New Wagamama menu inspired by chefs visit to Japan

Wagamama has launched its new menu with a focus on hand-held street food inspired by authentic Japanese cuisine.

The pan Asian restaurant’s new menu features a tasty chicken Yakitori dish, vegan tempura and a refreshed vegan bun, all reflecting the exciting new trend in hand held food.

Wagamama’s executive chef Steve Mangleshot travelled to Japan and experienced the exotic street and market culture of fresh food cooked fast and eaten even faster.

Mangleshot and his team went to the suburbs of Tokyo and visited bars where hand held food is served like bar snacks such as crisps or nuts. They also travelled to Singapore and experienced a melting pot of Malaysian, Thai and Chinese flavours including Szechuan and teriyaki.

In Tokyo, Mangleshot savoured the smokey flavours of Yakitori cooked over charcoal sealing in the flavours of the caramelised sticky sauce and delicately crispy fried tempura dishes as they criss-crossed the hustle and bustle of the busy streets of Tokyo. The journey and the knowledge he and his team gained produced the exciting new dishes.

The menu additions follow in the footsteps of Wagamama’s commitment to innovation after they introduced the world’s first vegan egg, and new versions of the ever popular Chicken Katsu Curry (hot Katsu curry and Naked Katsu).

The first is Chicken Yakitori, marinated chicken on skewers with a spicy teriyaki sauce, with shichimi and spring onions. Chicken Yakitori is a well known Japanese street food. Yakitori literally translates as grilled chicken and is traditionally served on skewers.

Chicken Yakitori is best paired with a wagamama power juice, the sweetness of apple cuts cleanly through the salt and spice of the skewers.

Next up is the new Vegan Vegetable Tempura made up of crispy fried tender stem broccoli, red pepper, sweet potato, asparagus, wakame (seaweed) with a sweet and sour dipping sauce. Vegetable Tempura can be paired with sake, which is as crisp and light as the batter.

The Vegan Mixed Mushroom, Panko & Aubergine Hirata Buns now include a tasty vegan sriracha mayonnaise.

A new bright yellow fragrant and citrusy curry called Nikko, which means 'sunlight', is a coconut, lemongrass and turmeric soup with roasted butternut squash, tenderstem broccoli, mangetout, bok Choi, bean sprouts, chilli, coriander, ginger, chilli oil and fresh lime. The curry inspired by flavours of southern India is served with a side of white rice and sesame seeds or the option to try glass noodles or brown rice instead.

The Nikko curry is offered in three styles, chicken and turmeric cauliflower, sea bream, and vegan Yasai, tofu and turmeric cauliflower.

Mangleshot said, “Visiting the suburbs of Tokyo gave us the inspiration for the hand held food. The busy bars had stand up tables and guests ate Yakitori and crispy tempura whilst enjoying a drink. The simplicity and speed of the dishes was impressive and the wood bbq smokey flavouring coupled with the caramelised sauce was delicious.

“The Yakitori at wagamama will be cooked on a teppanyaki and I am delighted to say I believe we have captured that authentic taste of Tokyo with the flavours we use.”