6 Highcross Lane, LE1 4SD 0116 253 0046 wagamama.com
What do you even eat? Don’t you miss meat? Is what vegans and vegetarians often hear before having to explain their full and extensive choices to the questioner. Well, Wagamama’s new vegan and vegetarian menu does the talking for them proving that there are easily heaps of tasty options available for non-meat eaters and animal-product evaders – it just seems that some restaurants haven’t looked too much into these kinds of dishes yet.
Split into two sections, there are three starters and three mains catering to vegetarians, and four vegan starters and six vegan mains as well as some delicious ‘extras’ and desserts to choose from.
Niche can highly recommend the bang bang cauliflower starter. Gone in seconds (which says a lot as we’d managed to fit nine dishes on the table at once), the moreish crispy vegetable took on a whole new appeal being coated in firecracker sauce, ginger and coriander with red and spring onions. It was the star of the starters and dare we say it even outdid our usual favourite the wok-fried greens in soy sauce; delicious as ever but definitely now has competition. The hirata steamed buns definitely deserve a mention too. We found some of the team were put off by the pale appearance of the buns but wow are they delicious. Steamed, fluffy and doughy, they encase aubergine, panko and mushroom covered in Japanese mayonnaise and coriander; the dark horse of the starters with us for sure.
The vegan kare burosu ramen is beautifully presented in a large bowl. Udon noodles, sit in a curried vegetable broth with shichimi coated silken tofu, pea shoots, carrot and grilled mixed mushrooms creatively placed on top. The vibrantly coloured dish is full of flavour; the mushrooms being particularly delectable, and tasty tofu and chunky noodles providing fantastic substance.
Yasai pad thai was recommended to our group and thankful we were for it too. The rice noodles come in a subtly sweet amai sauce with tofu that was cooked all the way through, beansprouts, leeks, chilli and red onion. Sprinkled with crunchy fried shallots, peanuts, mint, coriander and fresh lime, it’s taste is mesmerising. As one of the options not soup or heavily sauce based, it gives the vegan menu a good source of variety.
The two curries went down a treat with our group. The yasai katsu curry has always been a popular dish but adapted into the vegetarian menu it features sweet potato, aubergine, and butternut squash coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs shaped into SUPER tasty disks that went beautifully with the creamy aromatic curry sauce. The yasai samla curry looked absolutely beautiful with its orange creamy lemongrass coconut sauce beneath red and green veggies. Tofu chunks were well done just as we like them. Altogether it was juicy, succulent, ever so slightly hot, and satisfyingly filling with the bowl of rice that comes with it.
And as usual, dessert is always a winner. We recommend the yuzu and lemon tart, banana katsu and chocolate layer cake.
So, if you’re a vegetarian or vegan and someone asks what you’re ‘allowed’ to eat, tell them to take you to wagamamas and show them this menu, which was also thoroughly enjoyed by the non-vegetarians and non-vegans dining with us too.