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Wagamama review

Wagamama reviewThe email came through asking if we’d like to go and review the Wagamama menu and try some of their vegan dishes (well, it is Veganuary) and also to learn more about their ‘Mindfulness Eating’ campaign…to be honest and up front, vegan dishes are the last thing I’d try on a menu, I’d normally have to be dragged kicking and screaming before anything vaguely vegan passed these lips…but hey, it’s a New Year, why not open our horizons a bit and get out of our comfort zone, so off we went to the restaurant inside Xscape.

We also thought we’d be brave and take along our 8 year old, now Wagamama is not the normal chain restaurant we’d usually take him to. Why? Not sure really, probably for fear there wouldn’t be anything on the menu he’d actually eat, and we all know how ‘hangry’ 8 year old boys can get. But he was up for the challenge, so we thought we’d give it a go!

We’d been to Wagamama before so we’re familiar with the long canteen style tables encouraging people to sit close together and eat in the atmosphere. But the Xscape restaurant has changed a bit, there is still this type of seating but there are now more booth style seats, catering for twos or fours. I like this option and we went over and sat in spacious booth for four. The 8 year old went straight for the chopsticks and spent the first 10 minutes trying the master the pesky things by practising to pick up a crayon! There was also a colouring placemat for us all, part of the company’s ‘Mindfullness Eating’ campaign where the colouring in helps to ease stress, they’re also donating 25p from each super green and power juice sold until 6 March to the mental health charity ‘Mind’.

So, to the menu, in January we’re all about healthy eating and detoxing our bodies after the excesses of Christmas – so first up we looked through the extensive fresh juices…after a bit of deliberation we went for the Clean Green and the Repair Juice – both very aptly named and very tasty.

And now to the food, first up the kid’s menu…quite a lot of choice combinations as long as they like chicken or fish (not much else). The kids can have chicken grilled or deep fried in panko breadcrumbs (katsu style), there’s noodles, rice, different sauces, grilled fish or cod bites (like mini fish fingers). That’s what ours went for.

We were still picking our starters; we went for the pork belly and panko apple steamed buns (love a steamed bun) plus the chilli crispy quid, and two different gyozas; the vegan yasai steamed dumplings and the fried duck dumplings. All were served freshly prepared and piping hot, and all were amazingly good. Could have easily eaten another serving of the steamed buns, especially as 8 year old managed to nick half of mine!

On to the mains and in-keeping with our vegan tasting adventure we chose the yasai katsu curry; sweet potato, aubergine + butternut squash coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs, with their classic curry sauce. The vegetables were cooked really well, so crispy. To satisfy our meat loving selves we also ordered a chicken teriyaki donburi; chicken in teriyaki sauce with sticky white rice, shredded carrots, pea shoots and a serving of kimchee (pickled veg). This was really tasty, chicken was tender and the rice was just perfect.

Meanwhile, the 8 year old had demolished his main – the cod bites were a hit and he loved using the kids chopsticks (like wooden tweezers), even the veg disappeared from his plate, always a good sign.

Did we have room for dessert? Well, two of us did. The youngster managed to eat a bowl of vanilla ice cream and declared the chocolate sauce “the best I’ve ever eaten” – praise indeed.  We also managed to try the banana katsu; banana in panko breadcrumbs served with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream and some of that awesome chocolate sauce.

So, let’s try to sum up our experience…although we ‘chickened’ out of going totally vegan, the vegan dishes we tried were really good, full of flavour and certainly would make me order them again. Overall the food (and drink) tasted and looked delicious, you can so tell everything is prepared and cooked fresh to order, it makes such a difference. Even the 8 year old announced at the end that he’d love to come back and wanted to bring his grandparents, so that can’t be too bad!

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