A couple of weeks ago we trundled off for a day out at Windsor castle. We left late morning and by the time we got there, our tummies were rumbling and so, anticipating a late return home, we decided to sit down and have something 'proper' to eat at Wagamama. All I knew about Wagamama was that it was Japanese-themed, and that they had a children's menu - which was obviously a bonus for us.
Leave Windsor train station and head out towards the arcade and you'll see it on the right. You'd easily miss it though, the glass door looks more like an office building and can be easily missed as you walk by. But even though they have a kid's menu, I'd always felt that Wagamama looked too trendy and not relaxed enough for children. I was about to be proved wrong.
As we entered, a cheery waitress showed us to our seat and gave us menus, a pot of colouring crayons for the girls and a little booklet for the children to colour, with the menu on the back of it.
As they started colouring, we ordered our drinks - my husband had a peach iced tea (very sweet and definitely peachy) and out of curiosity mostly, I ordered the jasmine flowering tea. My tea did attract a bit of staring from people at nearby tables, because it looked like some weird kind of sea anemone curling up in my drink, but it turned out to be a good cup of jasmine tea. When I asked one of the staff how you drink it without getting bits of jasmine leaf on your lip, she just smiled and said "you have to drink it with your eyes".
So after much careful slurping from me (with my mouth, not my eyes, I might add) and colouring from the children, our food arrived - and fairly quickly, too. I ordered the chicken katsu curry with sticky rice. It came with a side salad, tossed in a punchy dressing and sliced red pickles. The portion was enormous - a big armadillo-shaped mound of sticky white rice and some sliced breaded chicken. The katsu curry sauce was fruity and mildly spicy. I loved it.
My husband ordered the green prawn curry, which was really aromatic and you could taste the lime and coriander in the sauce. My six-year old had the crispy cod with sticky rice and a sweet sauce, and she loved the cod (I've now been ordered by her to buy some panko breadcrumbs) but not the sauce. They do also offer a mild curry sauce instead should your child prefer a bit of spice.
My three-year old went, safely, for the fried rice option, with chicken. It came with little ribbons of shredded carrots, sweetcorn, other vegetables, some egg and chicken. The fried rice had a lovely smoky taste, the kind you get from a really well-seasoned wok and we polished off her leftovers.
The staff were very friendly, helpful and knowledgable - it was good to be able to ask them about unfamiliar ingredients on the menu - and there were a few other families with very young children eating there when we went, so obviously they do appeal to the kiddos. Which is weird because with all its sleek tables, benches and internal glass, it does feel like an adults-only kind of trendy restaurant. The restaurant itself felt dimly lit, probably part of creating the atmosphere, but that didn't stop us enjoying our meals. All in all, I'd give this a thumbs up - families are made welcome, the food is tasty, aromatic and tastes fresh and fragrant. And the staff are friendly and relaxed. Just maybe avoid the jasmine flowering tea if you're on a first date...
Wagamama can be found at 31 High Street, Windsor, SL4 1PH, Telephone: 01753 833105. Cost of meals and drinks for two adults and two children: £37.