The wait is over, it has finally landed: the vegan katsu curry at Wagamama… the Vegatsu. I was kindly invited along to Wagamama, Meadowhall to try out this new well-sought-after dish, as well as some other new vegan dishes now available at Wagamama stores. Lucky Londoners have had access to the Vegatsu for some time now in some sort of taste kitchen down south, so I’m pleased to see that the new menu has now expanded nationwide for vegans all over to indulge in and enjoy! Wagamama has had vegan options for some time, but this dish is a classic and vegans are super excited about this.
We started off with a couple of drinks, and I had the Jinzu Fever (a Japanese inspired gin and tonic). I wasn’t really a fan, because usually I would take my gin with something sweeter like lemonade, and this was pretty bitter (to be expected), but it was alright to sip on… and the pink peppercorns made it super pretty too. My friend Amelia went for the new Natsu passionfruit craft beer, which was really nice and I think I would probably order the same next time. I was definitely loving the new vegan labelling on the drinks section of the vegetarian & vegan menu! This is something that I’ve spoken about a lot recently, because it’s too often overlooked and it can be really inconvenient not knowing what is what! Veganism is not just about the food and seeing that a restaurant understands that is really reassuring. Great move, Wagamama.
To begin with, they’re not a new dish, but how could I resist the yasai gyoza? These vegetable dumplings are absolutely delicious and I get them every time I go to Wagamama. Old news, but great news – not to be missed! I will eat as many vegan dumplings as I can get my hands on, and these are definitely some of the best I’ve ever had. Another oldy but a goody is, of course, edamame with salt and/or chilli! These little green beans of goodness are lovely to nibble on while you wait for your main course.
Something I was extremely excited about was the new vegan side dish: mixed mushroom and panko aubergine hirata steamed buns! Oh. My. Gosh. I was sooooo pleasantly surprised by this dish! I was worried it may be a little dry, looking at it, but it actually wasn’t. The buns were so lovely and soft, and the filling was really salty and satisfying. Amelia and I both said that we would probably love a giant version of this as a lunch option! I definitely recommend them, which means vegans are spoilt for choice between the yasai gyoza, and the steamed buns. Or, don’t choose, like me. Have both!
And, now, for the main event, the dish that all of the vegans of the UK have been waiting for… time to try the Vegatsu! A favourite dish of omnivores and veggies alike when dining at Wagamama is the katsu curry – rice and curry sauce with either fried battered chicken, or fried battered aubergine and sweet potato. As a vegetarian, I always used to order the veggie version. However, it unfortunately wasn’t vegan and so on making the change I had to leave it behind. Many vegans felt the absence of this dish in their lives, and despite the existence of many other vegan dishes on the menu, this dish has always held a special place in our little veggie hearts. And stomachs.
Well, not only have they introduced a brand new vegan katsu curry – the Vegatsu – which includes fried battered seitan, but they are now also able to veganise the veggie version (sweet potato and aubergine) too, meaning vegans can opt between aubergine and sweet potato, or seitan (which is basically imitation chicken).
As I have said before, seitan is not usually my go-to choice as I actually find the texture a little too meaty for my liking. However, this seitan was really nice battered and fried like this, and it works so well with the rice and curry sauce. I’ve seen so many vegans raving about it, and it’s totally understandable why. The dish is unlike anything else on the mainstream restaurant market right now for vegans, too, so it’s sure to have lots of herbivores talking about it. However, Amelia had the seitan version, whereas I had the veggie one, so I only tried a few pieces of the seitan. It’s very heavy and the portion is very generous – just something to think about.
I think I myself will probably be sticking to the veggie sweet potato and aubergine on future visits to Wagamama, since I generally just prefer vegetable based meals over imitation meat meals when dining out. I might order the seitan version again one day – maybe as a take away option when I hopefully live in delivery range of my local Wagamama in the near future (heaven).
They also added another new vegan main to the menu: tofu harusame glass noodle salad. I’ve seen a few vegans on my Instagram try it out and give positive feedback. Again, if you frequent my blog, you will know I’m not really a salad-for-dinner gal, so I didn’t try it myself. It looked super tasty, though, and I may order it on my lunch break one day, since I work in close proximity to a Wagamama restaurant! A gal loves some tofu.
I also recommend the yasai pad thai, yasai samla curry, and the yasai burosu. Pretty much the whole menu, then. As you can probably tell, there’s loads of vegan choice at Wagamama and it only gets better and better. I was super impressed with the new vegan dishes and the old ones that I’ve had umpteen times never disappoint, either.
Wagamama is still lacking on the dessert front for vegans, with the only option being sorbet. Something a little more imaginative would be nice. I’ve seen and heard of vegan mochi, so something like that or a cake would really end the experience with a bang! All in all, though, I really recommend Wagamama for vegans and the new Vegatsu – along with the steamed buns side dish – is not something to be missed. Believe the hype!