu, but if ever you get a chance to try it do.
Wagamama at the White Rose Centre – Final thoughts
I absolutely loved my night at Wagamama in the White Rose Centre. The food was amazing and the staff are brilliant. Spending the night talking to Steve about all the dishes he creates really was so interesting.
My favourite dishes are the sticky pork belly, the duck donburi and (surprising for a cauliflower hater) the bang bang cauliflower. The only dish I didn’t enjoy was the firecracker and that was only because it was just too spicy for my taste.
I will definitely be eating at Wagamama in the White Rose Centre again soon.
Have you been to Wagamama before? What is your go to dish there?