By now, you must know the news – Wagamama have launched a vegan menu! It’s a separate menu, featuring all of your veggie and vegan Waga faves, plus some delicious new additions to meet the needs of the fast-growing vegan population here in the UK.
Myself and the non-vegan husband were invited to an event to celebrate the menu launch, on launch night, to see what we thought about it all!
The new vegetarian and vegan menu at Wagamama has been given a heck of a lot of press, and there’s lots of reasons why. Wagamama has seen a massive growth over the past few years, with restaurants popping up all over the place. With national and international development on the cards, in addition to the growth of meat-free and dairy-free eating, it was in Wagamama’s own interest to ensure that all dietary needs were met.
Andy Gage, one of Wagamama’s Development Chefs, was visiting the Brighton restaurant for the event, and was able to give us deeper insight into the recipe development process, as well as demonstrate one of the recipes for us. He said that Wagamama have big plans to become even more vegan friendly, and that this new, separate menu, was just a taste of things to come (if you pardon the pun!)
Why no vegan katsu yet?
Andy told us that Wagamama’s most popular dish is their chicken katsu curry – this dish actually outsells bottles of Coca Cola for them! They currently serve a veggie version of this, but due to having egg in the recipe, it’s not currently vegan. However, Wagamama are trialling a vegan friendly seitan katsu curry at their test kitchen, the Noodle Lab on Dean Street in Soho, London. They’re also currently testing the following vegan items at the Noodle Lab right now: vegan vegetable tempura, vegan steamed buns, and some delicious sounding Nix and Kix drinks. For more info on what they are currently trialling at Noodle Lab, make sure to check their test kitchen menu.
Vegan Menu Exclusive Dish – Kare Burosu
We were shown how the Wagamama kitchen works, how the different stations are laid out, and how one of the new vegan dishes, the Kare Burosu is cooked and prepared.
It’s great that more and more places are becoming savvy to vegan food, and educating staff on preparation practices in their kitchens. Currently all vegan tofu is prepared freshly on the day, and vegetables etc are prepped and portioned as to avoid cross-contamination. We were told that once the veggie katsu is turned vegan, the veggie kitchen station will become vegan, so the tofu will be not just prepped on the day, but cooked fresh for the meal, and fried, rather than having cool tofu in dishes.
So what is the kare burosu? It’s shichimi-coated (shichimi is a Japanese spice mix – red chili, sanshō, roasted orange peel, black sesame seed, white sesame seed, hemp seed, ground ginger, nori and poppy seed) silken tofu with grilled mixed mushrooms on a bed of udon noodles in a curried vegetable broth. It’s topped with pea shoots, carrot, chilli and coriander.
We decided to give this a try, and ordered it alongside the following: salted edamame, yasai gyoza, and the vegan pad thai. We finished the meal off with the two vegan sorbets – lemongrass and lime, and pink guava and passion fruit.
What did we think of Wagamama vegan menu?
We both really enjoyed the kare burosu – I think that was my favourite out of everything that we tried. I think that once the tofu is going to be hot, rather than cold, it’ll be even better. I think to improve the dish, there should be more tofu, as I flipping love it. My non-vegan husband said he’d choose this over any of the meat dishes!
The vegan pad thai wasn’t too bad, but I find pad thai to be a little bland. Personally I’d prefer more spice and tofu!
The sorbets were so good! The lemongrass and lime sorbet is really fresh, and a great palate cleanser, whereas the pink guava and passion fruit was almost like an ice cream, and the favourite of the pair for both of us.
We’d both be back to try some of the other vegan dishes at Wagamama – top of our to-try list is the yasai samla curry, which we both wanted to try, but if we’d eaten anything else I don’t know how we’d’ve walked home! Haha.
Have you tried any of the new vegan dishes at Wagamama? Let me know in the comments what you tried and what you thought! And if you haven’t yet tried, what’s on your to-try wishlist?
Thank you to Wagamama for inviting us along. Although our meal was fully complimentary, all words and thoughts are my own.