|Vegan feast at Wagamama in Colchester|
As we sit down at Colchester’s new Wagamama restaurant, situated on the flourishing Colchester High Street, ready to taste some of the updated vegan menu (including the flagship recent addition of ‘vegatsu’) my stomach is crying out for some flavoursome, Japanese grub. If you haven’t been to Wagamama yet – what are you waiting for? The restaurant chain’s vegan offering is impressive, even by the standard set by many food outlets in 2018.
The thing that seems so ground-breaking about eating at Wagamama is that every time we’ve been of late, there has been no assumption about what we might want to eat. “Does anybody in the group want to look at the vegetarian/vegan menu?” the staff usually ask. A small thing to get excited over, but a hint at a future where eating meat needn’t be seen as the norm. Suddenly, we’re equals with our omnivorous dining buddies.
At Colchester Wagamama the staff can’t do enough to help. I’d be tempted to assume that this may be due to the lure of positive comments, when they are aware of the looming write-up that was due after our attendance. But, we've been yet to have a bad experience at the restaurant – no matter how busy it has been, the staff have always gone above and beyond to give us a good experience.
As for the food? It’s creative, tastes amazing, and isn’t lacking in size. Between the four of us, we got to try a variety of menu options. Naturally, the vegatsu stands out for its similarity to its meat counterpart. The inclusion of breaded seitan on a mainstream restaurant’s menu has rightly caused a ripple of excitement throughout the vegan community, and if you used to eat Wagamama’s meat-based Katsu curry, you won’t be disappointed by this one. It will have any meat eater questioning their need to ever eat chicken again.
If you’re not a fan of meat-alternatives, or prefer your meals to be a little more complex, then you may want to avoid it, however. The large dish composed of strips of seitan, white rice and lots of katsu sauce, whilst delicious, might leave you craving something less simplistic.
Luckily, the rest of the menu more than makes up for that. We tried the Yasai Samla Curry, the Kare Burosu and the Yasai Pad Thai and left incredibly impressed by all of these dishes for their generous portion sizes and fresh, crunchy ingredients that came packed with flavour. If you’re wondering which side to get, we adored the Mixed Mushrooms & Panko Aubergine Hirata Steamed Buns, so they come highly recommended.
It is becoming easier every day to eat vegan when out and about in Colchester, and chains like Wagamama are contributing in huge amounts to our thriving vegan scene. The fact that the vegan menu is so diverse and dynamic means that you can keep coming back again and again – we certainly will be.