Yes, I’m a vegetarian. I have been one all my life. Although I started off as vegetarian because that’s how my parents brought me up, when I grew up I chose to continue being a vegetarian. I have never tasted even a bit of non-vegetarian – no fish, no meat or poultry (except for two small mishaps when I ate outside), although I have to admit I eat egg. When I went to Scotland for University and a job, the first year there was a struggle to find decent vegetarian food which was also tasty. Slowly, I developed a taste for bland European food. Actually, calling it bland is wrong because I find it extremely tasty now. My weekday lunch was soup and salad for nearly 4-5 years which I thoroughly enjoyed. I tried all kinds of cuisines while I lived in Scotland and travelled across Europe. I’m a foodie, a vegetarian foodie and my love for European food is ever-green.
Anyway, that’s enough background about my vegetarianism. Moving on to the bad day I had last week. My friend and I decided to go to this cafe (also a restaurant) after work. I ordered a veggie pasta and an ice tea (thanks to the 40 C summer) . My friend ordered manchurian and green apple soda. We got our drinks and the pasta first and this is what happened next:
Me: This does not look vegetarian. Is this vegetarian?
Waiter: Yes ma’am. It is vegetarian. You ordered veggie pasta and that’s what I got for you.
So I ate a little bit of the penne alone eyeing the rest of what is in my plate doubtfully.
Me (to my friend, who has also been a vegetarian all her life): I’m still not sure. I don’t know what these brown pieces are. And I cannot see even a single vegetable in this pasta!
The waiter then served machurian to my friend.
Me: Again, are you really sure this is vegetarian?
Waiter: Yes, I am sure.
Me: I don’t know what these brown pieces are. They don’t look vegetarian.
Waiter: That is meal-maker/tofu cubes.
Me: I hope so. I’m a very strict vegetarian. I would be very upset if this turns out to be non-vegetarian.
Waiter: Please don’t worry. This is definitely vegetarian.
So I believed him this time. However, for some sub-conscious strange reason I went for the penne alone, still careful not to eat the rest of the stuff. After 5 mins…
Waiter: Ma’am I went to the kitchen and checked. Your pasta is not vegetarian. It is chicken. I’m very sorry.
Me (after going furiously red): How can you be so careless? I asked you twice in the last 10 mins and you were very sure. You did not even think that you should go and check in the kitchen before lying to me. I told you I would be upset if it turns out to be non-vegetarian and you asked me not to worry.
Waiter: I’m very sorry
Me: Sorry is not going to change anything. How did you even make this mistake?
Waiter: Your order got mixed with someone else’s. I have your vegetarian pasta now. I will clear the table and bring your vegetarian pasta.
The restaurant manager then came to the table. And he apologised again and again. He offered the veggie pasta as complimentary and went away. I tried to eat it but I couldn’t. I was upset for the next 5-10 mins and then forgot about it because my friend and I have the ability to forget the world when we start talking to each other. So, that’s what we did – talked non-stop for the next half hour. We finished our drinks and the manchurian.
When the time came to pay the bill, I calmly said to the manager: “I was pretty upset about the fact that the waiter gave me false assurance without being sure. I could have still forgiven you if you mixed up the orders and told me the truth immediately or even if he had gone and checked in the kitchen after the first time I asked. Instead he chose to be lazy (only two tables full, the rest of it was empty) and careless. I would like to try and make him learn to not repeat this ever again (to anyone he serves). So, I’m going to be really harsh on you and say that I’m not going to pay the bill for anything.”
So, that’s what we did. We just stood up calmly and walked out. I decided not to shout at the waiter or create any drama in front of the other tables. I decided not to give a bad review on Zomato or any other foodie rating website. It was a new restaurant, which is also one of the reasons why I decided not to name the restaurant in this blog post as well. I just decided to teach the guy to work more sincerely and respect customers’ food preferences.
So that takes the count of the mishaps I had with non-vegetarian food to three. Oh well…
My Happy Corner #4 (background to ‘My Happy Corner: click here)
I voted yesterday! This is the second time ever that I got a chance to cast my vote in the elections. We had to do a bit of running around in the scorching heat to figure out our polling station. Luckily, there were no long queues 🙂
Here’s the proof of my voting: