If you follow me on Insta you’ll know I love plant-based food. No, I’m not vegan and don’t ever think I could go fully vegan (or veggie for that matter), but at least 50% of the time I eat plant-based food. And I love it.
But eating out as a vegan isn’t always easy. It’s getting better, I’ll admit, but there’s still a way to go to get menus balanced with a full flexitarian mix. But there’s one place that’s truly nailing it. And that my friends, is Wagamama.
I got invited down with some of my fave blogger gals to sample their Vegan Tasting Menu and honestly, it was fantastic. Loads of variety, a nice nutritional mix in each dish of protein, carbs and fats (great for my macros!) and of course the signature Wagamama vibrancy, fragrance and spice we all know and love. Oh and they’ve got a GREAT new booze-free beer too, for the #DryJanuary heads out there.
Here’s how we got on.
Grazing and sharing will forever be my favourite way to dine. There’s nothing better than digging in with a bunch of your friends and truly enjoying a meal together.
There’s 4 stand-out vegan starter/sides; baos, gyozas, bang bang cauli and tempura veggies.
The bao (mushroom and panko aubergine hirata steamed buns with spicy vegan sriracha mayo and coriander) are fluffy, crispy and just absolutely gorgeous.
The veggie tempura (crispy fried tender stem broccoli, red pepper, sweet potato and asparagus) is served with wakame and a sweet and sour dipping sauce. Sweet, rich and delicious, we all loved it.
Yasai gyozas (steamed vegetable dumplings) are packed full of veggies and served with a spicy, chilli sauce which is divine.
And the bang bang cauli – a Wagamama classic. Crispy cauliflower, firecracker sauce and and lots of fresh ginger, but everyone loves that one, right?!
Noodle broths and rice bowls
You can’t go to Wagamama and not try one of their signature noodle bowl dishes. Fragrant, spicy comfort food at it’s finest. We tried two – one was the mild but perfectly balanced yasai nikko curry; fragrant and citrussy with coconut milk, lemongrass and turmeric soup. You can have it with either glass noodles, rice noodles or rice depending on what you fancy. The girls went for glass noods but I’d be tempted to go for rice to soak up all the curry-broth goodness!
The second of the broths was the kare burosu; a spicy, rich curried broth packed with flavour, crispy-coated silken tofu, grilled mushrooms, pea shoots and udon noodles. Udon isn’t my favourite but the broth is exceptional which more than made up for it!
Next (and my personal fave) was a dish they collaborated on with vegan blogger Gaz Oakley. Aptly named the avant gard’n after his lush blog www.avantgardevegan.com. Barbecue glazed seitan, brown rice, his vegan “egg” creation, grilled shiitake mushrooms, crunchy veggies and a sweet amai sauce. This dish is enhanced if you take advantage of the table sauces – once topped with chilli oil and Japanese chilli flakes it really comes to life. In true Buddha Bowl style it’s good to mix it all up, including the egg (once you’ve got that perfect Instagram shot, of course) as all the flavours and textures compliment each other really well. Gorgeous.
The final main we got to try was the vegan suika “tuna” [exclusive dish for veganuary]. I do have an issue with the name, as I think it’s a tad misleading in terms of nutritional content, but creatively this dish is very interesting.
The “tuna” is cleverly made from dehydrated watermelon “steak” which is dressed and seared in the wok. Yes, it’s WATERMELON – which does create a rather amazing “flesh like” texture and stunning red colour. The sticky white rice has a rich miso sauce which coats the sauteed kale and broccoli giving a perfect unami flavour. Freshness comes from the radish and tofu guacamole and edamame beans so it’s got a nice hit of protein too. Crispy fried shallots and fresh red chilli add texture and spice. A well balanced tasty vegan dish, even if it does feel like a bit of a publicity stunt!
Cakes and Ice Cream
And to finish we had to give their array of vegan puds a try – two ice creams both creamy and with a similar texture to gelato were stunning. Chocolate and orange blossom, and strawberry and yuzu. I thought the choc one would be my favourite but as it wasn’t as “orangy” as I expected, the strawberry and yuzu stole the show! The mango and matcha layer cake was delightful too and a nice portion size. I’d love to see them tackle a vegan cheesecake next, as their ginger cheesecake is my favourite!
Thanks so much to The Printworks, Manchester for inviting us We Blog North members along to sample Wagamama delights. We had a blast.
All photos my own except the portraits of moi taken by the lovely www.geoffgibson.co.uk.