Restaurant reviews

Wagamama’s new vegan dishes

March 22, 2017

I have been a big fan of Wagamama for years, and I was delighted when they got in touch to tell me about some of the new vegan dishes on the menu. So Andrew and I headed to the restaurant in Leicester on a Wednesday night to sample some of the latest vegan offerings.

If you haven’t been yet (and why not?!), Wagamama is an Asian chain restaurant found throughout the UK. They offer communal style seating, so if it’s busy be prepared to sit next to another group of people. It may not be for some, but it’s actually a cool concept once you get used to bumping the occasional elbow with a stranger.

We started off with two fresh squeezed vegan juices – the (I think) Repair Juice which has kale, apple, lime and pear and the Blueberry Spice with blueberry, apple and carrot with a taste of ginger. I really liked the green juice. It was light, healthy and sweet enough that you don’t realize you are drinking veggies. Andrew on the other hand prefered the blueberry. We make a great team.

At Wagamama, all the food comes out when it’s ready, so even if you order a starter it might come out at the same time as your main. For our starters we ordered veggie gyoza, wok fried greens and bang bang cauliflower. Each dish was bursting with flavour. The gyoza was perfectly pan fried and accompanied by a light, sweet dipping sauce. The greens were fresh, zingy and still a little crunchy which is the best way to have them (imo). But the real winner was the bang bang cauliflower. The cauliflower is deep fried first, and then smothered in this sauce that would make even cardboard taste nice.

For our mains we split the yasai itame and the pad thai (sans egg). I’ve had yasai itame many times – it’s my go to favourite at Wagamama and it did not disappoint. It is a huge bowl of rice noodles, veggies and tofu in a lovely, fragrant, spicy thai green broth. The pad thai was delicious too – big, slurpy noodles with crunchy peanuts and bean sprouts.

Even though we had a LOT of food already, we had to try their new vegan sorbets, so we asked for a small scoop of each – one lemongrass and lime and the other pink guava and passionfruit. The guava sorbet was delicious – you could really taste the flavour of the fruit. The lemon was a bit tart for my tastes, but Andrew loved it. Again, dream team here.

As you can see, we really enjoyed our meal and want to thank Wagamama for inviting us in. It’s exciting when chain restaurants start to make a real effort to cater to vegans, and Wagamama is doing an awesome job. Here is a full list of vegan and vegan-optional food on their menu:

  • Yasai Itame
  • Wok fried greens
  • Yasai gyoza
  • Yasai Pad Thai (no egg)
  • Yasai Yaki Soba (no egg, on rice/udon noodles)
  • Yasai Ramen (no egg, on rice/udon noodles, with fried tofu)
  • Yasai Warm Chilli Salad (no fried aubergine)

Dishes that are fried in a vegetarian fryer:

  • Bang bang cauliflower
  • Yasai surendras

  • tsouni March 23, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    this is interesting – i didn’t realise that the cauliflower is only not vegan because of the shared fryer issue. i’ve been eating there as a vegan for a decade and it seems like we have less options than ever before. many of the ‘new’ dishes they’ve invited you to try have been on the menu for years (yasai itame, yasai yaki soba) and many of them still require modifications to make them vegan – plus there’s no vegan signposting on the menu and asking for the nutritional info can be a pain when they’re busy. i’m glad they reached out to you but i feel they could be doing a lot better!

    • lindsay March 23, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      I agree – the labelling could be MUCH better, and there has been some confusion around the cauliflower dish. That said, they have added a couple new vegan items recently, including sorbet, so they are trying to make more of an effort which is good!