Richmond is a lovely spot in the summer, but enticing lunch and dinner choices can be thin on the ground. One wants something delicious, reasonably priced and at a good central location – and perhaps we might be vegan. Wagamama provides the solution to this rather tricky gastronomic dilemma.
Wagamama Richmond is a light and airy branch of this Japanese-inspired chain which has a reputation for quality and innovation. Wagamama dishes offer good choices for vegetarians and vegans, but you don’t have to be swelling the ranks of meat-avoiders to enjoy these dishes. This company has been around for a couple of decades and they seem to have their finger on the pulse of a new generation of diners.
These vegan-friendly dishes are made to order and with the freshest of ingredients. They look attractive and vibrant and the portions are substantial. Wok-fried greens of tenderstem broccoli and bok choi, stir-fried in a garlic and soy sauce, was a perfect starter or side dish; the garlic was evident but not overpowering. Mixed mushroom and panko aubergine hirata steamed buns must be a signature plate here. Two small, fluffy Asian buns were stuffed with flavourful veggies. Nothing bland or banal.
I was particularly interested in trying the Wagamama vegan katsu curry. How would this one work? Well, very well! This was a considerable helping of firmly-textured seitan (wheat gluten) coated in crispy Japanese panko breadcrumbs and covered in an authentic-tasting Japanese curry sauce. Granted the mouth-feel isn’t quite the same as one would have with a pork cutlet or a chicken breast, but it was still a great dining experience.
Harusame (‘spring rain’ in Japanese) glass noodle salad is a light yet sustaining summery preparation, and beautifully presented. The noodles are mixed with tofu, kale, edamame, red adzuki beans, mangetout, blackened carrots and pea-shoots. The salad is finished with fresh mint, crispy fried shallots and dressed with a spicy vinegar which adds a balancing tang to the dish.
I would likely choose the vegan dishes again
Vegetarianism and veganism are, thankfully, no longer considered fads. I am a meat-eater, but I only eat meaty dishes a couple of days each week. There are plenty of other delicious foods to enjoy. I didn’t miss the meat at Wagamama, and they do have a good selection of other dishes containing meat on the menu. I would likely choose the vegan dishes again, just because they are great plates: the salad for those prayed-for balmy days, and the curry for cooler weather.
Monday to Saturday: 11:00am to 11:00pm
Sunday 11:00am to 10:00pm
3 Hill Street
Phone: 020 8948 2224