Wagamama Vegan Curry and Summer Salad – restaurant review

wagamama buns
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 greensWagamama 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.

wagamama curryI 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

wagamama saladVegetarianism 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.

Opening times:
Monday to Saturday: 11:00am to 11:00pm
Sunday 11:00am to 10:00pm

Wagamama Richmond
3 Hill Street

Phone: 020 8948 2224

Visit Wagamama here