POPULAR Japanese-inspired restaurant chain Wagamama has opened the doors to its highly anticipated Bolton store.

The restaurant was first announced back in May, when it was revealed that Frankie and Benny's in Middlebrook Retail Park was to shut.

It officially opened on Monday but some special guests got a sneak preview of the swanky new restaurant on Saturday.

When guests arrive they are greeted by the large outdoor dining area underneath black, Wagamama-branded parasols, with green shrubs around the perimeter.

Guests are greeted at the door by a host and immediately in front of the entrance is the bar area, with the toilets down a corridor to the right.

White ceiling lights hang over the tables, illuminating the restaurant and chopsticks are placed carefully on each table.

Once seated, guests were treated to a main, a side and two drinks completely free of charge. If the most expensive options on the menu were chosen each time, the order would have come to more than £35 under normal circumstances.

Side orders could be ordered as starters, allowing guests to enjoy traditional Japanese bites such as gyoza dumplings and duck wraps before the main course.

Wagamama is renowned for its katsu curry but the main courses range from ramen to teppanyaki and kokoro bowls.

Drinks on offer on the special preview night included fresh juices, craft beers and wine.

Guests could also see their food being prepared in the open kitchen area to the back of the restaurant.

The staff at the restaurant are made up of brand new starters and former Frankie and Benny's employees.

When it was announced that the restaurant was to change hands, all members of staff from Franky and Benny's were asked if they wished to transfer to Wagamama and more than half took up the offer.

Regional Marketing Manager, Kate Dell said: “Wagamama has been so well loved for years now in the North West, and we’re excited to open a beautiful new restaurant in Bolton.

"We look forward to welcoming Wagamama fans and new guests alike with our nourishing Japanese inspired menu.”