restaurant review #196 – The Lab is a restaurant in the city center of Maastricht, with some vegan options. Actually, it is more a pub/cocktail bar, than a real restaurant, with loud music and a dark, hipster pub atmosphere. It seemed very popular with students.
We visited at the end of June, when we were on a holiday in the area.
I doubted whether I would post this review on my blog, as The Lab is not a place that I recommend. But then again, I think it is also important to share less favourable experiences (see this blogpost: a critical note on vegan friendly places? don’t you dare) It is very rare that I am thoroughly disappointed about a place. As is the case here.
When we came in, the first thing we noticed was a very strong ‘toilet’ odour (and not in a favourable way).
There were still plenty of tables available and we could choose a table to sit.
You can compose your bowl or choose from one of the available options. The vegan options (burger and bowl) are clearly indicated, and those were said to be the only vegan options.
We ordered the tempeh burger, and a bowl with tempeh.
The tempeh ‘burger’ seemed to be just slices of ‘baked’ tempeh placed on top of each other. However, the tempeh was not baked and as good as raw.
The bowl was with couscous, tempeh (also as good as raw) and guacamole.
The food seemed freshly prepared, and was a large portion, but not at all tasteful. We didn’t fancy a whole stack of nearly raw tempeh.
We thought it was going to come with fries on the side (as it says on the menu), but we weren’t served any fries. We wanted to ask the young waiter about the fries, and we also wanted to order some more drinks, but he was very rude. He annoyingly snapped that he ‘will be with you immediately‘. But never came and even completely ignored us afterwards.
So no more drinks, and no fries. And no bill, so we went to pay at the counter (where there was another waiter).
The stinky smell led to extremely dirty toilets downstairs (hairs sticking to the walls, which could use a good washing).
The Lab is not accessible (stairs going up to get in, toilets downstairs).
In sum: The food seemed freshly prepared (and, all in all cheap) but was tasteless. Unfriendly and rude service. Dirty and smelly toilets. Uncomfortable chairs and very loud atmosphere. Not an enjoyable evening. We will not be visiting again.
The Lab, location
6211 LJ Maastricht
+31 6 151 62 936
See our lists of restaurants where vegans are welcome in the menu section of The Bruges vegan! List restaurants in Bruges and outside Bruges.
I agree with you. I see no reason why a vegan restaurant should be treated any differently or favorably to any other restaurant. This is a good and honest review. I never understand why waiters can be so rude to their paying customers.
(on a sidenote: the Lab is not a vegan restaurant – has vegan options though – but the same applies: if it’s good, I will write that, if it’s not good, I will also write that. )
The ‘glorification’ of vegan (friendly) restaurants that I sometimes see can lead to a very distorted view about such places. And then you end up going there (with friends and family – to show how good vegan restaurants can be – and it turns out to be a disappointment.
If the restaurants are professional, they will address the issues and work on it to improve!
Hmmm… Some thoughts about their tempeh cooking skills: Someone forgot to cook the tempeh! Maybe someone steamed it to take bitterness out but skipped the next step of actually cooking it. Perhaps this restaurant has not allocated space to cook tempeh on a vegan food only cookspace. If I get food from a non-vegan place where options are typically fries and salad, no cheese please, I wonder what else is fried in that fryer’s oil. I appreciate your review’s honesty. I was thoroughly grossed out by the restrooms. For a time, I reviewed “vegan friendly” cookbooks for a mainstream media outlet. The books I didn’t appreciate were tough to devote 300 words to. My final review attempt I abandoned, given its hapless Ayurvedic focus on meats.