I don’t go to restaurants much.
But the other day we went to a restaurant/cafe before going to a show. It was a celebratory evening for 2.
We did our preliminary investigations, and found a simple sweet looking cafe (not far from the theatre, and not long opened), that did Asian food, and had on the menu displayed in the window, as clear as day, a vegan option.
An interesting looking aubergine curry with a peanut and jaggery sauce, with pilau rice and mango chutney. Just the ticket. I love Indian food and am always looking for inspiration.
We got there as the cafe opened, as we only had about 75 mins. before we needed to leave to get to the show. (We’d explained about the time thing and the vegan thing when we booked. ‘That’s fine,’ they said).
We ordered drinks, and got on with relaxing and enjoying ourselves.
Waiter comes: ‘we’ll have the vegan option,’ we declare, pointing vaguely at the menu.
Off he goes.
Food arrives, and we notice that there’s naan bread rather than rice.
We might’ve asked why, but we wanted to enjoy ourselves, not get in a bother with the restaurant … and moreover we needed to get to the show on time…. and we just wanted a really nice evening….no hassle etc.
The curry was delicious. Lovely spice mix, and the aubergine was cooked to perfection. Sort of crispy on the outside and soft on the inside…
I began munching on the naan bread….. and after a little while my taste buds kicked in.
I said to my partner, I think this naan has got milk…or even cream in it.
He expressed disbelief…and reached for the menu.
‘That’s funny,’ he said, ‘this menu is different, but the naan is still included in the vegan option…’
‘Hmmm… not so sure,’ I said.
I didn’t eat any more of it.
When we paid, I asked the front of house manager about the bread….in a diplomatic sort of a way, and hoping I was wrong.
She looked oddly at me and confirmed what I’d thought. Yes, the bread had milk in it.
‘Why is it described as vegan then?’…I asked, as calmly as I could.
To cut a long story short, they got rather defensive. Confusion reigned, for us at least….
Which was a shame, because all we wanted a peaceable outcome.
The waiter came back from the kitchen muttering : ‘it was only the curry that’s vegan.’
‘Err, have you heard of the trade descriptions act?’ we asked. There was no doubt that the naan was included in the vegan option on the in-house menu. It even had a little box around it. Asking why there was no rice (like it said on the menu in the window) seemed irrelevant by now ……
It all got a bit heated. At no point did they offer a real, unconditional apology.
I explained to them that they were very lucky neither of us was lactose-intolerant /allergic. This did quieten them down a bit.
We left, determined despite everything, to enjoy the rest of our evening. Which we did.
Here’s a recipe for a naan bread they could’ve served us.
Cooking for Peace.
NAAN BREAD, FILLED WITH A SPICY MIX OF ONION, GREEN PEPPER AND GREEN CHILLI
Ingredients: Continue reading “Stuffed Naan Bread + a cautionary tale…”