I was invited for an evening of mindfulness, talking and comfort food…
Just over a week ago, on Time To Talk Day, I was invited to attend a blogger event at Wagamama in Exeter in collaboration with Mind, The Mental Health Charity. The concept of the event was to create open communication and meet new people while enjoying some of Wagamama’s best comfort food.
I had eaten at Wagamamas in Exeter once before, and at the time I loved my food and the atmosphere in the restaurant. However, that was around five years ago, so when I received the invite to attend the Wagamamas X Mind blogger event, I was extremely excited and couldn’t wait to attend.
My only concern was the fact that Wagamama uses peanuts in some of their dishes, however, before attending I was assured that Wagamama has a strict allergy management policy. I was also able to take The Gamer Bloke along with me, which when it comes to coping with my allergy, I always find helpful as it means I have someone on hand who knows what to do should I have an allergic reaction.
Green tea and sides…
When we arrived at Wagamamas, we were welcomed to the bloggers’ table by our lovely host, Dorota, the manager of the Exeter Wagamama restaurant; she was the friendliest and most welcoming lady I have ever met. We were sat at one long table along with the other bloggers and two members of the One Voice PR team, who were both lovely.
As soon as I mentioned my allergy she explained the Wagamama’s policy on allergens, bought me an allergen menu, and explained that all of my food would be cooked in a separate area and would only be dealt with by the management team, which I would say is pretty incredible and very rarely happens.
While we looked over the menus, we were bought a cup of green tea each, followed by our choice of smoothie or juice. I opted for a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, while The Gamer Bloke picked a Power Juice, which was a combination of apple, spinach, and ginger.
A selection of sides were bought to the table, including portions of edamame with salt and chili, Tama squid, chili squid, Ebi katsu, duck wraps, and duck gyozas. The Gamer Bloke and I tried each dish, while he loved the edamame with salt and chili and the Tama squid, I preferred the chili squid, Ebi katsu, and duck dishes. However, it was all totally delicious.
As we munched the sides, Dorota told us about Wagamama’s collaboration with Mind and why it is so important to raise awareness around mental health. She explained Wagamama’s stance on their collaboration with Mind, which I’ve quoted below from the Wagamama website.
“We believe in nourishment from bowl to soul. which is why we are proud to support mental health charity, mind. raising awareness and encouraging conversation around mental health with our teams and in our restaurants. Open mouths. Open minds.”
Launched in January, the aim of the collaboration is to encourage more conversation around mental health, which as someone who suffers from anxiety, I think is amazing. As part of the collaboration, Wagamama donates 25p from every ‘super green’ and ‘power’ juice sold to help fund infoline calls for Mind.
Steamed buns and mains…
Next, we were asked if we would like to try the famous Wagamama steamed buns, and thinking that these were the mains, we happily picked the crispy chicken steam buns for our next course. However, just as the buns arrived, we were then asked to order our mains, by which time we were already quite full. That being said, we were both glad that we had ordered the buns as the chicken was incredible – so flavourful and juicy, they really packed a punch.
As we were already quite full, we didn’t want to order mains that we couldn’t finish, so The Gamer Bloke ordered the sirloin and shiitake salad and I asked for a small chicken katsu curry. Both dishes were a little larger than we had anticipated but were also totally delicious – the salad was wonderfully refreshing, while the katsu curry was sweet, spicy and served as the most amazing comfort food.
Time for dessert…
Once we had finished our mains, we were offered dessert menus. While The Gamer Bloke was far too full to have dessert, I always have room for pudding – it’s a gift really! Plus, I usually can’t safely have dessert, so the fact that the coconut ice cream was safe for me to eat, meant that I really couldn’t say no.
Our evening at Wagamama’s was incredible. The food was amazing, our host was lovely, the conversation around mental health was insightful, and the understanding and management of allergen handling was incredible.
The Gamer Bloke and I have already said that we will most definitely be going back soon – Wagamama’s might just be our new favourite place to drink and dine in Exeter.
*This post is in collaboration with Wagamama, however, all thoughts are my own.*