Wednesday, we had the pleasure of attending a dinner with some fabulous food-writers, food-bloggers, and food-lovers at a highly anticipated and much-lauded, fairly new restaurant. Our company was highly entertaining, multi-skilled and ever-vivacious, including Jacqui from Everydaycook, Morag from Miss Morag's Morsels, Karen Reyment (author of the "2012 Foodies' Guide to Brisbane", Sally Lynch (of Taste Trekkers), Fleur Cole and Therese Piper. We had a lovely evening. Next time, I'll be drinking too, ladies!
The restaurant is one which I would class as "fine-dining", and I realise that these kind of establishments generally don't provide a breadth of vegan food. But I was grateful that they were prepared to be accommodating. When discussing ideas with them, I mentioned that we like our food filling and hearty, we're not health-food types (so don't feel constrained!), and with their blessing, I provided them with some of my favourite food blogs, including recipes, and waited.
The best fine dining I've had
One very notable exception to the above, terribly uninformed generalisation about food in fine-dining restaurants would be Urbane Restaurant, who provided me with some of the best food I've had in my life - a completely vegan multi-course degustation, where the food was absolutely superb, both in taste and presentation. Molecular gastronomy techniques were used successfully to add layers of deliciousness, and the whole experience was jaw-dropping. We're talking worlds within worlds, here. Every morsel of every individual component carried the taste of an entire, completed, stunning dish.
Don't get me wrong - we get really good food often in restaurants, but the best food I've had in Brisbane has been from small, cheap, ethnic restaurants.
Back to the restaurant at hand, now
Without wanting to offend the obviously hard-working chefs and staff at this very interesting and wonderfully refreshingly decorated restaurant, I'd like to say that the food we were given at our dinner here was, well, nice. Pleasantly fresh and light, but not hearty, filling or something I would choose to make or eat on most occasions. The presentation was very pleasing to the eye - we were served a salad for first course, a rather elegant risotto for second course, a third salad to share when we were offered more food (which, almost unforgivably, was extremely similar to the first salad, with the addition of hazelnuts), and a mix of fruit and sorbet for dessert. We were still rather hungry at the end of dinner.
Needless to say, I was rather embarrassed - being in the company of people who know and love good food, I realised we had been fed the sort of food that Omnivores think that vegans eat. It was wonderfully presented, and was appealing in taste, but it's not food that you can live on. Salads are fine, but they're not something I wish to be served at a restaurant. But kudos to the excellent sommelier who researched very carefully and made phone calls to ascertain which wines were vegan - and gave us some fantastic tasting wines, in addition to providing ingredient assistance.
My tip to restaurants serving patients with special dietary needs:
It's simple. If you're happy to accommodate, that is:
Feed your patrons food that you would relish eating yourself - food that would satisfy you in the best sense of the word.
Upon talking to the ladies we dined with - it became clear to me that most omnivores just don't really realise what is capable within the world of vegan food - and they really don't have any need to. But I think they want to ;).
Five for Friday
So instead of boring you daily with what we eat, I propose that each Friday I do a post entitled Five for Friday. The purpose of these posts will to be to showcase five photographs (you know me - amateur, low quality photographs, of course!) of vegan food that we have eaten that we truly relished even mouthful of. It doesn't have to be fancy, in fact, it can be really homely. Or the food shown could be a show-stopper. But I love my trailer-park specials as much as anyone else. My only goal is to showcase the variety and depth of vegan food. Please note: I err on the side of fried and naughty, rather than fresh. It seems that fresh, green, vegetable-based vegan food is a given, in people's minds!
So here goes - our first Five for Friday:
|Home-made Clafoutis, from The Urban Vegan's first cookbook, The Urban Vegan|
|Dagwood dogs from Ykillamoocow at the West End Markets|
|From front left, clockwise- spring rolls; curry puffs & a broccoli dumpling; marinated fried eggplant; and radish cake. All from yum cha/dim sum at Easy House Vegetarian Restaurant at Mermaid Waters.|
|Chocolate sundae from The Green Edge, including chocolate cookies, marshmallows, chocolate chips, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, Jokerz chocolate bar and Cocoluscious.|
|Home-made roasted vegetable pizza, with garlic mayonaise (an odd combination, I know!).|
Can I ask if this interests our readers? Or is there nothing more boring than other people's food that you can't taste (or am I projecting my own feelings, here ;) ?)
So there you go. Enjoy the weekend, and the fabulous food that you eat! Drink some wine, spend time with those that you love - enjoy your life!