We had been once before, back when the branch opened, but at the time Michael was still a toddler, and it was a busy day, so we didn't really get to enjoy the experience.
If you're a beginner like me I'll explain what goes on, as it's a little different to a regular western restaurant experience. You are seated at one of the rows of benches and tables, it's surprisingly comfy, and the atmosphere is bustling and friendly. The Belfast branch is quite warm, I mention this because I always like to know that sort of thing when planning what to wear!
Wagamama is primarily a Japanese noodle restaurant, but the menu extends to lavish salads and tasty sides like ribs or dumplings. If you've never been then I strongly recommend using the Wagamama website as a cheat sheet to help you narrow down your meal choice in advance. It has photographs of each of the dishes, which really helps if like me you don't know your soba from your udon.
If you haven't time to play around on the website, don't feel shy about asking your waiter for advice. We had help from a great waiter called Luke, who described to me the most popular dishes and helped me to pick the teriyaki beef soba as my main. I ordered it rare and ohmygod it was delicious.
My husband chose the Firecracker prawn, which was presented as one of the most beautiful dishes I've ever seen. He loves spicy food and is used to ordering so called 'hot' food only to find it to be quite mild, but this was HOT.
Your main cutlery at Wagamama will be chopsticks. I like to think I can use chopsticks, so I ate my noodles with them, but I think I was just mashing the two sticks together and hoping for the best. Don't fret though, your waiter will bring a good old knife and fork with your food too.
We also tried some sides, the gyoza chicken dumplings and the edamame soya beans with chilli and salt. The latter proved another problem for the uninitiated. I wasn't sure how to eat them. The outer shell was coated in seasoning, but was I supposed to eat them whole? Luke to the rescue again who explained your pop the pod in your mouth, eat the beans and pull the case back out. Of course this was after I'd already eaten two or three crunchy bean pods whole.... whoops.
We loved our meal, and big thanks to Luke for the great service. I'm currently having great difficulty resisting phoning my husband and asking him to pick up takeaway Wagamama after writing this post. That beautiful rare steak photo is making me drool!
Let me know on Twitter if you love @WagamamaBelfast too!
The Belfast Doc Marten's Store had it's official launch last night, with music by The Groundlings and a DJ set from Terri Hooley. The iconic building has two storeys of shop floor and features huge artwork by local artist Visual Waste on the winding staircase.
I've never seen so many DMs in one place, both on sale and on feet, as everyone at the opening party had styled their boots or shoes to their own personal taste. I wore my cherry red Mayen Docs, which are incredibly comfy for a high boot. I've been wearing Docs since I was eleven (in 1991!), they are a brand very close to my heart, so it was a great pleasure to be part of the launch of the store.
Drinks were sourced from local brewers Farmageddon, and the food from Love & Death Inc. The fish and chips in cups were amazing.
The store is definitely worth popping into if you're in Belfast this weekend, as there will be discounts and offers running to celebrate the opening. The range includes women's boots and shoes, men's and also children's and even babies' Docs which are terribly cute. The clothing range also tempted me, lots of vintage vibe punk wear and smart mod styles. Make sure you call in and check it out.
We returned to The Salty Dog in Bangor on Saturday to try their afternoon tea selection. Priced at £10 per person, with the option to add a glass of prosecco for £4, it's surprisingly filling. We enjoyed our's just before 4pm and didn't need to eat for the rest of the day.
To begin we had tiny, little posh sandwiches. BLT, smoked salmon and egg, really tasty.
Next we had a selection of scones including cherry and raisin. The cherry jam that comes with your tea is perfect with either the butter or cream on offer.
The final top tier was something very special though. The chocolate shots are unreal, I've never tasted anything like them. The home made macaroons are perfect and beautifully light. I wasn't overly keen on the walnut cake cubes, but we also had a little plate of carrot cake that was light as air which made up for that.
If you'd like to visit The Salty Dog, afternoon tea is served seven days a week between 11am and 4pm.
The Salty Dog Facebook Page has a competition running this week to win a meal for two at their 'Fish Supper' night this Thursday. They also have a Game Night and a Gin Tasting Night coming up, with full details on their FB Page. They will be matching gins to various courses of the meal, and serving special gin based cocktails. We went to the 'Snout to Trotter' tasting night and it was quite an experience!
Doctor Who loves his Doc Martens. He's worn versions of the British boot in various regenerations, and his assistants are keen on the versatile, hard-wearing but fashionable brand too.
The blog The Fashion of Doctor Who should be a terrific bookmark if you love the costumes on the show. It can help you locate pieces you see the characters wearing on screen.
On Thursday I'll be at the VIP opening of the new Doctor Marten shop in Belfast, so I'll keep my eyes pealed for the TARDIS. If I meet him I'll ask him does he own a pair of these- TARDIS Ugg slippers.
These WWE Stackdown construction sets (let's just say it, Lego, isn't it?) are perfectly priced to stockpile for birthday presents for class friends' this year. Smyths' Toys have the sets in their mix and match, two for £15 range, which is even better than their £9.99 RRP.
Michael is almost seven and a Lego novice, but found the set easy to build by himself with the instructions at hand. He's never caught the wrestling on tv, but it still caught his imagination. So much so that when I flicked through the Christmas toy catalogue this morning, I found he has each of the other sets circled heavily in black Biro!
We were disappointed however that the snake doesn't 'leap' out of the cage at the wrestler, like it seems to suggest on the packaging. Still, a thumbs up for this toy.
Here are the other options.
As the leaves turn orange we find ourselves craving Sunday dinner comfort food, warm pies and stews, sweet, golden crumbles. This September however has given us some peculiarly mild weather, so you can still enjoy cool, fresh salads packed with autumnal colour schemes in the range at Marks & Spencer.
Set your table on fire with these brightly coloured, crisp side salads two for £3 : Spanish Style Chicken lunch £3.80
The reds and oranges continue in the meal deal salads, three items for £3.50
But Sunday lunch is Sunday lunch and with big, hunks of lamb, pulled pork, beef and chicken you can quickly cook up for the whole family for as little as £6.50 for your meat : How delicious does sour cherry & almond crumble pudding sound? Serve hot with a big scoop of vanilla icecream £3.00
Lastly some sweet treats from my little M&S autumn haul. Pecan & Maple cookies which will be a delight with big, builders' mugs of tea £2.00 : Millionaire's Crunch Cereal. Like Cocopops for kids £2.60 : Huge family size Cinder Toffee yoghurt £1.75 There was also a cinnamon and apple variety which I'm going to try next time.
And here is the lamb all cooked up in 40 minutes.