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Monday, 14 July 2014

Lunch at Wagamama in London and time spent with a well known playwright.

Howard Brenton
This time last week I had the privilege of being invited down to London to interview the playwright Howard Brenton for the high quality amateur theatre magazine, Sardines. Time was short and I arrived at St Pancras, fresh from a two hour train journey from Nottingham and took the most direct route possible on the underground to the river Thames. I had never been to The Globe Theatre before but had a rough idea where it lay. The south bound Northern Line took me to the London Bridge station and I exited through a closing market and made my way out on to the Thames embankment via throngs of people and an old ship in dry dock. The area looked very thriving. After a brief call on my mobile I met up with Paul Johnson, Editor in Chief of Sardines magazine. Despite the title the magazine has nothing to do with food but takes its title from a running gag in the comic- play Noises Off. As I suspected from our numerous phone calls he was a very nice, intelligent fella and great fun to be around.

Paul and I had a short meeting to discuss the forthcoming interview. We sat next to the café bar at The Globe and then we headed to the box office to announce our presence and shortly afterwards had a very pleasant interview with renowned playwright Howard Brenton. Full interview can be read in the August edition of Sardines.



Pleased with the interview, Paul and I headed off in search of lunch. London was particularly busy due to the Tour de France event that day and even though we were a few miles away from the main action the crowds were evident. After perusing a few places along the riverside we settled on Wagamama's. This was the branch at Clink Street - Bankside. I hadn't eaten at this establishment anywhere in the country before so the menu was new to me and because of our convivial chatter it took me a while to decide on what to eat. To start off we ordered a couple of chilled beers. It was a hot day and a good choice. Neither of us were bothered about starters as such. Nor were we bothered about slurping up steaming bowls of noodles either. Something more, how shall I say - dignified - was preferred at this, our first, casual and relaxed business lunch.

After some deliberation I settled on the chicken raisukaree; an unctous stir fried chicken and vegetables in a coconut and lime curry sauce, augmented with mange tout, peppers, red and spring onions served on sticky white rice and garnished with red chillies, coriander and lime. Paul went for the chicken katsu curry - a bread crumbed chicken breast deep fried in panko breadcrumbs and served with sticky fried rice, garnished and dressed with mixed leaves and red pickles.

chicken raisukaree
Due to the ginger and chilli in my meal (exacerbated by the fact I had the remnants of a head cold)  I developed an irritating cough that was only halted by a very enjoyable dessert of coconut reika ice cream; three scoops of dairy coconut ice cream topped with a fresh, tangy mango sauce and very edible and crunchy toasted coconut flakes. I discovered that, as well as being a popular Wagamama  dessert, reika is a Japanese word used for chilled sweets or ice cream. The tangy mango sauce was so rich and tasty it remained on the palpate long after the ice cream had dissipated.



During lunch I showed Paul an image, on my tablet, that I had taken of a dish I had made recently of fresh rope grown mussels cooked in a Mediterranean style with lots of garlic, onions and tomatoes in a white wine sauce and fresh coriander. He seemed impressed and I was forthcoming about this blog and its contents and origins. Over lunch was a good time to chat and get to know each other better.


Sardines kindly paid for the meal and Paul and I took a stroll towards the London Eye and Paul headed home via Waterloo as it began to rain. I headed off to familiar haunts around Covent Garden and Piccadilly and took a few photos before returning to St Pancras and the train home.



1 comment:

Christopher Frost said...

Wagamamas isn't a bad place to eat. There's a branch in the Cornerhouse. I've been there a couple of time for lunch with some workmates. Not been for some time, as I've changed jobs and its too far to walk to now