Yes the rumors are true, Vegatsu has arrived! Wagamama’s iconic katsu curry has now a vegan alternative available in the restaurant’s 130 UK locations.
Introduced in 1992, the original chicken katsu curry is one of the UK’s most popular dishes. Currently it is number three seller on Deliveroo and number one for the Japanese-inspired restaurant brand, selling over 3.5million dishes a year (10,000 daily). Vegatsu, the seitan version is designed to cater to the 3.5 million Brits who now identify as vegan (over 7% of the UK).
In October 2017 Wagamama launched its vegan and vegetarian menu across the UK, which comprised 28 dishes. This May sees the addition of even more plant-based dishes to the new menu for Summer including 3 new dishes Harusame Glass Noodle Salad (tofu), Mushroom + Panko Aubergine Steamed Hirata Buns and Yasai Katsu Curry.
“Following the huge success of our vegan menu it made sense for us to create a vegan version of our world-renowned katsu curry. Vegan, vegetarian, v-curious and flexitarian customers will be amazed by how similar it tastes to the original and iconic Katsu. We are delighted to bring this new dish to our fans across the UK. Steve Mangleshot, Executive Chef at Wagamama
Last night I headed to Wagamama’s Noodle Lab in Soho for the much anticipated launch of Vegatsu. You can check out my Instagram Stories for some pictures of the evening.
Great food, friendly service, it is always a pleasure to eat at Wagamama. After drinks, we were treated to a selection of dishes including the much awaited Vegatsu.
Vegatsu is made from seitan a plant based protein derived from wheat flour. After seasoning and cooking it develops a chewy texture similar to meat. Seitan is high in gluten so it might not be suitable if this is an ingredient you are sensitive too. For anyone else, it makes a great meat substitute.
Served with rice, Vegatsu is a curry made from crispy panko-coated seitan covered in Wagamama’s famous aromatic curry sauce. It is very tasty and the panko adds a nice crunch to the dish.
Was I fooled into thinking it was chicken? I am afraid not. It was a bit too soft in texture to truly imitate meat.
I have had “firmer” seitan before which were closer to the real thing. The question of texture can be contentious. Many vegans and vegetarians simply do not like the texture of meat. It is something really personal that you can only judge for yourself.
That said, I really enjoyed my Vegatsu and so did my committed carnivore dinner companion. It is a really nice curry which I would be happy to order again.
The other dish I really enjoyed was the Mushroom + Panko Aubergine Steamed Hirata Buns. These were really scrumptious and a nice addition to Wagamama’s vegetarian and vegan menu.
No meal would be complete without a drink. Natsu (meaning ‘summer’ in Japanese) is one of the latest craft beers developed by Wagamama. Brewed in London, it is a pale ale infused with passion fruit. Fruity and refreshing, it was perfect with our vegan fare.
I had a really good time last night and truly enjoyed the food. I’ll be keeping an eye on the best seller list, hoping to see Vegatsu follow in the footsteps of the original chicken katsu curry. In the meantime, if you try it, do let me know what you think !
You can visit www.wagamama.com for more information on Wagamama’s vegan and vegetarian menu and your nearest restaurant.