As you can tell by the number of restaurant reviews on our blog, we have visited quite a lot of restaurants over the years. Yes, even as vegans (I stress this because some people think that is impossible) and even in restaurants where at first glance this may not be so obvious.
Yes, we have had some bad experiences. I’m not referring to the the rabbitfood that we’ve sometimes been served, but to dishes that are not vegan. For example a dish containg oystersauce, although explicitly labelled on the menu as vegetarian (and yes, also having checked whether it didn’t contain any eggs or dairy). But on most occasions, we have enjoyed a vegan menu. At least that is what we think (and hope)!
Dining out always involves a risk. One can try to minimise that risk, for example by clearly informing the restaurant beforehand on what vegan means, explaining what you do and do not eat. But nevertheless, the risk that some dishes may contain animal ingredients cannot be taken away completely.
Although we realise that dining out always involves some degree of risk, we still like eating out
Dining out with a reassuring feeling greatly comes down to trust (not only for vegan matters, but also for hygiene matters and the use of quality products). And unfortunately sometimes that trust is breached. We’re under no illusion that all the food that we have been served at restaurants has always been vegan. Despite having asked for a vegan menu and clearly mentioning what that means, and it being communicated to us as being vegan when served.
These mistakes may have occured by accident, because the chef did not check certain products for animal ingredients, or maybe because he does not realise that using cow or chicken stock is not okay. Or perhaps because some think that a ‘little bit of egg’ or ‘a little bit of honey’ does not matter, or maybe – perhaps even worse – when they knowingly and intentionally use animal products, thinking that the client will not be able to tell the difference. I sincerely hope that such instances are far and few between, although it cannot be ruled out completely. Just the fact of making a special request (vegan) is sometimes enough to have the food treated ‘specially’.
It always makes me think of this video of ‘Le petit Chef‘, although I hope this is more fiction than reality!
Despite the realisation that dining out always involves a risk, and requires placing trust in the catering staff, we still go out for dinner. Because we like discovering new places. Because it is a pleasant surprise to discover a chef who sees it as an exciting challenge to make a vegan menu, who puts in the effort and presents a culinary delight. If nobody ever asks for a vegan menu, the catering industry does not know there is demand for it, and they will not adjust their offer and include vegan options.
Do you trust that everything is vegan when dining out? Or maybe you prefer to not go dining out anymore?
Based on a post I previously published on my Dutch blog: op restaurant gaan is een kwestie van vertrouwen.