I think you”ll all agree, this is a stunning looking dish. What you see here is grilled chicory and fennel with a avocado puree . Despite its stunning looks ánd its great taste, this dish was a bitter disappointment! Let me tell you why:
A few weeks ago our eldest turned 18. I cannot think of a better reason to go out and celebrate that important moment with a lovely dinner in a restaurant. Before we adapted a plantbased lifestyle we used to take the kids out to dinner all the time. That was always good fun. But since we stopped eating meat and fish etc, it became increasingly difficult to find a nice place were we all could eat and enjoy ourselves. My husband always says:” the food at home is way better”. So we sort of stopped going out to dinner.
But for this occasion I thought I will give it one more try and search for a good place with a cook who understands about plantbased food. Now some of you might remember my post about a party we attended were the cook was instructed by the host to prepare plantbased food for us especially. That was a great success. This same cook works in the restaurant I chose for my son’s birthday, trusting that he would be able to pull it off once again. I made reservations two days in advance with the request for plantbased food for a few of us. They assured me that it would not be any problem whatsoever.
When the waitress handed us the menu I informed her that we were the people who requested to be served plantbased food. She smiled somewhat insecure and said she would inform the cook about our request. That did not sound like they were prepared in any way, but I decided to stay optimistic. When she came to take our order she said that they would take care of it, I felt the need to emphasize that we did not want to eat vegetables only, that we also expected to be served some rice or potatoes or something. She said that of course we could order fries! I was a bit shocked. My husband started to get annoyed and wanted to leave. There was a slight tension creeping in..
Then the amuses arrived, it looked exquisite and it tasted excellent, so far so good.
Then starters were served
Also beautiful and lovely. My husband said after that: “you’ll see we will get nothing more than vegetables in all kinds of forms”. I insisted on keeping faith.
And then of course main was served (see the first picture). And indeed we were served one small bowl of fries for 5 people, of whom 3 teenagers. I immediately requested at least another bowl of fries, but the damages had been done. My husband was beyond annoyed.
Like I said, it looked stunning, it tasted great, but it was vegetables and vegetables alone. That is not enough food of course, my husband was hungry, my son disappointed because the festive mood was gone and I felt responsible for all of this!
But was it really my fault, my responsibility?
Looking back now, after a couple weeks have passed and the emotions somewhat weakened, I think it is fair to say that it is not my fault at all but the fault of the restaurant. How on earth can you call yourself a chef, capable of preparing wonderful dishes like these, obviously with food knowledge, cooking skills and techniques, yet at the same time have not got a clue how to serve ánd satisfy customers with a plantbased lifestyle. It blows my mind, really! Of course this particular cook is not the only one, our experience is that many chef’s in The Netherlands do not know how to go about it. Which is extremely sad. I think it is about time that restaurant owners take notice of the increasing desire for plantbased food. That their chef’s get familiar with this type of cooking, that they challenge themselves, step out of their comfort zone……
The above story is one of many when it comes to our restaurant dining experiences. It caused me to start up a free Plantpower Restaurantguide on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1025087977635077/,
This page is meant to serve everyone, anywhere around the globe who is looking for a restaurant with vegan options. Whether you had a vegan breakfast, lunch, dinner, ice-cream or just a coffee with cake, this a page where you are invited to share your experience, so we can all benefit. Please feel free to do so, together we can make the world a little bit better, together we can make it work!