Whilst on my recent jaunt to the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh, one of the evenings my partner and I went for dinner at Wagamama! I was thrilled when my partner suggested we visit the restaurant, as it is one of our favourites. We escaped the wind and rain of the city and were enveloped by the warmth and welcoming scents of Wagamama. Having visited this Japanese restaurant chain across multiple cities throughout the UK, I have come to love and crave the Firecracker Chicken dish (no 92!). It has a good mix of fresh veg and a complex, deep, rich sauce that is packed with authentic flavour and lots of chilli!
After being seated, I ordered this dish from one of the friendliest waitresses ever, but I also decided to treat myself to a BRAND-NEW BEER on the menu. Wagamama have recently teamed up with Meantime Brewing Company to produce two new beers. They are named Kikku and Kansho. With the former being a shichimi (Japanese 7-spice mix) inspired pale ale, I was interested by how well this would complement the fiery firecracker. I’ve seen quite a few Meantime beers on the shelves of supermarkets and in my local pub, but I have only tried a couple of them (generally positive experiences might I add).
The beer arrived promptly (some tap water too – yes, I do drink other, non-alcoholic beverages) and the bottle was sitting, nicely chilled on the wooden table. It had a fiery label, with the Wagamama logo front and centre. The bottle itself and the label were both dark, which fit in well with the Asian restaurant’s characteristic modern and minimalistic set up. I read the description on the back of the bottle which further reinforced that this beer was going to give some heat. I took in the aromas and a variety of spices were layered behind the typical characteristic scent of a pale ale.
It poured a deep amber-wooden colour, little head was produced and tiny bubbles fizzled out on the beers surface. It was smooth for a bottled beer and went down easily. A warmth was left on the back of your palate as the seven-spice shichimi cumulated. Subtle tropical notes, a dry finish, and the essence of a good pale ale made an excellent combination. On Meantime’s page it recommends having this with a ramen or bang bang cauliflower – I wouldn’t recommend anything specifically other than….. try it! Though personally, I must say, it was a match made in heaven with my Firecracker Chicken favourite. Anything other than your typical beer, since shichimi contributes spice, sweet and savoury flavours to the beer (it contains a mix of ingredients from orange peel to chilli to sesame seed). Definitely one to experience with good food and good company!
Rating: 3.25/5. Kikku by Meantime Brewing Company offers complexity and originality – a combination I rarely experience together. It’s not an everyday pale ale, but once every so often this will make for a great meal-pairing drink. It was enjoyable; though note that it is only sold in participating restaurants.
With this beer being a success, I am keen to try the other new beer that has joined the chain’s line up – Kansho. Lime and ginger is promised – we shall wait and see!
Let me know your favourite beers and what to keep looking out for. Thanks for reading and hit the subscribe button to keep up to date with my latest beers.