On Friday evening, after one or two (or three or four) outdoor beers in Canary Wharf, TheFrankFlyer and I agreed that it was probably a good idea to have some food.
And to my great delight, it turned out that our local Wagamama had reopened!
So we secured a socially-distanced table and ordered our first Waga since before lockdown kicked in. I’m not saying it’s the best restaurant in London. It’s not even the best restaurant in Canary Wharf! But it’s comfort food, fully of happy memories, and represented another micro-step towards normality.
We got the now-familiar COVID-19 briefing before being escorted to our table. One of my bugbears with Wagamama is being shoe-horned in next to a large group of people on a busy Friday night. No chance of this happening now and it was very pleasant to have some space around us.
(Despite the COVID regulations briefing from our waiter, he managed to touch our chopsticks with his bare hands several times before handing them over, defeating the whole purpose of keeping distant. Luckily, we both spotted this and TheFrankFlyer had a pack of disinfectant wipes to hand. When asked for feedback on the experience, this was the main thing we fed back.)
I didn’t want to shake things up too much, so ordered some Ebi Katsu and a Chicken Katsu Curry. However, there’s a new ‘spicy’ version of this old favourite, so I opted for that. Full of confidence (and beer) about my ability to handle the heat.
How wrong I was.
Yes, I managed to finish the whole thing, but mostly due to my own stubbornness and severe hunger. My eyes went from watery to full on tears by the end of the meal. I was turning to the Ebi Katsu spicy dip for relief! (Not really). While delicious, it’s a big step up in terms of heat, and I’d suggest thinking twice before ordering.
Regardless of the permanent damage to my lips, tongue and throat, it was lovely to be back in a regular haunt and almost felt like a typical Friday night out.