Veganuary with Wagamama, Intu Metrocentre

Ok, so first and foremost I’ve got to admit…I’m not a vegan.

In fact before this event, I wasn’t even that clued up on the ins and outs of veganism- all I knew was that I was interested in finding out more and broadening my horizons.

So before I carry on, let’s start with a brief explanation in case you’re not sure either.

Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose  – The Vegan Society

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Last week I was invited along to Wagamama at Intu Metrocentre for a tasting event showcasing dishes from their vegan menu. Wagamama are passionate about catering for everybody who walks through their door which is why they have expanded their menu to include plant-based dishes, and they’ve even reworked some of their classics from the main menu to make them suitable for vegans too!

We were greeted by the restaurant staff (who were so friendly and helpful throughout the evening) and taken upstairs to a nice intimate setting, which made it easier to hear all about the dishes as they were brought out, and of course allowed us bloggers to catch up and snap plenty of foodie photos.

I’m already a huge fan of Wagamama so I knew that whatever dishes I’d be trying throughout the evening would be full of flavour and cooked fresh. We began with a few dishes from the sides menu including Edamame with chilli garlic salt, Wok-Fried Greens, Yasai Gyoza and Mixed Mushroom + Panko Aubergine Hirata Steamed Buns.

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The Wok-Fried Greens included tender stem broccoli and bok choi stir-fried in a garlic and soy sauce and honestly, they were a real highlight of the night and definitely something I’ll be ordering in the future!

If you’ve not had gyoza’s before, they’re little steamed dumplings and the vegan ones are filled with vegetables and served with a dipping sauce. I did enjoy them but I must admit…I prefer the meat ones (sorry)!

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Classed as one of the ‘vegan heroes’ on the menu, the Hirata Steamed Buns were also a highlight. The small fluffy asian buns were packed with various mushrooms, coriander and a delicious piece of crisp panko aubergine. I was dubious about trying them because I don’t normally like aubergine or mushroom, yet this was easily one of the best dishes I’d tasted on the night and actually, at Wagamama in general. They’re served without the usual mayo to make the dish vegan friendly.

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Next up were some main dishes including the Yasai Yaka Soba, Yasai Samla Curry, Kare Burosu Ramen and the Vegatsu!

I’m not that great with spicy food, nor am I a fan of tofu (I can’t get away with the texture) so other than a tiny taste, I stayed away from the Yasai Samla Curry and the Kare Burosu Ramen – though the other bloggers seemed to be big fans.

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For me, the Yasai Yaki Soba and Vegatsu were stand out dishes.

The Yasai Yaki Soba is a dish that is also on the vegetarian menu, but is made vegan by removing the egg and replacing soba noodles with udon or rice noodles. Our dish had udon noodles and they were lovely!

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The Vegatsu is another ‘vegan hero’ dish and was absolutely the star of the show for me. It’s their vegan katsu curry which is served with seitan coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs covered in their aromatic curry sauce and served with sticky white rice and a dressed side salad.

I’d not heard of seitan until it was served on the evening, and I loved it. It’s a protein-rich meat substitute made from wheat gluten and was chewy, flavourful and super moreish! I think I’d actually order that dish again, rather than the Chicken Katsu Curry.

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We also got to try the two Nix and Kix drinks that the menu has to offer. One was Mango + Ginger, the other Cucumber + Mint and they were both really refreshing and packed a bit of a punch.

For dessert, we were treated to some delicious sorbet – Pink Guava and Passion Fruit and Lemongrass and Lime. Between us bloggers, we pretty much licked the bowls clean!

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Wagamama fully believe in nourishing the body, mind and soul and as well as cooking fantastic fresh food made to order, they’re also proud to support mental health charity Mind.

Mind are the leading mental health charity in England and Wales, providing support to empower anyone with a mental health problem and consistently campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

Wagamama began working with the charity to help support their employees on keeping mentally well and with this in mind, provide them with free access to the app Buddhify, a meditation app designed to fit in with a busy lifestyle.

When you’re sat in the restaurant, you’re able to colour in your place mat which I love the idea of! As someone who struggles with anxiety, I know that colouring in personally helps keep me calm and reduce any stress, so if you’re struggling I’d definitely recommend giving it a go.

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As well as fundraising for the charity, for every power or super green juice sold, Wagamama will be donating 25p to mind and have pledged to raise £50,000 for the charity by October 2019.

I tried the super green juice while I was there and it was so tasty. I’ll definitely be ordering one again on my next visit!

I had a really wonderful evening at the event, and I think I’ll definitely be trying more vegan foods this year thanks to Wagamama.

Have you tried any of their vegan dishes?

Let me know! x

Thank you so much to Intu Metrocentre and Wagamama for a wonderful evening!

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