IT’S a dog-eared and world-weary welcome at Wagamama tonight as I wander in and ask for a table, the serving person already looking bored by the time I have uttered “for two”. But I get the drift. Follow them to a trestle-table by the window, climb aboard one of these bench seats and there’s a menu.

The at-the-table service won’t get much more interested throughout though weirdly it’s the complete opposite whenever food is brought from the kitchen by different people.

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Now it’s with a big smile and a bigger exclamation mark. “Your prawn nori!” And then: “The spicy miso mackerel!” We’re each eating a mini pork-belly bao bun (“your pork belly bao!”), £7.80 for two (the dough is great) and picking away at a so-so duck gyoza, same price, when I spot something I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a restaurant before.

Have a look behind, I suggest to Joe as he pivots. A giant question mark bobbing above his head. Single diners, I say. People eating alone. Loads of them. I’m counting four separate men and women, eating gloriously, on-their-tods. Perfectly comfortably. Two of them actually reading books. How wonderful.

Is this the secret of Wagamama then, I ask, only actually being here tonight because

1) I have just discovered Glasgow is about to get a fourth Wagamama when most other chains are withering away,

2) despite being here since the dawn of culinary time this chain is apparently big on TikTok, yes the pregnant woman video and

3) Wagamama is still down with the kids. Literally.

Taking my sister’s kids to the pics recently, Mrs M and I suggested we go to any fast food chain they wanted in Silverburn: Five Guys, McDs, Nando’s ... whatever the tiddlers picked. Yes, I was surprised too. I hear you.

Isn’t it the food then, you’re saying? Hmm. Actually, the bowl of Tantanmen beef ramen at £16.50, apart from not being hot enough and there being a bit too fatty-beefy a taste from the shredded and slow-cooked Korean barbecue beef, is on-point fashionable complete with tea-stained half boiled egg, some kimchi and fresh spring onion and coriander, but will be the weakest dish we will eat tonight.

Far better are the glazed mackerel fillets on brown rice fried with kimchee, broccoli, chilli, bok-choi shiitake (spicy mackerel miso £16.50), so much so that I’m still flicking up the last of the oaty brown rice and spearing pan-fried veg, as the ramen over there goes completely cold.

Obviously, we have a Japanese curry-ish thang too, raisukaree (£15) as who can forget Wagamama back in the day made a name on the wildly exotic chicken katsu curry, which is still on the menu.

The Herald: Wagamama Wagamama (Image: free)

The modern curry is a coconutty, slightly limey concoction with big studenty chunks of peppers, some fairly moist chicken and a welcome dome of white rice. It’s OK. I’d maybe have it again, if passing. But probably the lightest, most refreshing – because, yes, another attraction of this place may be you can tell yourself you are eating healthily – are those prawn nori rolls.

Yes, they’re straight-from-the-fridge cold and you may need a map and compass to find the prawns (I actually unrolled one roll to do so) but the combo of dark seaweed, loads of finely chopped vegetables aka Asian slaw and a sriracha mayo makes for a light and refreshing snack.

So the food’s not bad – formulaic maybe, inoffensive certainly, but it’s not setting any standards any more in a very crowded market. We finish off by ordering two desserts: a chouxnut – a variety presumably of the New York cronut – and some power and tropical sorbet. Both are awful. Yet, looking around – it’s a non-stop place this. Serving all day.

A family of six with kids have slid into the bench seats on our table while we’ve been eating. More singletons have come in with two separately at a bench table against the wall down there. Could it be the place is just comfortable, easy, and yes you can feel slightly virtuous with some of the food? And it’s been around forever.

MENU: They pretty much cover all bases: donburi, hot-pots, teppanyaki, soul bowls, bao – though so does just about everyone else nowadays. 3/5

ATMOSPHERE: Is the secret the lighting, the open kitchen or the long picnic tables? Certainly seems to attract families, couples and single diners. 5/5

SERVICE: Variable from cheery “here’s your food” from one server to otherwise all-day-restaurant disinterested. 3/5

PRICE: It’s certainly not in bargain territory: small bao buns £7.80 for two, duck gyoza £7.80. Mains hitting £16 easily. 3/5

FOOD: Liked the spicy mackerel miso with the brown rice and the pan-fried vibe. Bao buns were OK if not the cheapest. Otherwise, inoffensive. 6/10

Total: 20/30

Wagamama 97 West George Street Glasgow. 0141-229-1468 Open seven days