I don’t often get down to the Big Smoke but on a recent visit I decided to pop into Noodle Lab, Wagamama’s test kitchen located in the heart of Soho. I was keen to try the new vegan dish about to launch in restaurants nationwide devised by Gaz Oakley (otherwise known as Avant Vegan on Youtube) called Avant Gard’n.
Featuring a vegan egg made from miso-infused coconut, I had mixed feelings about trying it out. I’ve never eaten a real egg other than in cakes as I felt sick at the smell of them as a child. It seems I was always destined to be vegan, despite my love of cheese and chocolate! Still, I thought to myself that it wasn’t a proper egg so I needed to put my big girl pants on and ‘man up’. The dish, which has barbecue glazed seitan served with grilled king oyster mushrooms and asparagus on a bed of sticky white rice, is topped with edamame, carrot and spring onion and dressed with a sticky vegan sauce.
Of course, I couldn’t not try one of the new starters they were trialling before tucking into my main course. The Tempura Vegetables were very good, if a little on the filling side. We suggested it was a sharing portion on our feedback, although it seems this dish isn’t rolling out yet. It’s a shame as I think it will appeal to non-vegans too, should it make the grade in the future.
As for Avant Gard’n, I have to say I wasn’t a huge fan. I liked the seitan and vegetable combination but the ‘egg’ did nothing for me. The texture is how I’d imagine a boiled egg so that is spot on. The sriracha mayo was quite hot for a wuss like me, although others have told me they found it mild. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I also found the sticky sauce on the sweet side which was overpowering. The plus was that I thought the seitan used for this dish is better than that used for the Vegatsu, but I think this remains my favourite Wagamama dish still.
Just because the Avant Gard’n dish didn’t blow me away on this occasion doesn’t mean I won’t give it a second chance when it comes to my local Wagamama, but I think I’ll avoid the vegan egg in the future. The launch of this dish nationally is a huge deal in the vegan community and I’m sure it will be popular. I just hope there’s more exciting and innovative dishes to come in the future.
Thanks for reading,