Wagamama's new vegan hardboiled egg: An honest taste test

You know when you see a vegan version of something that you didn't used to like when it wasn't vegan, and yet you still go and buy it? You know that whole thing about the triumph of hope over experience? Welcome, my friends, to my recent experience with a vegan hard boiled egg. (Spoilers: it's not pretty. I'm sorry for having to make you relive it with me.)

One cold and rainy London afternoon, Mr Flicking the Vs suggested a walk around St James Park and then dinner at Wagamama's Noodle Lab. The Noodle Lab is where Wagamama tests out its new recipes before rolling them out (or not) to the rest of the restaurants in the chain. It always seems to have a few vegan dishes on its testing menu, and on the day we stopped by, it was pulling out all the vegan stops.

The big news on the menu was the Avant Gard'n, a collaboration between Wagamama and Gaz Oakley, a blogger and YouTuber better known as the Avant Garde Vegan. In typical Wagamama style, it's a bowl of a dish, a base of rice topped with some veggies and protein. It's the Avant Gard'n's protein that people have apparently been getting excited about: along with slices of seitan, there's a genuine fake hard boiled egg.

As I learnt by listening to the pair of new vegans who sat down at the bench next to us, that vegan boiled egg is big news for plant-based eaters, and the reason both of them had come to the Noodle Lab.

I never used to like hard boiled eggs as a pregan, but show me a vegan one, and I'm suddenly elbowing my way to the front of the queue to try one.

You know how this story ends: I remember I don't like it, vegan or not. Sadly, the vegan egg was no exception.

So, I hated hard boiled eggs now and then, what about those of you that are jonesing for something in the region of an egg but without the usual animal cruelty? Well, erm, you might be a bit disappointed. It's got the texture of a hard boiled egg (as I remember them from my thankfully dim and distant pregan days) but the overwhelming taste is of coconut. Wagamama describes it as a "coconut and sriracha 'egg'" but all I could taste was the former, and none of the latter. The 'yolk' was quite tasty, but the coconut-flavoured white? Erm, no. Just no. I'd go so far as to say it was just actively unpleasant.

All your eggy dreams are not coming true here vegans. Wagamama's vegan egg tastes more like a gimmick than a serious attempt to make something good to eat. It looks like it was designed to go on Insta, and not to go in your stomach.

And the rest? I'm not a seitan lover, but the BBQ wheat meat was fine. The really good bit was the oyster mushrooms - thick sliced and meaty, they were the highlight for me. The rest was edamame, grated carrot, and some spring onions, with a goodly chunk of sticky white rice. It was fine. There was supposed to be some sauce involved. It tasted precisely of nothing (or someone had forgot to put it on there, could be either!)

So, if you're dreaming of vegan egg, I'd say go make yourself some scrambled tofu or chickpea egg-less salad and enjoy. Don't go for Wagamama's new vegan version - your tastebuds will hold it against you forever.

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  1. Oh dear! I used to enjoy boiled eggs once upon a time but I have to admit that the idea of a weird fake one doesn't tingle my tastebuds much. You'd think they could've made it taste of NOTHING or black salt really, wouldn't you? Oh well, it's nice that they're trying I suppose!

  2. Joey, I have to be honest I don't quite get the craze behind Avant Gard'n's as nothing created in his books are new and can all be found in The Gentle Chef cookbooks including the vegan egg. The only thing Gaz has been shrewd about is social media photographs and created a brand around himself. I hate this kind of copying without acknowledging previous sources and pretending you created all the recipes and moreso from people who have only been vegan for less than three years. I am not impressed.

  3. Thanks for the review! I do miss hard boiled eggs more than ANYTHING I gave up, but I can make eggless tofu salad and come close to what I loved about them. I think I would cry if I got my hopes up and the thing tasted like coconut.

  4. Bummer on the vegan hard-boiled egg, I don't remember them tasting like much of anything, just more of a texture. Those mushrooms though look like the best part of the bowl.

  5. Woah - I did a double take and checked I was indeed on your blog when I saw that egg - I never liked hard boiled egg and am not a huge fan of coconut oil so I don't think this is for my tastebuds thought my eyes take delight! I still have dreams of attempting a tofu an besan fried egg but the moment just has not come yet!


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