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!