Hello, Kerry here!
Quick disclaimer – we’re not going to preach to you about becoming a vegan, what we want to do is spread the word so our fellow humans who eat vegan can expand their restaurant repertoire. After all, diversity is natural and those who choose to be vegan, or have no choice, shouldn’t be hindered.
Wagamama executive head chef Steve Mangleshot, who we very fondly remember hanging out with at Cheltenham’s launch party, has developed the new menu. Steve travels all over the world, cramming his brain with new experiences, says his inspiration for the new dishes has flourished from his exploratory visits to Korea and Japan earlier this year. Following extensive testing and consulting with vegan customers, the menu was perfected and Wagamama’s first vegan menu was launched. (Also available for take-out!)
Eager to taste the fruit and veg of their labour we popped in on a Monday evening, arriving at 7pm to an already packed restaurant. In addition to the launch of the vegan menu, the regular menu has also been evolving. Just quickly I’ll tell you about a new dish called the Tonkatsu, a dish of pork belly in panko served with sticky rice, mixed leaves and a sweet soy marinade on the side. I’d say this dish is little more tame than a lot of the others, so perfect for someone who’s not in the mood for anything complex.
There’s a new drink called Jinzu, a Japanese inspired gin, infused with cherry blossom, yuzu and sake, served with Fever-Tree tonic (the best) and garnished with fresh lemon and pink peppercorns. When it comes to peppercorns in drinks I’m not overly sold as they can make enjoying a drink a tad stressful, but I do agree the flavour works amazingly with gin.
The vegan dish we chose was the Kare Burosu and I quote this directly from the menu: “Shichimi coated silken tofu and grilled mixed mushrooms on a bed of udon noodles within a curried vegetable broth, finished with pea shoots, carrot, chilli and coriander.”
The flavour of the broth powers the dish and it is definitely bold, comforting and distinctly Wagamama. The Udon noodles (the thick variety) soaked up the broth flavour just as I had hoped they would, same with the mushrooms. I’m not a fan of mushrooms but as these took on the moreish flave of the curried broth, I found myself devouring them all. As the tofu was coated and sat above the broth, it kept its individual taste. Honest to God I didn’t miss a meat element one bit and boy was it filling. If you’re vegan you will want to come back for this!
The vegan menu contains 2 desserts, 4 starters, 7 main options and they’re not all salads, yay! The Yaki Soba from the regular menu is a dish I love and it’s now available on the vegan menu. You can find a few recipes on Wagamama’s website including the non-vegan Yaki Soba. Next step Wagamama, put the vegan version up.
If a local establishment nails its offering to V’s and VG’s then word usually spreads fast. Curious yet? Here’s a link to the menu >
Fact of the day – Every time there is a rainbow in the UK, Wagamama donates all the profits from its best selling buns to LGBT+ charities, from their participating restaurants. Fist bump!