re veggie options

(76 Posts)
fairy1303 Mon 21-Oct-13 13:33:18

I'm a vegetarian. Went to m&s cafe. They had one veggie option, tomato soup. Nothing else. All sandwiches had meat in.

Ordered my drinks, ordered my soup. She started making our drinks, then tells me they have run out of soup.

So I said, oh, well do you have anything else vegetarian?

I was offered fruit.

Apologised, said I would have to go somewhere else.

Girl looked me up and down and said ' well, I've made your drinks now, you will have to pay for them!

AIBU? I think that is ridiculous given that they had run out of anything I could eat and she had started making the drinks before she told me??

bittapitta Mon 21-Oct-13 13:42:56

Yanbu, that's crappy. Send them a complaint via email or their website.

senmerrygoround Mon 21-Oct-13 13:44:28

YANBU. Definitely complain provide feedback to M&S!

SugarplumKate Mon 21-Oct-13 13:54:40

Yanbu - that is rubbish service, I would complain.

LittleBairn Mon 21-Oct-13 13:57:27

Bad service I hope you didn't pay! You ordered food and she didn't tell you it was unavalibke until half the order had been completed that's her problem not yours.
I was Vegan for many years and often faced this problem with all veggie ( 1 if your lucky!) smothered in cheese.

runningonwillpower Mon 21-Oct-13 13:58:11

M&S cafes are shite though.

And they make the whole shop smell shite. It puts me off.

Who wants to buy clothes that smell like a cafe?

nicename Mon 21-Oct-13 13:58:18

They didn't offer to get something off the shelf for you. I'm surprised, the staff in our local M&S cafés are rally lovely and helpful.

nicename Mon 21-Oct-13 13:58:57

That should have been 'the didn't offer.....for you?'

Famzilla Mon 21-Oct-13 13:58:59

YANBU. Complain.

Scholes34 Mon 21-Oct-13 14:13:07

Veggie options in most places leave a lot to be desired. I have one child who is vegetarian. Now I've started looking in more details at the vegetarian options in restaurants, I realise that choice is very limited when we're wanting a selection of meat and vegetarian meals. DS2 doesn't like beans, so that rules out a lot of places.

OP - I hope you didn't stay around for the drinks.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Mon 21-Oct-13 14:15:06

That is rubbish. I would email them and complain. Or tweet them.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Mon 21-Oct-13 14:15:20

I hope you didn't pay up?

WaitMonkey Mon 21-Oct-13 14:17:57

YANBU. Did you pay ?

phantomnamechanger Mon 21-Oct-13 14:18:30

You should at the very least have been offered the drinks on the house. Does the M&S do food/sandwiches etc - I too am surprised they did not offer to get you something off the shelf of the store. a boxed salad or cold pasta dish or sandwich for example. Or a tin of soup!

MrsLouisTheroux Mon 21-Oct-13 14:41:12

Did you pay? I would have said "Sorry, I don't want only half of my order". If she had insisted a walk over to customer services would have been my next move!

Wow - they could at least have offered to make you cheese on toast? An Omlette? Egg Sandwich? Jacket with cheese. Nothing inspiring but at least an effort.

PumpkinPie2013 Mon 21-Oct-13 15:14:49

YANBU - I hope you didn't pay for the drinks?!

struggling100 Mon 21-Oct-13 15:17:28

YANBU! Rubbish! It's easy to make yummy veggie food... no excuse for there being no options.

I think things are getting worse in this department. Five years ago, very few places did just one veggie main. Now I see this more and more - and there's a real emphasis on red meat too.

Deliaskis Mon 21-Oct-13 15:20:46

Also surprised they didn't just go and pick something up from the food hall bit of the shop. Ours frequently does on things that have run out or things that are just a bit 'off-menu'.

Greydog Mon 21-Oct-13 15:30:58

agree with that struggling - it's definately getting worse for veggies, far fewer options - and my DH is a coelic veggie, which makes eating out - an adventure. He's so fed up (as a recent convert) he's thinking of going back to meat. I've been looking at all the Christmas menus for an office outing, and where the carnivores get 3 choices the poor old veggies are left with whatever there is.

MrsBungle Mon 21-Oct-13 15:34:23

That's rubbish service although I'm surprised. My dh is veggie and mil is coeliac - everytime we've been to m and s cafe there's been loads for both of them, inc gluten free bread sandwiches for mil.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Mon 21-Oct-13 15:39:45

Well seeing as m&s pride itself on customer service you should complain. Sounds like the girl making the drinks need a chat on customer care.

DidoTheDodo Mon 21-Oct-13 15:43:03

And the veggie option is always mushroom risotto or vegetable in filo pastry and rarely contains any protein.

Greydog Mon 21-Oct-13 15:45:59

We went to a meal - which was pre ordered - and they "ran out" of the veggie option for me, and for DH they took the pastry top off the meat pie that others were having. I went out to the car and got a cheese sandwich from earlier in the day and ate that - staff were not amused! We got our money back tho'!

Fakebook Mon 21-Oct-13 15:50:20

Soup isn't even food. It's like a warm milkshake. I'd make a complaint.

phantomnamechanger Mon 21-Oct-13 17:04:08

greydog - being veggie and coeliac must make eating out very hard - given that in many places the veggie option is either pasta based, or some sort of Mediteranean veg tartlet

DD is coeliac so I appreciate the many pitfalls to eating out!

friday16 Mon 21-Oct-13 17:17:41

it's definately getting worse for veggies, far fewer options

It's a commercial decision for restaurants as to whether they think it's worth bothering.

nicename Mon 21-Oct-13 17:21:00

I was only saying that yesterday - deffo more restrictive for veggies nowadays. At least in ye olden days, if you couldn't face another cheese salad the chef would 'rustle something up' for you if you asked nicely. Now it's pigging mushroom risotto (and they be ever clean the porcini properly, yeurch) or goats cheese salad.

I get all panicky if I have more than one choice when I eat out now!

nicename Mon 21-Oct-13 17:21:27

...and they never clean the porcini...

I need to slow down with my typing!

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Mon 21-Oct-13 17:22:43

Yanbu. I would not have paid for my drink and would have left.

YANBU - please tell us you didn't pay.

fairy1303 Mon 21-Oct-13 18:10:34

Sorry to say that I did pay...

The baby was screaming his head off as he needed feeding and I really didn't want to stand and argue. I think I will email and complain now though!

Greydog Mon 21-Oct-13 21:47:27

This is a sample menu from a 5 star hotel for this year -
Oyster - Crispy Natives, hot horseradish and braised leeks
Diver scallop - Black ham with quince, hazelnut cream, crackling
Squash - Winter gourds with soft egg and pumpernickel crunch
Avocado prawn - Poached langoustine, sweetbread fritters
and winter truffle
Gratin - Salmon wafers, lobster agnolotti,
steamed clams and dandelions
Wild Mallard - Flavours of celery, foraged elderberries, liver toastie
Herdwick - Loin of mutton, shoulder pudding, green sauce
and sweet garlic
Heritage - Fine potato ravioli with winter mushrooms
and intense parsley
Coffee - Mascarpone sabayon, glazed chestnuts,
iced latte and toasted Panettone
Crème caramel - Vanilla and blossom cream with iced clementines
Manjari - Chocolate and speculoos gallette, hot liquid cherry
Cheeses - A selection of artisan cheeses and pairings

The veggies get a choice of potatoes. With intense parsley - whatever that is! Think I'll be spending my £39.00 somewhere else!

nicename Mon 21-Oct-13 22:05:51

What the hell is "speculoos galette". Is that a typo or cross between spectacular and gooey?

Hell, just gimme the coffee and chocolate.

Emmaistired Mon 21-Oct-13 22:09:31

speculoos is a spread made from biscuits a bit peanut butter like consistency wise

nicename Mon 21-Oct-13 22:11:08

Like a chewed, spat out bikky? Yummmmmm

DragonMamma Mon 21-Oct-13 22:11:08


We were pre ordering for our works Xmas lunch today - it will cost £40 whether you have confit duck then turkey or squash soup and tortellini. Absolute madness.

friday16 Mon 21-Oct-13 22:11:23

I'm most certainly not a vegetarian, and I wouldn't waste £39 quid on a load of pretentious crap like that either. Typical hotel food, most of it almost certainly out of the freezer.

Mim78 Mon 21-Oct-13 22:13:43

Doesn't sound typical m and s but not v good customer service! The m and s near us does nice veggie sandwiches. I am also surprised they insisted you pay for drinks as most places will let you change your mind.

friday16 Mon 21-Oct-13 22:17:18

We were pre ordering for our works Xmas lunch today - it will cost £40

Forty quid a head pays for a top-notch prix fixe lunch in central London restaurants, including drinks. To pay it for reheated turkey for Christmas is madness.

We have a new head chef at work and re-doing the menus and introducing new dishes has opened my eyes SOOOOOOO much to the crappy choices that vegetarians usually have! And to even call them choices! One item as a starter, one item as a main? Gimme a break!

We are now doing all six-bean casseroles and quorn tagines and stuff rather than the ubiquitous pasta. And cauliflower cheese as a vegetarian main course? It's a side dish FFS.

Looooong winded way of saying that YANBU, OP, and I do hope you complain.

friday16 Mon 21-Oct-13 22:32:49

We are now doing all six-bean casseroles and quorn tagines and stuff rather than the ubiquitous pasta.

It would be interesting to know how much money you make out of it. All of our local vegetarian restaurants have closed, because (even in the heart of student land and as close as this city has to Guardian-land) there appear not to be enough people who are both (a) vegetarian and (b) wanting to eat out for money.

I knew the ex-owner of one, and he reckoned that the problem was that ten or fifteen years ago most vegetarians simply didn't eat meat, and therefore just wanted food that didn't contain meat, whereas increasingly they now have other food preferences as well. That means it was hard to actually lay on an economically-sized menu which covered enough of the bases. He also reckoned that there were simply fewer vegetarians.

I suspect he's also missing the fact that there's a lot of vegetarians in the south Indian community, and therefore a Balti house or sweet centre has a massive veggie menu. So a couple of blokes with an old Cranks' recipe book may not be quite the draw they once were. But whatever, all the classic vegetarian restaurants have gone.

beals692 Tue 22-Oct-13 08:54:11

I don't usually have a problem in the UK with finding vegetarian food as most places have at least 2 or 3 veggie options. (I don't need a vegetarian restaurant - just somewhere with something I can eat!) However, Christmas menus - while generally crap and over-priced for everyone - are particularly bad for vegetarians - Always just one 'choice' and it's usually something like mushroom risotto which I hate. I'm not going on our works Christmas do (apart from the pre-meal drinks!) because I'd have to pay £35 for a meal where I just wouldn't eat the main course because it's something I really don't like.


nicename Tue 22-Oct-13 08:58:02

We go for Italian at our place - everyone can eat there!

struggling100 Tue 22-Oct-13 10:13:56

Interesting that so many others think it's getting worse too! I wondered if it was just me...

I wonder if part of the issue is that a lot of people (myself included I'm afraid) have become, well.... food snobs. Educated by a lot of food porn on TV, increasing standards of culinary achievement in pubs, cafes and restaurants, and ever more aspirational 'home cooking' I wonder if we're becoming a bit more demanding now than we used to be. And perhaps one result of this is veggie cafes get unfairly stereotyped with idea that they're all culinary deserts serving grated carrot floating in water with soggy raisins... (ugh! remember those places?).

Or maybe there's a branding issue here. Maybe the problem is that we see veggie food as a different 'kind' of cuisine, instead of seeing it as something that demands, if anything, MORE skill and technique than is used for meat-based cooking. I dunno about others, but the top 10 veggie meals I've ever had have all been in top restaurants that served meat as well.

Or maybe there's a recession thing, with people wanting big hunks of red meat when they eat out, because that somehow feels more 'substantial'?

DidoTheDodo Tue 22-Oct-13 16:13:17

I'm enjoying the unanimous dislike of mushroom risotto. I thought it was only me!

Absy Tue 22-Oct-13 16:26:17

what the jeff is "intense parsley"?

Dawndonnaagain Tue 22-Oct-13 16:37:01

Cauliflower cheese as a side dish is very recent. In days of yore it was a main meal. <old gimmer>

DidoTheDodo Tue 22-Oct-13 16:38:41

Cauliflower cheese is only a main meal if served with chips. Yummmmmm...

frogspoon Tue 22-Oct-13 16:40:48

greydog, what's wrong with the squash course? Ok, vegans would not be able to have the soft egg, but I would be very surprised if the ravioli (especially if it is made fresh, which it probably is) did not contain egg.

To be fair, for a restaurant that is offering 4 choices per course I would normally expect to see 1 veg, 1 fish and 2 meat options. In light of the fact that only 2% of the population are vegetarian ( I think to have 25% of the menu vegetarian is actually pretty good.

I'm not a vegetarian, but for religious reasons (Jewish, kosher) I don't eat meat out (and only limited fish). I always like to check a restaurant's menu online before deciding where to eat. Obviously more choice would be nicer, but as long as there is something I will enjoy eating I am happy. Also I would hope that most good restaurants would be able to adapt their options e.g. for vegans, vegetarian coeliacs etc, if given sufficient notice.

DontPanicMrMannering Tue 22-Oct-13 16:43:33

Our restaurant has 15 vegetarian options not including starters and sides <<smug>>

RegainingUnconsciousness Tue 22-Oct-13 16:52:55

This thread has probably moved on but I want to jump on this bandwagon.

DH is veggie for medical reasons, he also can't eat cheese (or fish, or quorn), and eating out is a complete nightmare. Veggie options always contain cheese. Or too many beans.

Nowhere does a completely veggie no-cheese sandwich, or pot of pasta. He's often limited to asking for a selection of starters in restaurants (although the posh ones often send a chef out to have a chat with him and then make something unique, but we can't often afford that!).

Can we have a 'Feed the Veggies' MN campaign?!

Absy Tue 22-Oct-13 17:06:59

I can see the argument that only 2% of the population is veggie, but it doesn't mean there's a law against meat eaters (or pescaterians) eating veggie food. As mentioned upthread, Italian restaurants tend to be better at having "veggie" options, though they may not necessarily be on the menu to appease vegetarians, but because they're tasty.

nicename Tue 22-Oct-13 17:31:23

I know lots of 'pretend' veggies (eat fish and/or chicken) and people who will go for the veggie option for religious reasons, plus some meat eaters who would pick a veggie option for health reasons (have you seen how much fat they can add to meat or fish on the cookery shows on telly??) or because they fancy an asparagus risotto for a change. So I think that its far more than 2% of people who would go veggie.

Vegans are another matter entirely.

And my mushroom risotto rocks! The secret is a helluva lot of wine and proper Italian mushrooms.

I wonder if you can make it with gin? I tried champagne once (nb it fizzes up like mad) when I was desperate and it wasn't commentable tbh.

DontPanicMrMannering Tue 22-Oct-13 17:36:55

nicename have you checked your wine is vegetarian?

nicename Tue 22-Oct-13 17:38:22

Of course, I am a veteran vegetarian!

fatlazymummy Tue 22-Oct-13 17:48:14

Try the Harvester. There's 3 or 4 vegetarian choices, and none of them are mushroom risotto (if I remember correctly).
Indian restaurants usually have a good selection of vegetarian dishes as well.

jellyboatsandpirates Tue 22-Oct-13 18:02:55

YANBU, that's crap! Just soup and then to be told "nope, soup's off?"
Hope you didn't pay up for the drinks,and said you didn't want them anymore as you'd come in for lunch (ie something to eat as well) and didn't want just a drink so you'd be off somewhere else!

RegainingUnconsciousness Tue 22-Oct-13 18:03:33

Umm, isn't recommending Harvester the same as offering a fruit shoot and pom bears? grin

But yes, curry is always a winner.

Not so helpful when looking for a cheap, quick lunch.

DrCoconut Tue 22-Oct-13 18:30:29

The thing I've noticed is that veggie options are always smaller than meat ones. As if no meat and doesn't eat are somehow the same, my 2 year old can eat some adult helpings I've had whole DH struggles to finish his! (He's not veggie).

friday16 Tue 22-Oct-13 18:37:08

I can see the argument that only 2% of the population is veggie, but it doesn't mean there's a law against meat eaters (or pescaterians) eating veggie food.

No, but there's the problem that it's probably overpriced shit. I have experience: I was a vegetarian for some years, I cook meat or fish probably only about half the time and I regularly do order vegetarian good in curry houses especially the scruffier sort whose hygiene might be a bit iffy. I am a fan of veggie South Asian options on long-haul flights (especially on United flights out of Heathrow, because they get the food from a fantastic place in Southall).

But in general purpose restaurants (ie, not with a large vegetarian constituency because of the location or culture) the veggie option is likely to either be pre-made and reheated, or made from ingredients that have been hanging around, and will be palmed off on the junior staff to lash together. They just don't turn over enough of them to either keep the ingredients fresh, get good at making it or care overmuch: they assume (with some justification) that most veggies are more concerned with it being veggie than it being good, and therefore the kitchen produces quality they wouldn't dare send if it were a meat or fish dish.

I can see it from both sides. When I don't want to eat meat, I gravitate to balti houses simply because about half the menu is veggie and it's genuinely good. But what I don't do is order the veggie option in a random restaurant, because the chances are it's crap.

BrunelsBigHat Tue 22-Oct-13 18:40:05

I'm not veggie, but often can't be bothered with meat. So I like to see a variety of veggie meals on a menu.

I do judge places that have a poor choice of veggie meal

fairy1303 Tue 22-Oct-13 19:15:00

I am SO glad the risotto issue has been raised. I bloody HATE risotto and it is everywhere! There is a restaurant my in laws like to go to and their veggie option is a cheese omelette. Vegans be gone!

What gets me is the ones that sneak meat into things that can easily be veggie - the M&S cafe had two soups that day - tomato (run out) and LENTIL... With bacon!

But don't fear... I forgot to tell you that I was offered a scone!

NoComet Tue 22-Oct-13 19:46:33

But are only 2% of the population veggies when eating some where like M&S

DSIS is a strict veggie always, DMIL was mostly a veggie after years of living with the above

My Muslim lab partner and my Jewish DF keep the food rules of their respective Faiths.

When eating out all these people generally and DSIL, her DH and DCs always choose the veggie option. (my Jewish DF will eat fish if they don't ruin it by adding prawns).

Having shared many a meal with this lot YANBU, vegetarian offerings' especially in cafes are hopeless.

dogindisguise Tue 22-Oct-13 20:28:24

Agree the veggie options in M&S are rubbish. I made the mistake of having lunch there once!

raisah Tue 22-Oct-13 21:15:40

We complained at our local m&s about the pior veggie options and they did improve a bit but still have a long way to go. I asked about a veggie option after sifting through x amount of meat sandwiches only to be offered egg mayo! This was ok for me as I follow a halal diet but not ok if I was a full veggie!

Greydog Wed 23-Oct-13 23:02:51

Hello Frog only just caught up - the squash option was a starter - my fault for not splitting up the menu better!

RegainingUnconsciousness Tue 29-Oct-13 23:02:28

Hello, just resurrecting this thread to report a couple of experiences:

Both in Bath today: Jamie's Italian had a whole heap of veggie options (Italians are often good, but not all, we looked at carluccios too, and they had sod all DH could eat). DH actually had a proper choice without even modifying some dishes (no cheese either). So brilliant! grin

The restaurant at the thermae spa: awful. They did let him have two starters together, but the provision was rubbish. There was one veggie option, but all with intrinsic cheese and a lot of nuts.

So: yay! Jamie Oliver, you have succeeded in pleasing the veggies!

Shockedmum75 Wed 30-Oct-13 07:46:40

But what about when the mushroom risotto is the only option and it contains Parmesan! I hate that, why do chefs not know that Parmesan isn't vegetarian?

SuburbanRhonda Wed 30-Oct-13 08:52:15

RE: the 2% of the population being vegetarian.

Whenever we order in a buffet lunch at work, it's usually about one quarter vegetarian. Most people prefer the vegetarian food, so unless you're quick off the mark, as a vegetarian you're usually left with some cucumber sticks and a few crisps. I honestly think if we ordered 100% vegetarian we would get no complaints.

I wonder if the whole resurgence in meat-eating thing is because of all the new trendy recipes - beef carpaccio, pulled pork (always sounds rude to me!).

I never go on my work Christmas do. Colleagues say, oh, but it's not about the food, it's about having fun - which is all very well when you get half a farmyard for your meal and I get fecking goats cheese tart again!

And if anyone wants the most amazing mushroom risotto recipe in the world (oven-baked so no endless stiriring, contains Madeira!), look it up on Delia online smile

SuburbanRhonda Wed 30-Oct-13 08:56:07

Oh, and there are lots of vegetarian replacements for Parmesan out there, but admittedly, many are difficult to get hold of. Waitrose used to sell the Twineham Grange one, but have stopped doing it [sasd]

mistlethrush Wed 30-Oct-13 09:19:26

When I was growing up we didn't have very much money so we didn't go out for meals very often. However, that was probably a good thing as there was only one restaurant in the nearby (large) town that had anything on the menu that we could eat and that was a Pizzeria that did Margarita pizzas. We could probably have got a good vege curry but at that time I didn't like curry. And that was it. Nothing else. So, when I go into a restaurant and see that I have a choice of 3 or 4 things that seems pretty acceptable.

For 'organised' events I do hate being offered fish for the 'vegetarian' option. Which is why I object to people saying they are vegetarian when they are actually pescatarians. I don't mind them eating fish at all - but wish they wouldn't give hotels the idea that fish is suitable for vegetarians.

Mushroom risotto - the worst I had was in a restaurant chain that is a large, stripy wild cat repeated twice. It was a solid lump of rice with hardly any mushrooms and served on its own, not even with a salad garnish - it was pretty inedible (and this was a Christmas menu and the only option).

However, I think Mushroom stroganoff is my least favourite option, having attended an event 4 nights in a week where we sang for our supper, and got the same each night...

There is an amazing veggie restaurant in Soho called Martha's, I am a regular there and am not vegetarian, it does a booming trade because the menu is inspired, it doesn't offer the bog standard veggie options like nut roast that most places seem to, they have a bit of imagination!

SuburbanRhonda Wed 30-Oct-13 10:56:47

Sounds worth a visit golden, though tbh I haven't seen nut roast on a restaurant menu since the 1980s!

SuburbanRhonda Wed 30-Oct-13 10:57:46

golden, just googled it - do you mean Mildred's?

Sorry yes I mean Mildred's blush you'd think I'd know the name by now but for some reason I always call it Martha's!!!

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