Wagamama [gifted/ invite]

Essex food blogger. Gifted

Sometimes, I think we can all be a little too critical of ourselves and compare ourselves to others too often. Thinking we’re not where we need to be, or even want to be. It can be quite damaging for our mental health, however, on the flip side, we can also have moments where we look at how far we have come and realise that at some point in the past, we couldn’t have imagined being where we are now. This week was one of those moments for me. You’re probably a bit confused as the blog post is entitled Wagamama, but there is a purpose to this, I promise! When Tom and I were in Devon, I had a couple of emails inviting me to some blogger events, which is always exciting, but one of them was from Wagamama inviting me to try some of their new seasonal dishes. 

I was so excited to get it – the ACTUAL Wagamama wanted me to try their new dishes. It seemed totally crazy to me but I was extremely happy to have received the invite. As with most things, when the day came, the anxiety took over and all day at work I was desperately trying to think of reasons not to go. Which is ridiculous. If you had told me a year ago that I would be receiving invites to go to Blogger events, I would never have believed you, or had the confidence to put myself out there anyway. And that’s a testament to me and my hard work. Having a blog, whether it’s a written one, a vlog, or an Instagram blog is hard bloody work. Most ‘ordinary’ people do it as a hobby, hoping to turn it into a new venture, but I think that’s what makes us ‘ordinary’ ones, extraordinary. We’re not given it to us on a plate. We put hours of our free time into creating content and editing. For me as a food blogger, I spend a lot of money on ingredients just to make a meal so it looks good for the ‘gram. So I knew when I was thinking of excuses, it was only because my own demons in my head were getting to me and I was allowing the anxiety to take over. I was really proud of myself for going, participating in conversation and knowing that I did deserve to be sitting around that table.

Anyway, onto the good stuff – the food! There were five of us in total and we were invited to visit the Chelmsford branch which is located in Bond Street. I hadn’t been to this one before and it did not disappoint. It’s huge! And above that, the service is super welcoming, which is always a great touch when you go into a restaurant, particularly a franchise. 

Their new autumn menu is called the Wagamama ‘Mindful Menu’. it’s all about nourishing food and encouraging that nourishment in the mind. This means that your body is given the chance to appreciate what you eat, taking everything in like the aroma, texture and most importantly, flavours. One of the most surprising things about the menu was that the dishes were all mainly vegan friendly, if not vegan, then vegetarian. The best thing was, you wouldn’t have known that they were vegan. It’s something to be mindful of when eating out as sometimes, it’s nice to make those different choices and go out of your comfort zone. If you are a vegan – get yourself to your nearest Wagamama!

Mindful menu - wagamama
The new ‘Mindful menu’ at Wagamama.

The starters consisted of: Chicken Yakitori (chicken thigh skewers, marinated in teriyaki sauce, shichimi and spring onion), Vegetable Tempura with a sweet and sour dipping sauce, and Mixed Mushroom Hirata Buns. Obviously the skewers aren’t vegan or vegetarian, but they were bloody amazing, so flavoursome and tender, but the other two were and they were equally as tasty – particularly the mushroom buns. I reckon I could have had a good half a dozen of them without getting bored. They had so much flavour, would highly recommend. The vegetable tempura had a great crunch on them and the dipping sauce just pulls the side together. We got to wash them down with some delicious prosecco – something I would definitely have again. 

Next, we were given the tofu Yasai Nikko curry to try. I honestly wouldn’t have guessed it was vegan in a million years and I was so impressed with the depth of flavour. There was a little bit of heat from the chilli oil, but was in no way overbearing. It was such a ‘winter warmer’ and I liked how you could choose whether to have glass noodles (a healthy alternative), brown rice, or white rice. We also tried it with Sea Bream in, which I really enjoyed as it’s not often I get a fish curry. I think the curry is perfect if you’re trying to be a bit healthier and make good choices when going out for dinner/ lunch. 

Yasai Nikko Curry.

After we had sampled the new delights, we were very Kindly allowed to order a side of our choosing and a main dish. I opted out of the side as I didn’t think I could manage it as well as a main. I went for the Firecracker King Prawns as it’s something I’ve never had and wouldn’t usually go for out as I like quite ‘saucy’ dishes. I really enjoyed it and it’s the type of thing I would try and cook at home. It was very spicy, I won’t lie, but I really like the heat! We were offered dessert too, but I was full to the brim and would never have been able to manage a pudding as well! 

Firecracker King Prawn.

I really enjoyed the evening and it’s always nice meeting other bloggers. I want to take Tom soon so he can sample some of the delights on offer, and go back for more of the amazing prosecco! 

Thanks for the invite, Wagamama and I’ll see you very soon! 

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