There are plenty of down sides to being a vegan. For all the fluffy animals that you manage to save, you do end up denying yourself most of life’s greatest edible pleasures. However spiritually and ethically fulfilled you might feel after a day of not eating eggs, bacon and sausages, there’s no possible way that your tummy can be anywhere near as satisfied. It’s a trade off that everyone has to weigh up.
Fortunately, things have got a lot easier in recent years for animal-friendly picky eaters. Gone are the days were your only option was a clumpy mushroom risotto or watery plate of pesto pasta. All over the world, people are coming up with impossible, plant-based bleeding burgers and suspiciously flavourful vegan cheese. Some vegan food is actually, *deep breath*, kind of tasty.
With so many new and exciting vegan and vegetarian food stuffs on the market, you would have thought that restaurants no longer have an excuse for starving out plant-loving customers. Surely, even the least enthusiastic business owner can get hold of fake fried chicken or veggie sausages, come service? As a recent incident in a popular British pizza chain proved this week, not every restaurant seems to have got the memo.
Mary Nesbitt-Larking, 26, from Hertfordshire, was dining at a Pizza Express in Hatfield, when she made a request for a plant-based version of the restaurant’s namesake dish. What she received may have been express, but it certainly wasn’t pizza. Featuring a dough base, a thin layer of tomato sauce and a smattering of raw onions, the dish was likely one of the worst excuses for pizza ever served in public.
Having been informed prior to making her order that the restaurant were out of vegan cheese, Nesbitt-Larking was nonetheless undeterred. She requested the addition of pine nuts to compensate for the lack of fake cheese, though these too were conspicuous by their absence. The result was a £9 pie that looked like someone had fallen asleep midway through a Dominos order.
As soon as Nesbitt-Larking’s photo of the disappointing dish surfaced online, the internet were quick to pounce. Reactions ranged from confusion, to amusement, to horror, as people struggled to get their head around exactly what they were seeing. One lamented, “No way. I’ve never seen anything like it. Surely it was a bad joke.” Another, slightly more irate commentator added, “Do they not have any other f**king vegetables? Like I don’t know, ANYTHING?”
Despite her sub-standard dinner, Nesbitt-Larking has been hesitant to be too harsh on the chain. Speaking to the Daily Mail, she revealed that Pizza Express are actually “one of her favourite chains to visit” and “usually..has amazing options”. It seems like her experience, however disappointing, won’t stop her from making a return visit at some point in the future.
Given the impressive and tasty looking range of vegan dishes advertised on the Pizza Express website, it looks like the Hertfordshire incident was nothing more than an accident. Having said that, the way in which the photo spread like wildfire across the web shows that dropping the vegan ball for any restaurant can be a PR disaster. All the more reason to stock up on vegan cheese.