Since I started this blog, I’ve been lucky enough to have been invited to a fair few foodie press events – and I always have a really good time (I mean, what’s not to love?!)
One thing about foodie press events is that there always seems to be something in addition to actually eating the food, to give you something more to write about, which is always great fun! I’ve been to events where there has been a cocktail making masterclass beforehand (check out my post here) and another where the chef has come out and done a cooking demonstration (see this post) and another where we had our own cocktail waiter for our table to make up whatever we fancied whenever we wanted (have a read here) – it’s a tough life being a for blogger, it really is!
Up until now however, I’ve never actually had the opportunity to head into the kitchen at any of these places, and cook up my own dish – which is exactly what I got the chance to do at Wagamamas Cambridge last week!
Fresh from their new refurbishment, Wagamamas Cambridge looks sleek, classy and fresh; with it’s darker tones being replaced with brighter surfaces and really snazzy drop lights (y’know the ones with the visible filament that seem to be the most instagrammable things on the planet right now? Yeah, them!) – it feel much more modern and light; perfect for spending a bit of time with the girls or heading down for a bite to eat whilst getting on with some work.
On arrival, I was given a “Jinzu Fever” which is Wagamama’s take on a Gin and Tonic, with a gin that has been distilled especially for Wagamamas, featuring cherry blossom, citrus fruit and japanese sake for a really delicious edge!
Once everyone had arrived we were presented with a selection of starters. I love eating like this at press events; trying a little bit of everything – yum!
The starters (which can also be ordered as sides) included:
- Chilli and Garlic Edamame Beans – I have had these before and they have now become a bit of a staple whenever I go to Wagamamas. Seriously moreish!
- Chicken Gyoza – Yummy dumplings filled with Chicken, Veg and Water Chestnuts and come with a chilli soy and sesame dipping sauce. I really enjoyed these, but having had the duck ones before, I think I prefer the Duck ones to the Chicken.
- Chilli Squid – Just what it says on the tin. Really lovely kick and perfectly cooked so that the squid was soft and not at that chewy, squeaky stage that it can get to if cooked too long.
- Bang Bang Cauliflower – Cooked with the same spices as wagamamas Firecracker Chicken this was spicy and delicious, with the added benefit of being really healthy too!
- Hirata Buns – We tried two different varieties of these doughy soft steamed buns; Korean Beef & Onion and Mushroom & Panko Aubergine. I definitely preferred the Beef ones, which absolutely melts in your mouth and is perfectly seasoned to bring out the flavours in the meat. As a person who is not a huge fan of mushrooms, the mushroom and aubergine ones weren’t really for me, but I can definitely see them being very popular – particularly for you veggies out there!
After we had eaten our fill of the starters the first half of our group were invited to put on aprons and really sexy hair nets and head into the kitchen. As Wagamamas have, literally this week, just launched their Vegan menu, the first half made the new Yasai Samla Curry. I have to say, I was really impressed. As an avid lover of meat and dairy, I was not convinced that I could be sold on a vegan curry, but this was absolutely delicious! It was the first time I’d ever eaten tofu and I have to say it really worked in this gorgeous sauce. This curry has also just won PETA’s “Best Vegan Curry 2017” award, and you can totally tell why.
Having seen what the first half of the group had come out with, I couldn’t wait to find out what we would be making when our turn came to get into the kitchen! I’m sure you can imagine my excitement when we were told that we would be making Ginger Chicken Udon, which is my absolute go-to on the wagamamas menu, every single time I go there, and I was gonna get to make it myself! So exciting!
We pulled on our sexy grey aprons and our gorgeous hair nets and headed into the kitchen. We got shown where all the different ingredients are kept and the process of making the dish, then we got a chance to do it ourselves. In my head, whenever I’d eaten Ginger Chicken Udon, I had imagined it being made in a wok or similar, but instead it was made on a flat Teppan Grill (I believe that is what it is called!)
It was so interesting to see how it all works in the kitchen – such a great experience! Gonna try to make it at home now I know how its done…watch this space!
Then we headed back out to our table and got to eat it! I have always loved the Ginger Chicken Udon – thick noodles, beautifully flavoured chicken, perfect balance of veg to noodles, and seasoned with coriander and pickled ginger – YUM!
We also got to try a couple of the other main dishes, and we were not disappointed! The other mains we got to try were:
- Kare Burosu – Another of the dishes from Wagamamas’ new vegan menu. This was a spicy ramen broth with udon noodles and tofu and again, it was really really nice. I do think I preferred the other vegan option if I had to pick between the two, but I think thats more to do with the consistency of the Tofu being new to me, and I think it works better in a curry sauce than a broth – but both were absolutely delicious!
- Chicken Katsu Curry – Wagamamas’ most popular dish, and you can tell why! Delicious crisp breaded chicken, fluffy rice and a gorgeous katsu curry sauce. Apparently, Wagamamas sell the equivalent of 4 family cars weight of this sauce a week!
- Tonkatsu – Also using the Katsu curry sauce, this dish is new on the menu this week and consists of gorgeous breaded deep-fried pork on a heap of fluffy white rice, smothered in katsu curry sauce, served with a great little salad too. I really really enjoyed this – the pork was beautifully cooked and went really really well with the sauce – yummy!
Before we left, we tried a couple of the gorgeous fruit juices wagamamas have to offer. We tried the “Power Juice” which was Apple, Spinach and Ginger, and the “Positive Juice” which was Apple, Pineapple, Cucumber, Lime and Spinach. Both were delicious but the Positive Juice was definitely my favourite – very refreshing!
I had a great evening at Wagamamas Cambridge, trying some new things, revelling in some dishes I’ve had before and loved, and getting a chance to get into the kitchen – what a fab experience! I’ll be back!
*I was invited to this event as a guest of wagamamas, so all the food and drink was gifted, however all views are, as always, my own*