Last week Reading Vegan Outreach were invited to try Wagamama’s new Vegan Menu and enjoy a private cooking demo.
Check out our short video!
In Reading we have a big outreach team and the number of vegans is growing rapidly. However, we don’t yet have a wholly vegan restaurant or cafe in or round town. We are lucky that we have a lot of chains that offer great vegan options and there are enough vegans to ensure these options remain and are expanded upon.
Wagamama has had vegan options for some time. If you were to check the allergen menu you would see that you can swap out egg noodles for rice noodles, chicken for tofu and just ask to leave animal products out of a certain recipes. However, it’s not ideal to have to sift through allergy charts and can be confusing for those visiting for the first time. Now though, we get given our own menu, dedicated to animal free recipes and can have every confidence that the staff will get it right. I don’t know about you but we felt this was something to celebrate!
(jasmine flowering tea)
On the evening, Wagamama were so generous and the staff were fantastic! We were treated to champagne and any other beverages (alcoholic and non) we fancied plus told to order as much as we liked off of the menu. As a group of people not often in such a position we decided to take full advantage of course. I mean how was I to film and write this fairly without seeing every item that the menu had to offer?!
I had the Yasai samla which is a coconut based curry with a bit of a kick to it. This curry comes with tofu, peppers, shiitake mushrooms, baby plum tomatoes and sticky white rice. I wouldn’t say the dish is overly hot so if you’re not really into spicy food I think you would still enjoy this. Other main options include and enjoyed by the group:
- Yasai itame – rice noodles in a spicy green coconut and lemongrass soup with tofu and vegetables.
- Kare burosu ramen – shichimi-coated silken tofu and grilled mixed mushrooms on a bed of udon noodles in a curried vegetable broth.
- Yasai pad thai – rice noodles in an amai sauce with tofu, beansprouts, leeks, chilli and red onion.
- Yasai yaki soba – udon or rice noodles with mushrooms, peppers, beansprouts, white and spring onions.
- Warm chilli yasai salad – tofu with stir-fried red peppers, mangetout, tenderstem
broccoli and red onion on a bed of baby gem lettuce.
Take a full look at the NEW menu here.
(kare burosu ramen)
The sides remained the same except for a refreshed raw salad and were as delicious as they usually are. I had the wok fried greens as I am a big time garlic lover but if I could have fit it all in my belly I would have also had the gyoza and edamame. Nothing against salads but.. pass the carbs and salty veggies please.
The cooking demo was fantastic and I have taken away some tips for Japanese style cuisine! It was fun to see how the dishes are made and how they ensure no cross contamination by splitting the kitchen into four areas and using different implements for the vegan recipes. Everything is kept fresh and prepared on the day and don’t take to long to put together.
Vegan desserts definitely seem to be where restaurants are struggling to keep up and are missing out on added revenue/higher ratings from vegans. I’m not sure why this is when it’s so easy to whip up a vegan cheese cake, mousse or crumble. Plus most independent cafe’s now provide at least one vegan cake. Zizzi aren’t shy and have a delicious Chocolate Torte which replaced their sweet calzone this year. So it absolutely can be done!
Hey, Wagamama! If you’re reading this please may we have some more desert options? My only disappointment and one that was shared among the group was seeing the huge number of deserts on the vegetarian menu and only being able to choose between two sorbets on the vegan menu. To be fair they were super refreshing and fitting with the menu but some more option would be appreciated!
Whether you’re vegan or not go check out the new menu and make sure it stays!
(Reading Vegan Outreach)