We went on an almost entirely Grandma-facilitated date night earlier in the week. Babysitting services provided by Grandma, and Cafe Rouge vouchers provided with Grandma’s Tesco Clubcard points.
I decided, as an experiment, to see how easy it would be, and also how “fun”, to have a fully vegan meal.
Like I said in my last post, the vegan issue is on my mind at the moment and I am doing some reading about it. We are definitely not considering making the leap in any full-time sense, but the flexitarian/part-time vegan concept holds some attraction to me.
I had the pea and mint tortelloni as a starter (the ONLY vegan starter option on the menu) and it was really nice. I don’t think I would want to eat its equivalent as a main course, and I still have some work to do on accepting the concept of pasta without cheese on top, but it was enjoyable.
On ordering the main course, though, it was a bit more challenging – I could have had pea and asparagus risotto, but didn’t really want more peas, or vegetable tagine – but I really wanted a burger. (I actually really wanted a steak with blue cheese sauce, but hey ho. All in the name of the blog.)
The spicy chickpea burger is marked on the menu as vegan, but the accompaniments (frites or sweet potato frites) are only marked as dairy-free. So I asked the waiter what the issue was here to make the chips non-vegan. He didn’t seem too thrilled to be asked, and came back eventually to tell me that there were sometimes products containing eggs cooked in the same fryers so they couldn’t guarantee the chips were fully vegan.
I ordered the sweet potato frites anyway, as I’m not a purist and not even an actual proper vegan, so refusing them on that basis seemed a bit extreme. They were quite disappointing and under-cooked. The burger was okay, a bit too spicy for me though – I am a huge spice wuss. I’m kind of falling out of love with Cafe Rouge anyway.
So my conclusions are that eating out in restaurants which aren’t specialty vegan is probably quite boring and quite hard work for vegans. It’s also really hard work to find out what various restaurants’ policies are regarding using higher welfare animal products – although the British Hen Welfare Trust has a good go at it here in relation to eggs. If anyone can recommend any good vegan restaurants in South East London for us to check out, that would be ace.
Anyway, here’s a badly-lit and non-Instagram-worthy picture of my sad chickpea burger, with £1.50’s worth of extra smashed avo for good hipster measure. (I cropped out my husband’s succulent roast chicken in the background). Food for thought.
Interesting article, thanks.
I don’t think Café Rouge is one to get sad about…Ethical Consumer only give them 4/20 for ethics!
I’m also a flexitarian as sometimes one has to give into the odd craving when there really isn’t a good enough choice.
Sadly, I can’t give restaurant recommendations as I live in Cambridge.
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Yeah I just found the Ethical Consumer list, am considering subscribing – would you recommend it?
Yes, I personally think it’s worth the annual subscription fee. It’s really made me think about how I shop. I’ve also probably saved money because I no longer shop at certain places, and have lowered my consumption of various items.
I’ve a long way to go, but it’s one small step that has really helped.
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Sorry Hannah the menu does not sound very appetising to me either. Don’t think I could stretch to trying out vegan menus. would have to have my cheese. Talking ethical did you read the other day about Park farms treatment of their chickens which they breed and supply to supermarkets. It was horrendous. They are Red Tractor Certified as well so who can you trust.
The tortelloni was nice! Haven’t read that story but will look it up. Red Tractor certification is quite meaningless according to what I’ve read, RSPCA approved more meaningful – or organic of course!