Wagamama Vegan-Friendly

Meat-free with imagination

We have been passing through many strange, worrying and often frightening months. We have experienced loss in many forms but there have been gains which will be long-lasting and profound. Wagamama has voiced its support for the vegan movement in delicious fashion.

wagamama vegan fried gyozaThe pandemic has raised awareness of the need for our own personal health but also for that of the planet. Eating less meat and dairy products is a simple way in which we can all support the Earth. I am a meat eater but I only put meat on the table two or three times each week. It’s easy to be semi-vegan or semi-vegetarian when at home but it hasn’t always been that simple when eating out. Wagamama has its culinary finger on this wave of enthusiasm for plant-based foods.

Wagamama is the UK’s first high-street restaurant chain to offer a menu half of which comprises plant-based dishes. Now guests can find a few more new vegan options, so they will have a wider choice – and that must surely be the key to success.

I am an old lady and I remember the days back in the 60s and 70s (yes, I told you I was old!) when one was assumed to be some stripe of radical hippy if one avoided meat – and avoiding it was difficult unless one cooked every meal at home. There was the odd restaurant which took the vegetarian path, but their dishes tended to be beige and boring, albeit very noble and worthy. There was a transition period of several decades, over which things gradually improved on the vegetarian front, but now restaurants are waking up to the need for high-quality vegan alternatives.

Now Wagamama is spearheading a new and vibrant movement, with plates that will appeal even to card-carrying carnivores, and ones that I would certainly order again. No, you won’t miss the meat. Fried Yasai Gyoza are crunchy and addictive. They had me at ‘fried’! Five dumplings are filled with vegetables and served with a dipping sauce. If you are a fan of regular gyozas or pot-stickers then you will likely love these crunchy versions. Perfect with a cup of sake.

wagamama vegan ribNew Spicy Teriyaki Vegan ‘Chicken’ Hirata steamed buns must surely be Wagamama’s signature vegan small plate. This is perhaps the most convincingly ‘meaty’ dish on the vegan menu, and might even persuade the sceptical to give a try to a few other items. The two fluffy steamed Asian buns are stuffed with pieces of ‘chicken’, slaw, fried shallots and the essential spicy teriyaki sauce. Don’t order this plate to share, as you won’t want to.

There are new vegan main dishes, too, and they include Spicy Vegan ‘Short Rib’ Ramen with substantial chunks of ‘pork’ making this a truly hearty bowl. The soya protein ‘ribs’ are coated in a sweet and spicy sticky sauce offering flavour and an authentic appearance.

I was impressed by the new Teriyaki Vegan ‘Chicken’ Ramen. My advice? Come with an appetite. The vegan ‘chicken’ in a spicy teriyaki sauce tops ramen noodles in a tasty and aromatic vegetable broth. Garnishes included sweetcorn, tender bok choi, chilli sambal paste, spring onion, vibrant fresh chilli, coriander and chilli oil. One could even add a vegan egg, which looked just like the real thing! I would order this generous bowl with no hesitation.

I am a long-term and unashamed fan of Wagamama. The Richmond branch is my ‘local’. I enjoy the ambiance, and the staff are friendly, passionate about the food, and knowledgeable. And it’s that food which keeps me returning. Always something new to try and now I can save the planet while eating lunch.


Visit Wagamama here https://www.wagamama.com/