Headed up by executive chef Steve Mangleshot, the lab will serve dishes, tested monthly, from a new and evolving menu.
The chain’s unseen Asian-inspired dishes will receive immediate customer feedback, which will be broadcast on screens within the restaurant.
This feedback will influence tweaks to the dishes and, depending on the recipes’ success, some of the dishes may be rolled out across the Wagamama national menu.
The system is driven by Yumpingo, a menu development platform which is now working with Wagamama and Wahaca.
The first month’s noodle lab menu will offer a coconut reika ice cream topped with hot katsu curry sauce.
October will present dishes including tantanmen pork ramen; vegatsu (seitan katsu curry); Vietnamese glass noodle salad; and ika katsu – squid balls with okonomiyaki sauce, nori and benito flakes with a Japanese mayonnaise.
Low calorie vegan drinks laced with a hint of cayenne pepper created by the brand’s new partner Nix and Kix will sit on the menu alongside Seedlip’s distilled non-alcoholic spirits.
“Launching noodle lab allows people to have a direct impact on how we grow and develop as a brand,” says Mangleshot.
“We are innovators that strive to constantly push boundaries.”
The move is the latest in a line of menu developments from Wagamama. Two weeks ago the company rolled out a new29-item vegan and vegetarian menu.
Its spicy yasai samla curry was awarded ‘best curry’ in PETA’s 2017 Food Awards.
Wagamama now operates over 170 restaurants in 21 countries, including the US and Saudi Arabia.