Earlier this week Wagamama Oxford reopened after a makeover and reinvention as one of their ‘flagship’ restaurants.
Last night I went along with Heather from Vegan Eats Oxford to check out a new vegan seitan katsu curry that they are showcasing, for the first time outside of their noodle lab test kitchen in London, the ‘vegatsu’.
Joining a whole separate menu of vegan and vegetarian dishes, the new vegatsu is a hearty plateful of rice, savoury katsu curry sauce, and the newly popular wheat-based meat substitute, seitan.
Having tried seitan a couple of times before, I knew what to expect. The meat substitute is becoming a more common addition to vegan menus and offerings, popping up, typically, as chicken replacements in burgers, as hot wings, and here as breaded chicken breasts. It wasn’t the best example of seitan I’d tasted, being a little underdone meant for a softer, squidgier texture, and less of the crunchy bite I’d experienced in hot wings from Happy Friday Kitchen, but it was a tasty and satisfying dish.
As someone who is historically a meat eater, but interested in transitioning to a more plant-based diet, it’s impressive to see so many restaurants adding pioneering vegan ingredients and recipes to their menus, and in the case of Wagamama, an entire vegan & vegetarian menu, full of interesting choices that go beyond mushrooms and rice. Veganism seems so much more accessible than it ever has done before, and it’s good to see Oxford keeping pace.
According to Wagamama, the newly reopened restaurant was selected to host the seitan curry, as Oxford boasts one of the fastest growing vegan populations in the UK with a high volume of student residents.
The vegatsu was developed by executive chef Steve Mangleshot and was launched as a trial dish at Wagamama’s test kitchen ‘noodle lab’ in Soho.
Steve said: “The vegatsu has seen unbelievable support in London. We developed the dish in noodle lab and it has since become one of the most popular dishes on the menu, with vegans and meat eaters alike. We’re excited to take this dish to Oxford next – it’s the perfect nourishment for the soul.”
Free Seitan Katsu Curry for Students
To celebrate the re-opening of the Oxford flagship restaurant and the new vegan dish, Wagamama will be giving away 50 of the seitan dishes exclusively to students every Monday for 4 weeks from 16 th April at Wagamama Oxford.
Students will be able to retrieve their free vegatsu at 3.00pm on 16th , 23rd , 30th April and 7th May. The offer will be valid for the first 50 students that present a valid student ID card on arrival.