The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

London's food = not so bad

061208 013
Tube escalator

"Hey, now I'm as tall as you are!" Amadeep and I were standing on the escalator going down the Tottenham Court Road tube station, with me one step higher than him. I'm only about five feet tall; I'm used to people towering over me.

"Actually, you're a little bit taller than me."

"Oh. ...SWEET!"

"I've seen really short people before. You know, like this tall [holds out hand about waist-high over the ground] with arms like this [pulls arms closer to body so that they resemble nubbly appendages]"

"Um, are you sure those are humans?"

"Yeah! I think they're referred to as 'midgets'. I happen to call them 'goblins'."

Sigh. I'm going to miss Amadeep.

First day in London

I didn't plan my trip to London very well. The original plan way back when was to meet up with Sophie (the girl who ate more than everything) and gorge on something unhealthy, until work reared its ugly head (but I suppose work isn't the worst thing since it leads to moolah, which results in more eating possibilities) and stole Sophie away from me. I also emailed Amadeep a few times about meeting up, but we didn't confirm that until a few hours before dinner on Saturday night. I didn't mean to subject my way too friendly host, Leanne, to spending so much time with me, not that I don't enjoy hanging out with her but I know she has a life that doesn't involve making sure I don't get horribly lost around London.

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Night time and tube-ing
In the end, everything worked out. After arriving at Waterloo I wandered around with my three friends from school who were going to stay in a friend's dorm from Southwark to Tralfalgar Square where I was bombarded by the greatest number of Starbucks locations I've ever seen outside of NYC. By the time we got to Tralfalgar Square I realized I had to figure out how to get to Leanne's place near The Barbican. Thankfully the tube is easy to follow, although a note for future London tourists I'd make is to get an Oyster card, which they don't really advertise and you can't get everywhere. So helpful, eh?

061208 011
Gourmet Burger Kitchen

I did get to her place at some point (15 minutes later than I had planned) without losing my way. After I got settled in my new home for the next two days (aka, her living room), we went to Gourmet Burger Kitchen for dinner before heading to ULU to see Peter Bjorn & John.

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My overall rating for GBK is that it's not the best burger everrr, but it's uber filling and I'd be tempted to go there a lot if I actually lived near one. They have more than 20 types of burgers including some vegetarian options, all of which I'd want to try. My venison burger was juicy enough (I guess not everything has to be dripping in meat fluids) and was topped with some relish-y spicy red currant sauce, crispy lettuce and slices of tomato and onion. Eating it with my hands was kind of impossibly unless my hands were inhumanly large. Which they weren't. I cut the burger—impaled by a skinny, long wooden slewer so that it wouldn't plop apart—into managable chunks with my fork and knife. After finishing most of it (or perhaps I ate the whole thing; I'm not sure), I hugged my distended belly and prayed for faster digestion.

061208 008
fried golden delicious

Leanne and I shared what looked like a reasonable portion of thick cut fries with accompanying garlic mayo, but it ended up being an undefeatable mountain of golden, crispy fried wedges-o-starch with a pot of mayo that contained the concentrated power of 500 garlic cloves. We suffocated each fry in a bath of sulfuric compounds. Tasty sulfuric compounds. Unless you're really, really hungry, it's best to share the fries between three or more people.

061208 021 Victoria Bergsman
Peter Bjorn & John...but actually without Bjorn or John since those photos didn't come out as well, and with Victoria Bergsman

The concert made me happy. Because nothing says fun like sweating for a few hours and enduring the pain of standing in the same spot for a proloned period of time. I really do enjoy concerts though, mostly if I'm familiar with the performer. It's inspiring to see people play instruments and sing at a level that you will never attain, or even if you did you'd pass out after standing under bright lights after 20 minutes. I'll write a proper review in my other blog at some point; I'm too lazy right now.


When we went back to her apartment, Leanne pulled out her new inflatable mattress whose presence I was to inagurate. By settling all my weight on it. But first, we had to fill it with air...which proved difficult when we found that it lacked an electric air pump. However, it did come with a built-in foot pump. Which took maybe 20 minutes (or was it longer?) to fill the mattress. Leanne, Jeremy (Leanne's boyfriend, as they both live in the same apartment) and I took turns doing some kind of strange workout dance (which I would call the [fwoosh fwck fwoosh] dance after the melifluous sounds made by the pump) to convert the mattress skin into something that would suitably lift a human off the hard floor. We could hardly believe it when it actually worked.

Lesson: don't buy an inflatable mattress unless it comes with an electrical pump.

On the upside, I had a notably good night's sleep, probably because I didn't have to use an alarm the next morning.

So much walking, oh boy

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Food food food

Leanne and I started our day at a market right outside her apartment complex. After walking up and down the street maybe four times, we moved onto Borough Market, which involved walking...around. I just followed Leanne as we went across the pedestrian-only Millennium Bridge, past the Tate Modern, past other stuff, until BOOM...

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Whoa, humans! And stuff.

...We found the sea of people craving foodstuffs. Baked goods, cheeses, meats, produce, confections, other stuff, over and over and over again. It wasn't as scary as a night market in Taipei, but it was one of the most crowded and largest markets I had ever been to. Unfortunately, I wasn't up to invading every foodie nook and cranny since that would probably involve shoving into lots of people.

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Fried = delicious

After walking around most of the vendors, I got a fish buttie (aka sammich) for lunch. Hot, crispy, golden flaky strips of fish with just the right amount of tartar sauce smoosh between two thick slices of soft, chewy bread. Ooh yes, it's good. For my tastebuds. Not my health.

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Tate Modern

After that we went back towards Tate Modern, the only museum I really wanted to go to (I went to the other major ones the last time I went to London) because I like looking at art and then laughing because I don't "get it".


Don't hate me for not going on the slides; I was too tired to wait around (you get a ticket that gives you a time slot, or you can wait in line to go on the two-story slide). We went into all the free exhibition halls where nothing especially touched the bottom of my soul, but I at least found enjoyable. Especially since it was free.

Since Leanne was in the beginning stages of getting a cold in addition to being tired, I finally got in touch with Amadeep to do some fooding that night and allow Leanne to regain some energy. He said to meet at the Virgin Megastore outside Picadilly Circus at 8 PM. "Or make that 8:10; I'll probably be late. Or how about 8:13?" Which is how I ended up waiting outside the store until 8:30. If I didn't think it would be worth meeting him, I would've been more frustrated.


Times Square-ish

I didn't really know what Amadeep looked like, but I assumed he would recognize me. That tends to happen when I meet online friends in real life who don't choose to reveal as much about themselves as I do about myself. However, even while staring blankly at the store entrance while standing near the facing sidewalk barrier, I noticed one guy who stood out. He walked a bit more slowly...then looped around...walked back...looped around again...

...And then he was standing next to me. "You're so shy!"

He said he had wanted to pretend he was lost and ask me for directions, but changed his mind.

Amadeep is not a food friend (I met him a few years ago through mutual interest in Sigur Ros), but he follows my livejournal and catches the few food photo-laden posts I make that induce drooling, according to him. We've mainly communicated through livejournal comments over the past few years, which has somehow provided enough insight into the other person to find meeting up worthwhile.

He ended up being just how I imagined him to be in real life from his online personality. Which is a very comforting thing. Sometimes people are different for better or worse and it can feel kind of awkward. It makes me wonder, "How could you be so...different?" Of course, don't even think of asking me what my opinions of your online/offline personas are. I WILL SAY NOTHING! I just mention Amadeep because he's a bit of a special case. Hanging out with him reminded me how differently I act around certain people. It's not just a case of hiding some characteristics or amplifying others, but...really acting quite different because I know it's more acceptable, thus making me feel more comfortable.

Amadeep is a joker. He doesn't really called midgets goblins, I mean. I think. It's fairly easy to tell when he's saying something truthful or in jest, but I can see his personality being confusing to other people. I was just so damn relieved, even giddy, that I too could be completely non-serious and play along with weird jokes, or even make weird jokes that would receive some kind of positive response and not dead silence/a weird look. It's kind of how I can act with Mare or Tristan, but...differently. I have no idea how many weird goofy personalities are hidden inside me; they only come out around certain people. Which kind of makes me wonder what my natural personality is.


I wanted to buy this, yet I didn't. Odd.

But back to the fooding. Amadeep literally dragged me (well, not on the floor, but there was much playful jacket tugging involved, which made me wonder if it would've been easier to put me on a kiddie leash) from Piccadilly Circus past some touristy areas alight with neon glow-age passed the two streets of Chinatown to the Bloomsbury Wagamama. We had passed another Wagamama, but Amadeep scoffed at it, saying the Bloomsbury one was better and less crowded. At my request we stopped in a little pastry and snack shop in Chinatown that advertized egg custard tarts in their window.

"Have you ever had an egg custard tart before?"


"WHAAAT?" (On retrospect, it's totally non-weird to have not eating an egg custard tart, but I wasn't in any normal reacting mode at the time.)

"Actually, I don't eat egg."


"I'm a vegetarian."

"Like a vegan?"

"No, I just don't eat meat, fish and egg."

"So you eat dairy?"


"Okay, whatever."

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It glows

After shivering while walking in the freezing weather (which I actually liked and thought felt refreshing, as long as it wasn't windy) we finally made it to the less tourist laden Wagamama. Amadeep was visibly excited to be bringing me to THE GREAT WAGAMAMA. God, I love that name. I have the inclination to lengthen it into Wagamamamomahfuhmuhfoog.

I had trouble deciding what to get. My inner turmoil at the sight of a menu laden with choices that all pleased me was quite visible, causing Amadeep to comment that I was one of the most indecisive people he had ever met, or something to that degree. Well. it is hard to choose when you like most food and don't have a diet restriction. I asked him what was good and he so helpfully pointed out all the vegetarian options.


I did end up going with a veg dish, the yasai katsu curry: "slices of sweet potato, aubergine and butternut squash deep-fried in panko breadcrumbs. served with a light curry sauce and japanese-style rice. garnished with a combination of mixed leaves and red pickles." Oh god. If there were Wagamamas in Paris or NYC, I'd probably at them a lot. I love curry, but the vegetarian curry options are a bit thin, and even though I'm not always in the mood for pork katsu, I order it because I know it's tasty and it's usually the best option. I'd totally go for sweet potato, eggplant and squash if it were more readily available. When it is an option, it's usually in tempura-ed, not katsu-ed. There is a difference, that being that I like katsu more than tempura. Anyhoo, this dish made me happy. Short grained sticky rice with mild curry sauce (I like it spicier) and crispy breaded slices o yummy vegetable stuff. No complaints; it is what it is.

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Amadeep ordered the yasai itame: "stir-fried bok choi, tofu, red onions, red peppers, oyster mushrooms and beansprouts. served with rice noodles in a spicy coconut and green chilli soup. garnished with coriander, mint and a wedge of lime". I didn't try it, but it looked damn tasty. I was done with my plate of rice and fried goodies before he was even halfway through his bowl. At first I figured he just ate really slowly, until....

"...Dude, your chopsticks!" He hadn't broken his chopsticks apart; he just carefully held they open just wide enough so that they could grasp his food without breaking apart.

"I can't use them well!"

"You should...try."

"I already did."

I pulled out a pen and pencil to demonstrate since by this point my plate and chopsticks had been taken away. And then I realized I had no idea how to explain it. (However, I don't even hold my pencil correctly, so I'm probably not the best person to teach the secrets of chopstick usage.)

"Urm, nevermind."

He was too full to finish the whole bowl. After the waitress took it away, I told him that I probably would've eaten it. Because I'm just a vacuum cleaner made of flesh and bone. And blood and plasma.

Of course, I wasn't done eating yet. The desserts looked interesting and you know me and my sweet tooth (it's ginormous). I asked the waitress to help me choose between the tamarind and chilli pavlova and the white chocolate and ginger cheesecake. After she said that the cheesecake was more popular and the pavlova was the "stranger" of the two, I went straight for the pavlova.

"I knew you would get that." Amadeep figured out my eating habits so quickly.


The three-layered pavlova, "a sweet spiced tamarind parfait with a crunchy meringue base. served with a sweet chilli sauce", was definitely a bit weird, but also tasty. I would only object to the structurally awkward spongy marshmallow-y texture of the pavlova, which made it hard to cut into with my spoon, thus destroying the otherwise elegant cylindrical-ness of the dessert.

The real kick of the dessert was the chili sauce. It burned. I thought everything was find and dandy, like "Ah, that had a bit o spice to it, loverly," (alright, I don't think in those terms at all) until I felt a burning sensation in the back of my throat similar to the one I've had when I tried chili flavored chocolate. Except this was stronger. And pretty awesome. Since it's not on your tongue it's not like...eating a chili pepper (which isn't smart, and I know from experience and subsequent feelings of taste bud death), but it definitely kicks your throat like, BOOYA FOOGAMAFOOG, or whatever it is that would say if it could speak English.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first visit to Wagamamamooga (yes, opposed to partially) and would like to go back. God knows when I'll be in London again though. It's not like two years ago I was planning to visit again anytime soon (the first visit was kind of impulsive since a friend invited me to her home about a hour away from London), which made meeting Amadeep a bittersweet experience. We got to hang out for a few hours and there's no way to know if it will happen again. It meant a lot to me for reasons that I could go into if it weren't so boring and time consuming for you to read.

I gave him a genuinely big hug, assuming it would be my last.


I actually have more to say about my trip, but it doesn't feel right to tag my last fooding excursion onto the end of this entry. So wait! For the next one!


Gourmet Burger Kitchen
Unit 4, Condor House, St Paul's Church Yard, London EC4M 8AL
Metro: St Paul's (Central)

Borough Market
8 Southwark St, London, SE1 1TL
Metro: London Bridge (Northern, Jubilee)

4 Streatham St, London, WC1A 1JB
Metro: Tottenham Court Road (Central, Northern)


Natalie / December 11, 2006 10:40 AM

Oh, yay I've been waiting for your London post for the longest time! I hate reading about all these yummy food and thinking I can't go there! Anyway, I was wondering what are the price ranges for Wagamama and GBK? I find the prices in London insanely high and I have yet to find a midrange restaurant was decent food. Being a student sucks!!! Incidentally I'll be hitting Paris soon and I've been taking notes from your entries. =) Prepare for some serious competition for the last croissant/palmier.

adelyn / December 11, 2006 1:23 PM

fish and chips. rock on! fried anything = deliciousness, i so agree. i'm glad to hear that london went well!

oh my god, the pavlova! i wonder if that has any relation to "pavlov" and his pavlovian know where he conditioned the dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell signalling food. that would be hilarious. b/c my mouth would def start to water uncontrollably at the sight of that cylinder of awesomeness!

Alexa / December 11, 2006 2:20 PM

Hey, a London post! yay! Did you swing by Neal's Yard Dairy when you were at the Borough Market? BEST CHEESE SHOP EVER

susannah / December 11, 2006 5:22 PM

ooooh, your friends noods look sooo good. I have been craving homey Japanese food for months, and no matter how much I have it, it seems not to go away.

london is crazy expensive, I hear, but you're probably used to that in Paris. Are you looking forward to coming home, or not at all?

keep the posts coming, I'm in withdrawal! =P

roboppy / December 11, 2006 5:48 PM

Natalie: Oh yeah, stuff in London is quite expensive. :( I couldn't understand how a one-way tube ticket could be 3 pounds. Anyhoo, my dinner at GBK and Wagamama was about 10 pounds each. Pricier than I'd usually go for, but not surprising in London I guess. If I keep converting stuff to USD I feel like crying.

Adelyn: You know what's a good fried thing I could go for? ICE CREAM! Yeaah. I used to love tempura ice cream. Mraah [mind wanders]

Actually, it's named after a ballet dancer...but you can pretend it's named after the psychological experiments. :D They're unintentionally related!

Alexa: Oh no, I didn't go there, but I probably passed it? There were so many cheese vendors! With more cheese than I'd ever want to eat. I wasn't in a cheese eating mood. (Has anyone noticed that I dont really eat cheese in Paris? Eeh. Poot on me. I'd rather eat croissants.)

Susannah: I always want homey Japanese food. WHY DON'T I HAVE A JAPANESE GRANDMOTHER?! (sniff) I guess I'd be even fatter now if I did. Rawr.

I found London more expensive than Paris, but I tend to forget to convert euros to dollars. I mean, I do a really rough calculation, while pounds are easier since it's about twice as much. [shudders] I think things are cheaper here though.

I'm not DREADING going home, but I will miss it here. I'm not sick of Paris at all. I'm most looking forward to seeing some good friends. CAN'T WAIT FOR NEW YEAR'S EVE!!@!!@##!@

I felt bad for falling behind on my posts! Frankly, I haven't been eating much interesting stuff lately. I've eaten at least 5 sandwiches though. Uh huuuh.

maria~ / December 11, 2006 6:27 PM

Yummm... delicious! When I was in London, I made the mistake of not trying out Wagamama. My sister and I went into the restaurant but we already ate so we just ordered some edamame and ice cream. Sigh~

Can't wait till you go to Harrod's!

Mary Sue / December 11, 2006 8:08 PM

How to use chopsticks!

I got hit on a lot in Japan when I was eating out, 'cause they were like, "Dude, fat Mexican girl knows how to use 'sticks. MUST ASK HER TO PERFORM INAPPROPRIATE ACTS ON ME AT THE DINNER TABLE WHILE SHE ENJOYS HER NOODLES! And then be amazed at how well she can curse you out in Japanese and storm off in a huff."

Jeanne / December 11, 2006 9:15 PM

I'm going to London! (if I can get through these finals...) I am totally going to copy you and eat wherever you happened to mention was good. Mmm fish & chips...I swear that was the only good thing I had last time I was in London...I was with a crappy school tour that took us to Pizza Hut. I don't eat Pizza Hut here, why would I pay thousands just to eat at the British one?

Food is yummy / December 11, 2006 9:23 PM

London is great! Yauatcha has pretty genuine dim sum, but shocking prices (like everything in London). Baker and Spice chocolate almond croissants and rugelach are amazing, but you have to get there early or things get finished. Skip River Cafe, it's not that great, for Italian Zafferano is better. Did you try the venison burger in Boroughs? Mmm, good... Laduree in Harrod's is slightly less amazing than in Paris. (Only in Harrod's would a Krispy Kreme be right next to one of the most prestigious French patisseries!) What an awesome city, if only you didn't feel broke after every subway/cab ride.

susannah / December 11, 2006 10:38 PM

just got the new food and wine - wagamama is under top 100 things to taste haha

you're ahead of the game, robyn ;-)

Sarah / December 11, 2006 10:58 PM

You just brought back memories for me. I lived in England for a year in college and we spent a month in London. My friends and I loved eating at the Wagamama's that you went to. Good stuff!

roboppy / December 11, 2006 11:54 PM

Maria: Ooh, I went to Harrod's during my last trip so I actually didn't go this time! :O I'm aware of the massive moutains of yummy things there though, hehe. Next time perhaps I will actually eat something from there.

Mary Sue: Thanks for the link; I shall pass it on.

Ah, my lil' Chinese-America self would be be totally repulsive to Japanese men. YEY! :P

Jeanne: Oh my god, PIZZA HUT! No no no! ...That does remind me of something though; Alex had a craving for Pizza Hut when we passed one near my school last week. I was like, "Come on, that's so American!" but for a second I was briefly blinded by the tasty gutbusting prospect of stuffing myself with gooey greasy cheesy bread stuffs. Mmm.

Candace: Oh, you can find good burgers in America! If you know where to look. :) But yeah, there's probably a lot of crap to slog though as well. Doh.

Food is yummy: Ahh, so many recommendations! I'll have to keep em in mind the next time I go to London...god knows when that'll be. No venison burger from Borough Market for me. Perhaps that was one of the vendors with the really long line? :O I did think the Krispy Kreme in Harrod's looked out of place, haha.

Sara: No waaay! Weird coincidence! I hope you ate awesome stuff. :) Write your blog entry! (But don't stay up until 4 AM doing it like I did.)

Susannah: Sweet! But I have 99 more to go!

Sarah: I'm glad I could bring back good memories! And out of all the Wagamamas I could eat at, I went to yours? Oo.

piccola / December 12, 2006 3:47 AM

I'm so glad you went to Borough Market. I used to go there and make a meal out of all the samples...

Next time you want a UK sammich, get the "chip buttie" - basically a French fry sammich. So bad yet so good...

Tina / December 12, 2006 5:00 AM

That burger looks delicious! And I like venison meat, too. It kinda sucks that Shake Shack closed earlier this month and after seeing your burger is making me crave some. Darn.

The pavlova you've eaten sounds funky. I never would've thunk of eating a dessert flavored with tamarind and chili.

Alison / December 12, 2006 5:50 AM

You are so cute! Love your life, please! You are a lucky gal.

That sounded like a horrible attempt at a haiku. WTF? Seriously, I love your entries and envy your life. I hope you love every day, because you are doing such awesome stuff on a daily basis.

roboppy / December 12, 2006 11:24 AM

piccola: Oo, I saw someone get the chip buttie from the fried fish place. It's a mountain of chips! In BREAD! Oh god! I can't imagine eating that, but I'd try it at least once.

Tina: There are other good bugeries in NYC that are open. :D I think I'll check some out when I get back home, bwahahahrrr.

I wouldn't have thought about eating the dessert either, but the waitress CHALLENGED ME! Kinda. Not really. I just took it as a challenge.

Alison: HAHAA, what an awesome haiku-sounding thing. ;) Please don't envy my life too much. You don't want..pants that feel too tight and asthma and weird anxiety about EVERYTHING and BLAH BLAH, I have a feeling my lifespan isn't going to be very long.

elizabeth / December 12, 2006 1:40 PM

Hello! Have been reading this for a year or so, and the food reviews always brighten my day! That pavlova must have been quite something... . The stuffed-food notice is hilarious--it sounds like death by meat, and it ends with such a deadpan, ordinary "stuffed pheasants" after all the other exotic things (duck stuffed with steaks?!...)

And the title for this post reminded me of this amusing (or at least, I find it so :p) Barry Manilow song, Bermuda Triangle (Not So Bad). Probably unintended on your part, but anyway, it made me smile :)

Marsha / December 12, 2006 7:35 PM

All of this is very exciting to read, especially since my daughter is definitely going to Paris in January for 5 months, and she predicts that she will be traveling around as you are to other countries as well (I hope to visit briefly in April). I keep telling her that things are expensive in London, but it's good to have your guidance as to options. By the way, you don't have any ideas for finding a place to live in Paris, do you? She and two other students (or perhaps just one) are trying to work with her school to find a rental, and I must admit to being nervous until this is sorted out. But your adventures go far in reassuring me, so keep us posted!

roboppy / December 13, 2006 12:30 PM

Elizabeth: Thanks for sticking around for so long. ;) Stuffed pheasants are all the rage. Except for vegetarians.

Meat...inside other meat...[shudders]

The song reference was totally unintended. Now I'm reminded that when I was little i was afraid of the Bermuda triangle. I thought if I got near it I would DIE.

Marsha: 5 months, whoa! That's awesome. As for finding a place to live, her school doesn't help at all? I'm not very familiar with apartment hunting; I just know that some people do that before they get here. There are apartment listings in free periodicals and on websites, but I don't know them offhand. :\

Viola / December 14, 2006 4:19 PM

Ahh! Your trip to London brings back so many memories since I went there myself last summer. My friends and I went to Wagamama's quite a bit, but if you're into seafood, then there's another great place called Bellagio's in SoHo (near Gerrard St, if I remember correctly). They serve mussels in curry sauce (my personal favorite, but they have a variety of flavors) and fruity German beers, which were really good (this coming from someone who dislikes beer)! Enjoy London while you makes me so nostalgic I want to buy a ticket back there now *tear*

seth / December 16, 2006 4:24 AM

Mmmmm Wagamamadiddillydoolicious.
Too bad Republic in New York just doesn't compete. Not sure why though.

roboppy / December 16, 2006 5:55 AM

Viola: Eek, I couldn't enjoy London for that long during my short stay. Next time! Ya! Whenever that is! I've never seen mussels in curry sauce before.

Seth: I've only been to Republic once but you're right; I liked Wagamama more. (Maybe it's the name. Haha.) They're not exactly the same, but they're comparable, eh? But Republic is cheaper at least? ;)

c / December 18, 2006 12:32 AM

sweeeeeet... they just opened a GBK in the town where i live, about 40 mins out of London... have yet to try it...

they also have wagamama restaurants in Australia if you happen to be there any time soon... it's a fair way from here, but is also the best place in the world! yay

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