CHICKEN katsu curry has always been my go-to order at Wagamama.

Until this week, I’d never been to the Asian-inspired restaurant chain and not ordered the popular dish.

But with Wagamama launching a limited-edition chicken katsu pie to coincide with British Pie Week, I was keen to try something new.

The chain has launched the pie alongside a plant-based alternative with mushroom, kimchee, and edamame at its restaurants in Southend and Chelmsford, so with some free time on a trip to Southend city centre I grabbed a table for lunch.

Echo: Restaurant - Wagamama in Southend city centreRestaurant - Wagamama in Southend city centre (Image: Elliot Deady, Newsquest)

I feared my high hopes would be crushed as I glanced over the menu and couldn’t see the pies on offer but my server, a really nice guy called Jamie, reassured me they were on offer.

I felt like I was a member of an exclusive club who had stumbled onto a secret menu item, a bit like when fast food fans claim to “hack” the McDonald’s menu.

My feelings of exclusivity were short-lived, however, when I noticed an “eyes on the pies” sign teasing Wagamama’s partnership with east London-based Willy’s Pies outside the restaurant in London Road.

Echo: Partnership - the new menu items are part of a collaboration between Wagamama and Willy's PiesPartnership - the new menu items are part of a collaboration between Wagamama and Willy's Pies (Image: Elliot Deady, Newsquest)

One of the reasons I love Wagamama is the efficient service. My food turned up in what felt like minutes.

I’m not sure how I was expecting the pie to be presented, but I certainly wasn’t expected to be handed a box. Quirky, for sure, but I’m not complaining, and I was even happier to receive an extra helping of katsu sauce on the side.

Echo: Quirky - the pie was served in a boxQuirky - the pie was served in a box (Image: Elliot Deady, Newsquest)

After I tucked in, I was offered a plate. I was happy enough with my pie-in-a-box, but it’s nice to know the option is there.

As I opened the box, I was greeted by a generously sized golden pie which was accompanied by a plentiful side salad.

In all honesty, I was a little dubious. “How will curry sauce work in a pie?” I thought to myself.

I did not need to be sceptical though. I cut into my pie and chicken and vegetables coated in Wagamama’s iconic curry sauce oozed out, and it was delicious. A pleasant surprise.

Echo: Tasty - the chicken katsu pieTasty - the chicken katsu pie (Image: Elliot Deady, Newsquest)

Echo: Tasty - I ordered chicken yakitori and a cherry blossom lemonade alongside my pieTasty - I ordered chicken yakitori and a cherry blossom lemonade alongside my pie (Image: Elliot Deady, Newsquest)

The flavour of katsu curry came through strong so I didn’t feel like I’d strayed too far away from my usual order.

At £12.50, it was priced comparatively to the restaurant’s other dishes and, given its size, I think it was good value for money.

Sides and drinks pushed my bill up, but it was all great quality and I’m a firm believer in the saying “you get what you pay for”.

Wagamama’s restaurant in Southend is one of just 19 branches across the UK serving the Willy’s Pies collab. All things considered, it’s nice to see the restaurant doing something a little different and I would recommend what I ordered to pie lovers everywhere.