Pan Asian restaurant Wagamama have launched a dish with vegan chef and YouTuber Gaz Oakley featuring a vegan egg. It looks like half a boiled egg with yellow yolk and it's hard to spot the difference. Oakley collaborated with Wagamama executive chef Steve Mangleshot to create the Japanese inspired bowl named 'the avant-gard'n' with the aim of continuing to make vegan food more interesting. The chefs at Wagamama, pioneers of plant based food, believe that meat free should not mean taste free. The vegan egg white has the same consistency as the real thing and the yolk is equally soft but it is designed to have its own unique taste.
Consisting of a coconut milk, cornflour and miso egg white and Siracha mayo yolk the avant-gard'n also features glazed BBQ seiten, king oyster mushrooms, edamame and sticky rice. The egg white is made like a firm panacotta – ingredients are combined in a bowl then cooked on a hob to thicken. The mixture is poured into an 'egg mould' which is set in the fridge for a couple hours. Then the chefs use a melon baller to dissect the yolk hole and just before serving, the chef squeezes sriracha mayonnaise into the yolk hole producing the vegan egg. The egg is 43 kcal, approximately the same as a real egg.
This is Wagamama's second collaboration in the Noodle Collab series bringing together vegan chef Gaz Oakley and executive chef Steve Mangleshot.
Gaz approached Steve with the idea of a fresh, veggie packed vegan bowl topped with barbeque glazed seitan. A natural innovator and known for 'veganising' classic dishes, Gaz introduced Steve to the idea of the vegan egg.
The egg is not intended to taste like egg but Gaz wanted the flavours to compliment the rest of the dish. Flavours of coconut, lemongrass and sriracha mayo come together to create a delicious accompanying sauce. Steve and Gaz worked closely with the Noodle Lab and Cardiff chefs to perfect the egg.
Executive chef Steve Mangleshot said: “We believe in championing plant based eating. Meat free should not mean taste free. Rather than simply modifying existing dishes to make them vegan, we want to continually innovate in this area. We have a responsibility to keep introducing vegan items to the menu with sustainable eating becoming increasingly important. We loved the fact that the egg added a new dimension of flavour to the overall dish and was not a gimmick. With Gaz's expertise, I think we've created a truly unique, delicious offering. We've had increasing demand for vegan dishes over recent years and love to explore innovative methods of delivering these in new, exciting ways. Gaz's ethos and dedication to passion for creating flavour meant he was the perfect choice for our collab."
As a nod to Gaz's Welsh roots the dish was launched in both Wagamama Cardiff locations and at their Noodle Lab restaurant on Dean Street, London. Noodle Lab is an open test kitchen for Wagamama where the public are asked to give feedback on new dishes to help them decide what goes forward to the national menu.
Gaz said: “I have been a huge fan of Wagamama since I was a kid and it's so good to see them really supporting the vegan movement. They are never afraid to innovate so this felt like a natural partnership. I was really excited about coming up with the idea of the “vegan egg” as egg features so heavily in Japanese cooking. My social media channels are called @avantgardevegan because I'm always looking to push the boundaries and try new things." He added: “This is not so much a substitute for an egg but looks the part and has a similar consistency. Most importantly, it has an incredible flavour that compliments the dish perfectly.”
The nationwide rollout of 'avant gard'n' recognises how guests needs are changing – over the last year Wagamama has seen more than 60% increase in customers choosing a vegan option as their main dish*, and it's expected this trend towards more mindful eating will continue to grow. Wagamama also announced that it has made the European Chicken Commitment, a new set of standards to improve the welfare of chickens farmed for meat. The standards laid out in the commitment provide a better living environment for chickens and are to be achieved by 2026 throughout Wagamama's supply chain in Europe.
Ross Farquhar, Chief Marketing Officer for Wagamama, said: “More and more we see guests choose to eat more mindfully, whether that's by reducing how often they have meat or selecting restaurants that bring food to their plates responsibly and sustainably. In the spirit of continuous improvement or 'kaizen', we're striving to lead the change, provide more innovative plant-based dishes and be true to the positive eating, positive living ethos we were founded on.”
*Year Ending 28/2/19 vs. Year Ending 28/2/18. Proportion of guests choosing a vegan option as their main dish rose by 64.2
Gin School anyone? With a comfy bed for the night, just a short stroll away? Then Hull is the place to be. A new Gin School and contemporary boutique apartment hotel have created the perfect summer mix for a 'gin-tastic' weekend.
Go back to the classroom for a different education experience by creating your own blend of gin at Hull's Hotham's Gin School, before returning to a designer apartment at The Hideout - with your bottle of personalised gin of course.
The weekend experiences offer discounted tickets to award winning Hotham's Gin School (£125 for two) plus 10% off a stay at the Hideout Boutique Hotel.
Following its UK City of Culture success, Hull is not only seeing major regeneration and a boost in visitors, but also the creation of a thriving local food and drink scene. 'Made in Hull' is fast becoming an emerging theme for the city, with restaurants, gourmet street food, gin distilleries and microbreweries joining an already well-established Ale Trail.
For a memorable gin experience, the Gin School session includes a chat with a distiller over a glass of Hotham's Gin and Tonic, as well a chance to try their gin range, before you head over to the Botanicals Bench to create your own recipe with the help of experts before distilling it… while enjoying a gin-based cocktail.
Finally, bottle, name and label your unique creation, leaving the School safe in the knowledge that, when you finish enjoying it, you can buy another bottle, or even have it recreated by expert distillers and delivered straight to your door.
The Hideout, which opened in 2017, is an independent, family-run contemporary boutique apartment hotel offering 15 quality self-catering apartments in the heart of the city. Each features a designer bathroom, integrated open-plan living area, fully equipped kitchen and is decked out with luxury designer furniture and modern technology
Start your day the Beastly way! Opening at 7.30 am on weekdays and 8:30 am on weekends, the Beast of Brixton's new cafe offers bacon rolls, savoury hot croissants, freshly baked pastries and moreish Alchemy coffee specially blended for the venue. (But you'll probably travel for the toasties).
Introducing: The Kimcheese
Korean food is happy food, so imagine how happy co-founders Jimmy and Will were on realising that kimchi is a next level toasted sandwich ingredient! Add ham or tuna, or just have it straight up with their house blend of cheddar, mozzarella and Gruyere cheeses. They've taken an ancient, traditional food and slapped it in a toastie to create the ultimate in East meets West lunchables.
Toasties and sarnies don't stop there. There's the Pulled Chicken Pesto Toastie with sun-dried tomatoes, Aubergine & Harissa Houmous vegan friendly sandwich, a Tuna, Crispy Seaweed and Wasabi Mayo sarnie and satisfying classics like the BLT and Ham, Cheese & Spring Onion.
Customers can take their lunches to the next level with Disco Hot Sauce. This scotch bonnet-laden, Panamanian-style hot sauce recipe is blended to the sound of four-to-the-floor disco music locally in Brixton. Small batch Disco Hot Sauce is what Sriracha sauce wakes up and wishes it saw in the mirror. It's your mouth's next best friend, you can have it with your toasties or buy it by the bottle.
Among locals who have enthused about the new opening is popular historian Tom Holland, who tweeted: "Huge excitement in Brixton as Opus, after a long period of transitioning, emerges at last into the light of day as @beastofbrixton..."
With a laid-back atmosphere, playlists comprising an eclectic and discerning mix of tracks and even beer for your dog (seriously), the Beast of Brixton is now as entertaining during the day as its upstairs bar is on Friday and Saturday nights. Not forgetting their famous Sunday Roasts, which draw in a huge crowd every week.
The Beast Of Brixton is a proudly independent neighbourhood cafe, bar and kitchen owned and run by James Duke-Evans and Will Nelson. Founded in 2015, The Beast, as it is affectionately known, has become a favourite among in the know Brixtonians and Claphamites for it's sell-out premium Sunday roast, top floor parties and warm, refreshingly unpretentious welcome. Now with three storeys on Acre Lane, The Beast has garnered a steady stream of 5* reviews. www.thebeastofbrixton.co.uk
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel writer and author of 11 books. My byline appears in national and regional newspapers and magazines. See website gillypickup.co.uk