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Nothing to eat

Is it completely unrealistic of me to expect something vegan to eat in a vegetarian cafe? I know I’m not going to get full run of the menu but I should be able to eat at least one item, right?

People, meet Orchard Vegetarian Kitchen.

During the week just passed, I agreed to have a business meeting at Orchard on Sicilian Avenue in Holborn. I had never heard of the location even though it is just around the corner from where I have been hosting London Vegan Potluck for more than two years.

Even though the few people I asked about Orchard told me it wasn’t much good for vegans, I approached with an optimistic spring in my step. When I reached the front door and started to read the menu, my spirits deflated.

Nothing on the Orchard menu is marked as vegan, an oversight I find peculiar and troubling in a vegetarian eatery. Add to this names of dishes including duck eggs and goat cheese and you can see why I was feeling suddenly less hopeful.

I soldiered on.

I asked the server if they could point out the vegan options on the menu and I was shown a handful of dishes. I opted to go with a potato dish only to be told I couldn’t order anything from the menu as it was before midday. That’s correct. They talked me through the menu only to tell me I couldn’t order from the menu. Slightly annoying.

I asked if they were serving any food and I was told by the server that they only had cakes before midday. They must have vegan cake in a vegetarian cafe, right? Wrong. My indifferent server said they had only one dairy free cake but that wasn’t suitable as it contained honey.

I know much bigger problems exist in this world, but it’s all about context people. I was in a vegetarian cafe in central London at eleven o’clock on a Tuesday and I was being told they could not serve me anything vegan to eat. It all struck me as lazy and redundant.

Actually, if you take one sentiment from this review I would like it to be redundant.


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Written by fatgayvegan

  1. I would have thought it was in your best interests to know all the vegan/ veggie establishments in London. I find it a bit odd that you had never heard of Orchard, and only recently discovered Mildreds..
    In any case, I am a vegan and have eaten wonderful food at Orchard. Perhaps you should try visiting again when they are actually serving lunch?

    • Why is it in my best interests to know about all the veggie places in London? Many of them are substandard and do not cater to vegans. I am a vegan.

      • Hello!

        I kind of see where Whatever is coming from in that you offer PR services for vegan places in London, so in those circumstances it does make sense for you to know what is out there (in my opinion).

        In your response to Whatever, you say many veggie places do not cater to vegans – so surely this makes your article redundant then?

        I’m not sure about others, but I feel uncomfortable about your passive-aggressive comments sometimes. Let’s be open to all opinions – surely that’s what is in our best interests?! 🙂

  2. Hmm. Slightly odd/hostile comment from ‘Whatever’… It can’t be possible to know everything. Plus menus can change all the time…
    I have experienced similar frustrations with vegetarian eateries not catering for vegans (going cheese crazy etc), and I find the cake/sweets thing particularly frustrating: Most cakes/sweets in most places you can buy them are vegetarian, so you would think in a vegetarian cafe, they would make a little more effort to make cakes that are vegan friendly – otherwise what are you selling to people that they can’t get at any other coffee shop?
    I am a vegan.

  3. I’ve not tried there myself, but read reviews last summer on Happy Cow saying there were no vegan options in this veggie cafe. So I politely emailed to ask what options we might have should we go along (29/7 & then again 17/8) – no reply to either.

    I suspect that speaks volumes…


    • It’s a shame they never got back to you. Good communication from a business goes a long way.

  4. Hi Sam.

    I don’t do PR for veggie places so I only really take a passing interest in most of them due to their lack of interest in catering to vegans. I am over the moon about veggie places that make effort for vegans and I write about it when I feel that way eg Mildred’s, The Gallery Cafe, Bistro 1842, Global Tribe, Ginger’s…. I could go on.

    Not much I can do about your uncomfortable feelings surrounding my passive aggressive comments. I’ve been writing in this style for over 3 years so I can only hope you haven’t been suffering for all this time.

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