I have a really sweet tooth and I always look forward to dessert.
At home I like old fashioned desserts such as banana custard, apple pie or crumble, and rice pudding. All the warm, comforting dishes of my childhood.
However eating out can be a bit more tricky. Not from a decision making point of view (well sometimes!), but from identifying if any of the desserts are veggie/vegan friendly.
This is one of the things that annoys me the most, next to places only offering a vegetarian starter. Some places are really good at identifying the vegetarian/vegan/gluten free options on their starters and mains. But when it comes to desserts this information is frequently missing. The waiting staff, when quizzed tend to give you a blank look as they don’t know, and then have to quickly scuttle off to the kitchen to ask.
For a while I assumed that if nothing was marked as being suitable for my dietary requirements then there was nothing I could eat. And I wouldn’t ask, and the restaurant would miss out on selling more food.
I went to a new dessert restaurant this week that has opened up near where i live. I was amazed to find that the extensive menu had absolutely no allergy/suitability information on it. I asked the staff what was suitable for a vegetarian. The young chap said nothing was suitable as everything contained milk. I politely corrected him and said that’s ok, I’m not vegan. Then I quizzed him about he marshmellows and the cheesecake. He was quite vague, but was saved by a co-worker who seemed to know her ingredients.
I asked why there was no information on the menu and he replied that their suppliers change all the time so they can’t guarantee what ingredients are being used from one week to the next. In view of the recent issues with Pret, and the staff member’s lack of understanding of dietary requirements, I did find this a little worrying. I doubt i will rush back and will definitely tell all my friends who I know have food allergies.
So not labelling menus is not only a pain for the customer trying to decide what to eat, leading to potential loss of business, but could also lead to a medical emergency for those not wary enough to ask.