The first Wagamama opened in 1992 in Bloomsbury, London, and since then the chain has branched out to open 190 restaurants, with 130 in the UK.
I first went to Wagamama when I was at uni six years ago, I fell in love with their Katsu and it’s been a favourite go-to for good quality and affordable food for ever since.
So I recently popped by my local Wagamama to try out their new dishes including a selection of vegan dishes. As mentioned before, I eat meat but I do really enjoy vegan and vegetarian dishes so I was really interested to see Wagamama’s take on it. Plus a lot of people I’d spoken to didn’t even realise Wagamama offered vegan dishes so I was excited to delve in and explore what Wagamama had to offer…
To drink Karl went for a cloudy lemonade and I decided to order from the juices menu. I tried the Positive Juice, a tasty blend of pineapple, lime, spinach, cucumber and apple.
First up for the vegan taste test was five tasty steamed yasai dumplings, served grilled and with a dipping sauce. I was pleasantly surprised by these gyozas, we always order them when we go to Wagamama but usually go for the meat options. These gyozas were just as tasty and full of flavour, we didn’t even notice that lack of meat. I’ll definitely be ordering these more often!
I LOVE steamed buns so have to order them on every Wagamama visit, again we usually order the pork belly or crispy chicken buns so it was interesting to try the mixed mushrooms and panko aubergine hirtata steamed buns.
These two fluffy Asian buns which were packed full of panko aubergine, mixed mushrooms and coriander. The vegan option doesn’t contain mayo which I thought would affect the taste for me but you couldn’t notice at all.
This is not a vegan dish but we decided to try one of the new summer dishes, Tama squid – crispy fried squid balls, drizzled with okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise finished with aonori and bonito flakes. The aonori is edible seaweed whereas the bonito flakes are thinly shaved shreds of fish meat. When in contact with hot food the shreds rehydrate which makes the shreds move or ‘dance’.
The squid was very crunchy with a satisfying soft, delicate centre – very light and delicious. A great new addition to the Wagamama menu.
For my main course I went for the vegan Yasai samla curry, a fragrant, spicy lemongrass and coconut curry with tofu, peppers, shiitake mushrooms and baby plum tomatoes all served with white rice and garnished with spring onions, chilli and coriander. This was SO good and totally made me think twice about ordering my usual Yaki soba. I’m not usually a fan of tofu but this curry changed my mind. Not a dish for those who don’t like spice as this curry has quite a kick!
Karl was a bit shocked when I said we would be trying vegan dishes and his excitement died a little. But his mind was changed by the Vegatsu, we were both blown away by this dish! The Vegatsu is Wagamama’s vegan version of the katsu curry – the dish features seitan coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs, covered in an aromatic curry sauce with sticky white rice and a seasoned side salad. This was a great alternative to meat and really was as enjoyable and tasty as the chicken katsu.
When it came to dessert we went for two non vegan dishes. Karl went for the salted caramel ice cream served with caramelised sesame seeds and a chilli toffee and ginger sauce.
After my rich curry I was after a light dish and a palate cleanser so opted for the refreshing, smooth and creamy coconut ice cream topped with a passion fruit sauce and coconut flakes. A dish that had my wondering why I never usually order dessert at Wagamama, it was so tasty.
I was really impressed by our whole Wagamama experience and realised that Wagamama has a lot more to offer than the usual katsu or yaki soba that I go for. Wagamama guarantees affordable good food fast.
I dined at my local Wagamama Maidstone. The service was so efficient and friendly and we were very well looked after by Petra throughout our lunch.
You can search your nearest Wagamama here.
19 Earl St