The other day, I came across something on a menu which claimed itself to be a vegan omelette. How that works is anyone’s guess, but it’s marginally easier to accomplish a vegan high tea, which in turn is decidedly more difficult than a vegan lunch or dinner.
The team at 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa tackled this challenge last year with the introduction of its vegan tasting menu. Eating out can be a minefield for those with any number of dietary restrictions, allergies, intolerances, or lifestyle and eating choices, particularly for vegans, whose meals are strictly plant-based.
When it launched mid-2017, executive chef Christo Pretorius said: “Our new vegan tasting menu is made with the freshest, healthiest seasonal ingredients. Things like beetroot, butternut, beans and tofu never tasted or looked this good and is exactly what our vegan diners are looking for.”
As awareness of what we put in our bellies grows – Google reported a 90% increase in searches for vegan food over the past year – chefs everywhere are expanding their offerings. Executive pastry chef Gina Marziani and her team have put together an array of sweet and savoury treats which are available daily, as long as you give the kitchen 24 hours’ notice.
The three-tier stand carries sandwiches and tortilla wraps with fried aubergines, roasted peppers and marinated tomato, and on the sweeter side, forest berry jellies, Valrhona Manjari chocolate and peanut bons bons, and banana and oat cookies.
“High tea traditionalists will not be disappointed with our Valrhona Manjari chocolate and hazelnut cake, and how could we not include the famous scone? Our vegan take on this great tea classic, comes with jam and mixed berry compote,” says Chef Marziani.
As someone who embraces a broad range of food (with a few preferences which are not life-threatening, only waistline-threatening), I can sample vegan or vegetarian options without any qualms. Do I enjoy them, though?
To a point, yes. Vegetables cooked creatively are amazing, and I’ve even been known to partake of the vegan on occasion, whether on purpose or purely by chance. However, there is no danger of altering my lifestyle to conform with either of these. While the goodies were interesting to try – the coconut panna cotta was my favourite – I was that person who asked for butter and cream for the scones. For shame.
I’m not going to judge anyone on their choices (well, maybe a little bit and you’re welcome to judge back), so it’s great to discover places which do provide options the rest of us take for granted. I can only imagine how difficult it is. Respect.
* The vegan high tea, which includes your choice of loose leaf teas or speciality coffees, is available daily in the Leopard Bar and Conservatory from 10am till 4pm for R375 a person.
For more information and to book (at least 24 hours in advance), call restaurant reservations on 021 437 9029; or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bianca Coleman