Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 12.58.44NORTH East diners are turning Japanese, with a passion for noodles that has helped a Gateshead restaurant win a national award.

Wagamama, at intu Metrocentre, has just been named the chain’s Restaurant of the Year – beating 114 other branches nationwide to the title.

And bosses put their success down to increased interest in Japanese cuisine and a growing awareness of the health benefits of a low fat diet.

The restaurant in the Qube, Yellow Mall, which opened three and a half years ago, won the award after exceeding its sales targets and putting a training programme in place for staff from other Wagamama branches.

The restaurant’s general manager Rhian Davey collected the award, on behalf of her 40 full and part time staff, at the company’s annual conference at Windsor.

She said: “It’s been a real team effort and I’m delighted that we’ve been named the best branch in the country.

“Interest in Japanese cuisine has been building steadily but this has been our best year ever. It seems North East diners are really leading the way.”

Bernice Nesham, Asset Manager at intu Metrocentre, said: “It is fantastic news to hear about the success of one of our restaurants in the centre.

“Having the best bars and restaurants is an important part of our customers’ experience and we’re delighted to hear about Wagamama being voted Restaurant of the Year.

“The investment in catering across the region and at intu Metrocentre continues to grow and we look forward to continuing this into the future with the current expansion of the Qube.”