cha han shichimi tofu

The Wagamama at Cribbs Causeway has been extended and expanded since I last went there. It is now much bigger, but it is just as popular.

With no system for booking a table, we queued, waiting for table to be free. The queue moved quite quickly.

We were shown to a table and I looked over the menu. I have had yasai yaki soba quite a few times recently so decided to go with something different. I had the cha han shichimi tofu. This was  stir fried brown rice cooked in a sweet and sticky sauce with shichimi tofu, mushrooms, red onion, red pepper, cucumber, sweetcorn and edamame beans. topped with coriander cress, crispy fried onions and Japanese pickles.

I really enjoyed the dish. This was a vegan dish, and over the last few years when eating at Wagamama I have usually picked the vegan dishes. I think part of the reason is that the “meat” option is not very inspiring, usually chicken, but in the main the vegan options are really tasty, and cheaper! You could have had this dish with chicken, but the tofu option was £1.50 cheaper, and in my opinion the shichimi tofu was really good. The crisp outside was nice and crunchy with some spice, the soft tofu was a lovely contrasting texture. The rice and sauce was delicious, and actually the tofu in this case was more of a garnish than a core component of the dish. I would like to have had more mushrooms, actually I think their new crispy mushrooms would be a great option on this dish.

I was a little disappointed that our food didn’t arrive at the same time, I know that is the operating model for Wagamama, but even so the delay between our dishes was quite lengthy. My son had his dish for quite a while before my food arrived, and then there was a further delay before the final three dishes arrived. Not as bad as another table, where their side dish arrived well after they had finished their main courses. So much so they had to take it home.

I think part of the issue was that the restaurant had a lot of Deliveroo type orders so was busy cooking those. Similar experience I guess to when we went to Edinburgh.

Overall we had a nice meal, the place was busy, but the service was attentive. It was noticeable though how the number of takeaway and delivery orders were impacting on the service to the customers who were actually sitting down in the restaurant. We know that there has been a huge growth in the demand for these services during the pandemic, but I am not so sure that restaurants have worked out how to manage the whole process, especially now that there are more people going out to eat in the actual restaurant.

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