What do we want?
One of the things I miss most, on returning to London after living in Brighton, is the lack of choice for vegetarians in most restaurants and pubs. I find myself kicking my feet under the table, checking out the decor and updating my Twitter feed, whilst the meat eaters ponder a wide variety of options. My decision will only take a few seconds because the vegetarian ‘choice’, as it is euphemistically called, is often either pasta (yawn), mushroom risotto or something with goat’s cheese.
I expressed much frustration about this in a Facebook post and was surprised at the number of comments from people who felt the same way. The fact that many meat-eaters have partners who are vegetarians seems to completely pass some restaurant owners by. Poor veggie options means we will probably just go somewhere else – surely it would be better business sense to offer us exciting food too? We have put up with mediocre, unimaginative fare for too long and it’s time for change.
The aim of this blog is to persuade restaurants and pubs to offer interesting veggie meals. When I go out, I want to be served a dish that I can’t or won’t cook for myself – because it has unusual ingredients or requires real talent to create; I want a choice of wholesome meals with a variety of vegetables, pulses and grains. I want to be excited by what’s on offer and enjoy the anticipation of being served a culinary delight. I don’t want to pay over the odds for something I can tip out of a packet and frankly tastes better when I cook it myself.
I was spoiled for choice in Brighton, with the Iydea cafe, Wai Kika Moo Kau, Food for Friends and terre à terre offering wholly veggie menus and many of the pubs offering a vegetarian Sunday roast as standard. They lead the way and I see no reason why eateries throughout the land shouldn’t celebrate the veggie pound by serving us similarly tempting treats.
It’s time for action! I am going to start cataloguing the offerings and attitudes to vegetarians in restaurants and pubs, asking for contributions, recipes and ideas from vegetarians and campaigning for interesting choices for veggies.
As well as developing a campaigning blog, I love the idea of sharing recipes and offering a resource for people who have got a veggie or a vegan coming to dinner and want to give them a delicious meal too.
So, if you’re tired of soggy pasta, can’t face another mushroom risotto and think goat’s cheese is the food of the devil – you have found some friends!