Wagamama launches vegan 'tuna' made from watermelon, but it costs £13

The fish substitute is made by dehydrating melon 

Sophie Gallagher
Thursday 02 January 2020 14:40 GMT

Wagamama has become the first major UK restaurant to launch a vegan “tuna” made from watermelon fruit, but it will cost you £12.95.

The dish will be featured nationwide throughout January, as many Brits take on the Veganuary challenge, where they eat a plant-based diet till the end of the month.

An estimated 250,000 participants took part in the UK event in 2019, according to the organisers.

The vegan fish is made with dehydrated watermelon which is then sliced, seared and served hot, which apparently gives it the look and texture of tuna sashimi.

Although the restaurant say the flavour remains like that of watermelon, rather than fish. It will also cost you almost as much as the real meat and fish equivalent dishes at the restaurant.

(Wagamama (Wagamama)

The vegan tuna follows on from the success of its vegan egg in 2019, made from coconut milk, cornflour and miso.

To make the watermelon tuna the chefs slice the fruit and then put it in brine with salt, in order to “balance the sugars and help with flavour”.

The chefs then cook the steak sous vide style (at a low temperature for a long time) in a water bath in order to soften the watermelon.

The fish-substitute is dressed with a miso sesame sauce and sits on a bed of white rice, soy seasoning, radish, kale and tenderstem broccoli. It also has avocado, edamame beans and tofu guacamole.

If the dish proves popular throughout January, the brand says it will be added to the menu more permanently.

Wagamama executive chef Steve Mangleshot said: “My team and I are always excited about creating new dishes, we love to innovate and make people think about the food they are eating.

“The watermelon tuna dish is all about innovation and and creating exceptional vegan food for our guests. The joy of being able to produce really cool food that is both vegan and tastes fantastic at the same time is what it’s all about.”

Veganuary spokesperson Zoe West said: “Veganuary is creating a new wave of consumers with strong ethics and a big appetite! This a real opportunity for businesses to improve and expand their vegan offerings for the growing climate-conscious audience."

The first Wagamama restaurant in the UK was opened in London in 1992.

There are currently an estimated 3.5 million vegans in the UK.

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