Vegans: Don’t Eat at The Winery!

Last night, I went to The Winery, a wine bar/restaurant here in Sydney, Australia. I knew that they didn’t have anything vegan on the menu, as I had been there before for drinks and had casually browsed the menu at the time. I therefore had a sneaking suspicion that I wouldn’t be eating very well, but the location wasn’t my choice, so I had a granola bar before heading out, and prayed that things would pan-out.

The Winery Sydney - Restaurant Review

Once I got to the restaurant and saw the menu again, my fears were confirmed. There wasn’t even a vegan SALAD on the menu – something that I always find a little bit silly! Anyway, the server came by and I explained my dietary requirements to her. She said that they had a side of greens that they could work off to create something more substantial. I said that would be fine, and looked forward to eating some sort of stir-fry, rice, or pasta dish with some yummy greens dispersed throughout.

Imagine my surprise when this is what showed up:

The Winery Sydney - Restaurant Review

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a vegan, and I love my greens! But this was just a massive plate of green beans, snow peas, snap peas, maybe and four or five broccoli florets. It was all tossed in a nice olive oil, but otherwise, there was no other seasoning added. Even some toasted pine nuts, almonds, or sesame seeds would have been SOMETHING!

Anyway, all the omnivores at the table got a pretty good laugh over this “vegan option” and even they were coming-up with creative things that they would have served me instead. They said that they couldn’t believe that a restaurant in 2010 couldn’t offer at least one vegan option on the actual menu – let-alone be able to make something half-decent on request. I couldn’t agree more. Needless to say that I will not return to The Winery for dinner (or drinks) ever again. But the good news is that I’ve met my greens requirement for the week!

{Note: I usually try to call-ahead, but for some reason it slipped my mind yesterday to do so… Lesson learned!}

The Winery on Urbanspoon

22 Comments

  1. Starlovin says:

    Wow… That’s very sad. It still shocks me when I don’t even see vegetarian items on a menu. Every restaurant should offer an alternative to meat (and dairy).

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Agreed! Even if it’s not on the menu, they should at least be able to pull something together. This was pathetic! Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  2. Curtis says:

    With all due respect, this is such an unfair and stupid review. And you’ve linked it to Urbanspoon? C’mon. You’ve given a place negative feedback because they dont serve vegan food? Think about it. Whenever you give a restaurant a negative review, you’re hurting them financially. Over what? Something that they’ve never claimed to be doing? And you yourself admit that you didn’t call in advance. Take a step back and think about it please. I love vegan food and encourage anyone who’d listen to give it a go. But this is just ridiculous. You’re posting this on public blogs? DO you even realise what you’re doing? Blogging is serious stuff. You need to take a more responsible approach before you publish something like this. Think about it with a cool head. Restaurants, bars and cafes are under no obligation to have vegan food on their menus. I’m even surprised they tried to get something together for you even when it wasn’t on the menu. And this is how you thank them.
    If you’ve got any sense of responsibility, take this review off this blog before you donate that ten bucks to the RSPCA.
    I support the vegan movement with passion. But I go to The Winery for wine. 24 wines on the Eno readily available for tasting. Its a wine-bar, in case you missed that.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Curtis,

      First off, I want to apologize for taking so long to get back to you. I’ve been moving and travelling, and well, life has been getting in the way of blogging lately!

      This website is about vegan food that I’m making at home, as well as eating in restaurants. I therefore approach everything with a “vegan eye”. My post serves to warn other vegans about eating at the Winery. While I admit to not having called ahead, I doubt that it would have really changed anything seeing as they don’t even take reservations (another peeve I have, which I forgot to mention in my original post). I don’t doubt that they have an extensive wine menu, but I wasn’t reviewing that aspect. While they attempted to accommodate me, I feel that the result was really weak compared to other dishes that I’ve had at other non-veggie restaurants. I once attended a birthday dinner for a friend at a steakhouse, and was served an amazing dish of grilled veggies with balsamic reduction – despite not having called ahead. When I personally thanked the chef, I was told that it was an “honor” that I would eat at their restaurant and that they would always go to great lengths to accommodate my vegan diet. Now, I don’t go around eating at (or testing) steakhouses… but if a steakhouse can make such a beautifully prepared dish, and be so kind in their “dealings” with me… then why can’t other restaurants?

      This was the point of my post. It’s 2011. The world is changing and if you aren’t willing to go with the flow, then you will be left behind, and occasionally have to deal with a less-than-flattering review.

      Reply
  3. laura says:

    wow, poor effort!!

    I had a similar experience at a high end wedding venue that had an in house caterer, I got a luke warm slab of polenta that i’m pretty sure was from a packet, no sides nothing. on the other hand I had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe which had nothing vegan on their menu and they whipped me up the best dinner i had ever had

    Common sense tells me that chefs at high end establishments would have a better knowledge and would be able to create something more than a chef at a steak house

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Laura, Thanks for your comment. I had a similar experience at a steakhouse once. They treated me like a queen and went out of their way to make a beautiful meal for me (roasted veggies with balsamic reduction). “Vegan” isn’t really that difficult and most (good) kitchens should be able to make something good!

      Reply
  4. MaH says:

    This blog post reads very whinily (yeah, I make up words and shit).

    I do agree that modern restaurants should have at least one Vegan option, and preferably more, but to denigrate this establishment when you knew that it didn’t is a little redundant in my opinion.
    Yeah, that anecdote about the steakhouse is great… And its great when places are able to accommodate for whatever needs.
    …But to then expect it and then complain to the world when things don’t pan out as you like comes off as being douchey.

    Fwiw, that bowl of greens dressed in olive oil looks pretty decent to me. Its obviously not the epitome of fine dining, but something simple like that with good ingredients would suit me fine… Some pine nuts would obviously jazz it up a bit, but when you’re ordering something that doesn’t even exist on the menu I wouldn’t be so quick to criticise.

    lame imo.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Matt – Thanks for your comments. While my blog is geared towards everyone (vegans and non-vegans alike), my restaurant “reviews” are meant to help other vegans in knowing where to eat. While the plate of green veggies was certainly vegan, it wasn’t very creative compared to “unannounced meals” I’ve had at other restaurants. All I’m saying is that there are much better places in town to have a good vegan meal… if that comes off as “douchey” (presumably to non-vegans), well then I guess that’s the price I have to pay :)

      Reply
  5. Fiona says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for writing this review of the Winery! I disagree with previous comments that said your review read “whinily” and that “blogging is serious business and you shouldn’t have posted it”. I believe almost every restaurant (especially one as large as the Winery) should have a vegetarian option that can be made vegan and I also think they should have options for people who have other preferences/needs too. (Like gluten free or nut free.) I think they deserve a negative review for not putting more effort into your dinner after saying they would add something to make it more substantial. It would have been as easy as adding some pasta and nuts. It’s all well and good to say, “Well just don’t go there then”. Sometimes you don’t have a choice, such as in your situation. Now I know that if I am in the situation of being asked to eat there I would politely ask if there is another restaurant they like that they wouldn’t mind going to instead. Those previous comments you received would have hurt my feelings as they weren’t polite or constructive so I just wanted to reach out and say that your review was really helpful to me and I am glad you posted it.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Fiona – thank you so much for this feedback, it means so much to me! Of course, I’m always reviewing restaurants from a vegan’s perspective and so it’s pretty funny when non-vegans get offended by what I have to say. I believe that we have a responsibility to keep companies honest and call them out when they fail in certain areas. I agree with you about gluten/nut free. It’s 2012 now and people need to get with the program! Another funny thing about that restaurant is that it’s called the Winery and it has one of the crappiest wine lists in town. But I digress… :) Thanks again for stopping by and your kind words!

      Reply
  6. jennifer says:

    I think people need to calm down and the people who made mean responses to your review need to realize that we are not meat eaters, they can probably eat any item on those menues. so stop putting us down for having to go the extra mile to ask for food being prepared for us. walk a mile in our shoes before responding negativley. I could understand if the review was for meat eaters and vegans but she put the review up for vegans. She graded the resturant just like any other food reviewer would do.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      YES! Thank you for that, that’s exactly the point of my reviews! In this day and age, restaurants should be able to put together a basic vegan dish. This isn’t a high-end degustation/tasting menu. It’s a wanna-be wine bar with a page of basic dips/salads/pasta dishes (manat of which could have been made vegan somehow). Thanks for the support!

      Reply
  7. Manda says:

    Although I live in Alberta I love reading reviews of restaurants and what there is out there in the world. I completely understand your feelings especially since I live in fort mcmurray Alberta where there is literally no vegan restaurants and almost never a vegan option on the menu. I agree and feel that there should be at least one option on any menu and every smart business owner would do well to know this. Also a lot of people are on constant diets etc and what better than a vegan item to appeal to almost every weight loss diet out there. So not only would this appeal to vegans but also to health conscious people as well. Anyways keep on posting and way to handle the hater comments. Your a smart woman and glad you care enough to say stuff in the first place!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Manda – Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Thanks so much for your feedback, it totally made my day. You obviously “get it” when it comes to this stuff. The world is changing and businesses either need to catch-up or else they’ll lose-out!

      Reply
  8. jen* says:

    i got served rice cakes with lettuce and bananas….at a formal dance…beat that :p

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Oh that’s pretty horrible!

      Reply
  9. Michelle says:

    I completely share your frustration, Angela. And in response to some of the push-back you got here, I’d mention that carnivores do indeed have some vegan friends here and there, so even the meat-centric restaurants had better be savvy enough to offer something worthwhile to the occasional stray vegan who wanders in with a crowd of meat-eating friends.

    I had a similar experience at a restaurant in my city. Not a single vegan option on the menu, and I even called a day ahead of time to tell them about my dietary needs. Unfortunately, the message didn’t get passed on to anyone who was working on the night I came in. So my server looked completely panicked and ran to the kitchen to tell the chef, who made me a plate that looked almost identical to the plate here in your photo. Borrrrringggg!!!! Their regular menu that night had plenty of roasted potatoes and rice and lovely grilled veggies as side dishes to the meat entrees. I expected some combination of those side dishes. Boy was I disappointed.

    Of course I wouldn’t go there of my own choice, but I was accompanying friends who were celebrating a special occasion and really wanted to go there. It only makes sense for these restaurants to get a clue and accommodate everyone’s tastes.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I couldn’t have said it better, Michelle. In this day and age, restaurants need to learn to adapt. And if they don’t, well, I’ll be happy to blog about it! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your words of wisdom :)

      Reply
  10. Nicole says:

    You know, I have a hard enough time eating out as a vegetarian…so I can totally relate and I thank you for posting about your experiences.

    What amazes me more than restaurants not offering meatless options is when they don’t quite understand what “meatless” means. I called in a salad order at a local deli and asked for it to be vegetarian but with all available toppings. They put bacon on it! Then when I pointed it out to them they refused to remake it because I said all toppings. Did I not also say vegetarian…?

    This is actually a recurring theme in my dining experiences. I have had veggie burgers brought to me with bacon on top (because somehow I didn’t specifically ask for none in spite of ordering a vegetarian patty), and another place that had bacon on top of their sauteed veggies and they wouldn’t make it any other way (as if it was prepackaged with the bacon, which I doubt).

    And don’t get me started on the waiters who stare blankly and then blurt, “but you can eat fish, right?”

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. Overall, many restaurants are accommodating vegetarians and vegans, but there are still many stubborn ones that refuse to budge! At the end of the day, they will suffer financially, as more people are seeking food that is healthy for themselves, the planet, and the animals. I support those restaurants that make the effort and I pretty much boycott the rest. How hard is it to make a big salad filled with crisp veggies, beans and nuts? Bacon does not belong in a salad! :)

      Reply
  11. Ellen says:

    I know exactly how you feel! I live in Australia and the majority of people here seem to think vegans are weird. Vegetarians seem to be accepted but because I’m vegan I’m ‘weird’… It isn’t right. As a vegan I find it strange that people actually eat something that was once alive. Anyway with regards to restaurants and cafes, luckily there are a few around my city I can go to and my partner will happily go with me but there are of course occasions where he wants a hot breakfast or something and so we’ll go to a cafe where I assume I can get a plain fruit salad or at least a juice. This is never the case at those places! I always end up sitting there with my water. One place that we have been to multiple times with the same outcome won’t even give me a vegetarian meal minus the eggs, cheese and sauce, and not cooked in butter (to make it avocado, mushrooms and tomato with baby spinach) because you can only change one thing about the meal. They also don’t have fruit salad on the menu. Not even a soy milk option. Seriously?! So more than once at this same place they have opted to not have my money because they can’t NOT put something on a plate. So frustrating!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Ellen – You’re right, there are some great restaurants in Australia that accommodate vegans, but there are so many others who refuse to do so. I’m hoping that things will improve over time, as more people chose healthier (and more compassionate) lifestyles. Thanks so much for writing and keep in touch :)

      Reply
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