From the Independent in December last year: Raw deal! The vendetta waged against vegetarians
A new survey reveals that diners who don’t eat meat are dished up a poor choice by high street restaurants. But it’s all too true, says Martin Hickman, our consumer affairs correspondent, who became a vegetarian 18 years ago and is fed up with being offered boring cheese bakes…
A lack of effort and imagination characterises the failing of vegetarian food in Britain.
It isn’t a problem of availability, generally. Apart from the countryside, pubs, or an Aberdeen Angus Steakhouse, you can almost always find something a vegetarian can eat.
No, the problem is that the lone, sad “vegetarian option” is there because the restaurant is expecting to serve a lone, sad vegetarian. It is not meant to be delicious; it is perfunctory it ticks the box.
But, as Ethical Consumer magazine has found in a new survey, most high street restaurants are emphatically unimpressive when it comes to vegetarian food. The author, Sarah Irving, writes in the January edition: “Vegetarianism is a fairly mainstream dietary choice nowadays… so it is surprising and depressing how poorly vegetarians and especially vegans are served in chain restaurants.”
My emphasis above. I guess I’ll never really understand it – it’s as if chefs in the UK have a huge blind spot when it comes to vegetarian food. So many places don’t go beyond ‘take the meat out and serve what’s left, which is a real shame because other countries manage to produce amazing vegetarian food. If Montreal can combine a French and English heritage with an open imagination to come up with tasty veggie meals, why can’t they manage it here?
Anyway. It’s not like food is generally amazing here anyway, though it gets better all the time, and in the meantime, check out The New Vegetarian column in the Guardian (and go to Ottolenghi’s for properly amazing salads when you’re in London).