4 loathesome and/or tiresome ‘vegetarian options’ in pubs

1) Pasta.

Come on pubs, if I wanted pasta I would have gone to an Italian restaurant, not a pub.  Unless you are a proper gastro pub, with hand-made and utterly delicious pasta, I DO NOT want this to be my sole dinner option. It also harks rather sadly back to the days when veggie lasagne with chips was the only available fare for the boozing herbivore. And on one occasion in Galway, veggie lasagne served with two watery scoops of mashed potato, peas and carrots.

2) Portobello Burger*.

Dears it’s a mushroom sandwich, it’s not a burger. I do as it happens like mushroom sandwiches, though I’d much rather have  mushrooms (touch of garlic and cream please) on sour dough toast than a large mushroom in a bun. And I DO NOT want to pay £8:50 for a mushroom sandwich, especially if that’s what the carnivores are paying for a fat beef burger. Not on. Worse is a Findus-type ‘burger’ filled with what taste like tinned peas. I applaud those pubs that do try to make their own, even if it results in a rather dry lentil & spinach concoction that leads me to down several ciders to wash it all down (that’s you the Dulwich Plough).

3) The Veggie Stack.

Oh good lord. For the uninitiated, this is a pile of greasy grilled ‘Mediterranean’ vegetables which may have been taken from the counter of a sandwich shop. By making the veg vertiginous, the pub seems to be hoping to give them gravitas. No. In the case of the Railway in Tulse Hill they create a sort of vegetable folly by using hummous as a mortar to stick the vegetables together in a bowl shape, with cooked new potatoes inserted here and there. Now I adore the Railway so have forgiven them, but shall be sticking to their admirable £5 pizzas in future.

4) Fake meat products.

This happens less and less thankfully. I remember once trawling through Weymouth for somewhere to eat, and the only options I could find were veg lasagne and chips in one pub and a vegetarian mixed grill in another i.e. a TVP (textured vegetable protein) chicken drumstick, steak, bacon etc. I thought this shit had died a death and then I discovered TVP prawns in a Thai Veg place on Upper Street, Islington. In 2011.

*The exception to this rule is Fort’s café in Margate who make a lovely Portobello Sandwich (they probably do call it a burger but I forgive them because it’s delicious and they are my friends). Also it’s a café not a pub and a mushroom sandwich is exactly right for a café.

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