My taste buds veritably pricked up upon seeing an entry on Wagamama, and everything Iain
says is spot on
The first Wagamama opened on a small street tucked away near the British Museum and was frequented exclusively by young fashionable folks, so it started out as a Londoners' secret, but then, as is the way of these things, through word of mouth it became more mainstream and therefore less desireable. The final nail in it's coffin of coolness was its inclusion in tourist guides causing hoards of them to descend on the place and drive out the regulars who did not wish to sit at the aforementioned canteen style benches, where one is perilously close to their fellow noodle-consumers, and listen to tourist chat.
The opening of more branches (Camden, Marylebone etc.) made it a "chain restaurant", certainly more forgiveable than a "theme restaurant", but somewhat ruining the kudos, and for me meant I could no longer view it as a rare treat when I found myself in the Holborn area, but more a staple of my diet.
Still, the food, the Plum Wine and the waiters are all yummy.