Lana’s Birthday Lunch at Wagamama

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Anyone who’s got kids knows that you won’t feel comfortable going to just any restaurant for a meal anymore – it needs to be a place where you and your children are made to feel welcome, where there is a kids’ menu, where you can fit a buggy in and where there is some entertainment for the little ones. Baby changing facilities are important too!

A place I’ve always felt welcome with kids is Wagamama – a restaurant chain that serves fresh Japanese inspired food. I remember particularly one time I was meeting a friend for lunch at the Lothian road branch with an incredibly loud, messy and squirmy 18-month old Lana – but the staff was lovely and never made me feel like we weren’t welcome. Instead they made sure Lana had plenty of pens, paper and chopsticks to play with and told me they’ll clean up the mess.

So when Wagamama got in touch to ask if myself and my family would fancy visiting the new snazzy St Andrew Square restaurant I didn’t hesitate. Matthew was off on Lana’s 3rd birthday last week, so as Wagamama is always a safe bet we decided it’s a good place to enjoy her birthday lunch!

St Andrew Square is completely transformed, and Wagamama is one of many restaurants to open there, including the Ivy, Wahaca and Dishoom. Wagamama have restaurants all over the country, and I still remember first eating there when I was working in London.

Wagamama take the environment seriously and all their restaurants are powered by renewable green electricity, they turn their leftover food into power with the help of an anaerobic digester (I’m not sure what that is but it sounds good!) and only use free range eggs (which, to be fair, doesn’t necessarily mean much better living conditions for chickens).

They are totally rocking the industrial look. We were instantly greeted and then seated in the roomy upstairs seating area – there’s a lift at the back for buggies and wheelchairs.

Have to mention here that my beloved husband Matthew managed to delete all the photos he took with our big camera…Thankfully I took quite a few photos with my phone!

The street level area was quite busy, but upstairs was nice and quiet (until we rocked up). Lana got a big balloon earlier when Matthew took her to Jenners toy department that she managed to pop so loudly that the other guests thought there was a gunshot…They looked really scared for a while. Sorry!!

We were seated in one of these booths by a friendly waitress.

Throughout January and February Wagamama is partnering with the charity Mind to raise awareness of mental health, and these placemats that are fun for both kids and adults to colour in have been created for that. According to Mind, approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year – hence we really need to support charities such as Mind!

Lana is getting better and better at drawing and colouring, and also finding it more and more enjoyable. It’s so fun to watch as a parent!

The kid’s menu at Wagamama is fantastic and definitely better than in most restaurants. We got Lana some mini grilled noodles with tofu (yasai) and the waitress made it clear we can mix and match if we want – so we did!

Just look at the iPad set-up for the two small twins in the back! Lana had her new toys so she was pretty busy, but at some point she was leaning over and watching with the babies haha.

Now here’s something Wagamama get a big thumbs up from me for; FRESHLY SQUEEZED juices. I get so annoyed when I order a “fresh” juice somewhere only to find out it’s straight out of a carton. It happens all the time! But here you can see that this is actually a fresh juice – which Lana thoroughly enjoyed too!

The mirrors at the end of the tables were screaming out for some reflection shots. Just wish we had moved those crayons and noodles!

The menu is extensive with so many things to choose from, including many vegan options – which I think is amazing even though I’m not on a vegan diet anymore. We ordered some edamame beans (a must), roasted cauliflower (so tasty) and duck dumplings for Matthew (nice but a bit dry he said). Lana is trying to get the hang of using her children’s’ chopsticks…

…but it proved to be a bit too difficult, so she did what she does at home and tucked in with her fingers…

That dress is a present from Nana and Pop she picked out herself. It’s one of those school uniform dresses and I’m still amazed she chose that and not something incredibly tacky and sparkly that she would normally go for!

Matthew’s main was a fresh-looking plate of seared tuna with quinoa, kale and other veggies. He said it was really tasty!

I ordered some noodles with tofu, egg, vegetables and fresh ginger. The dish comes with mushrooms but I asked to have it without and that was no problem. The portion was big so I struggled to finish the whole thing – which I guess is a good problem to have.

More playing with Lana’s new toys. Maya woke up just as the food arrived, so I fed her and then she dropped off soon again after crying for a while. I didn’t mean to look that fed up!

And the best part of any meal according to me: the dessert! It being Lana’s birthday there was no way she was going without one  – so vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce it was. Happy face.

And Matthew and I “shared” a chocolate parfait hazelnut cake that was very, very satisfying.

As we were about to leave I looked over to the table next door and noticed three carefully placed princesses on top of the soya sauces – I don’t know how she always manages to do these things!

With lots of deliciousness in our bellies we headed home so I could start baking for Lana’s much awaited birthday party the following day. As I said; Wagamama is always a safe bet – also if you have children!

x Nina x

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