In my experience, vegetarians and vegans have it a little tough on the restaurant front. Rare is the place which focuses on vegetarian food (let alone vegan), and most establishments seem to have only a few token dishes to keep plant-eaters happy(ish). In many instances, those vegetarian dishes that are on the menu aren’t all that exciting – an afterthought, sidelined by the staples.
This isn’t true of all places, of course, but seems pretty widespread (please correct me if I’m wrong!) Whilst I’m not strictly a vegetarian myself, unless I’m certain that a restaurant is serving locally sourced, ethically-raised animals (as certain as one can be, in those instances), I tend to go for vegetarian options by default, and I’ve not been blown away by the offering at most places I’ve visited.
And yet, vegetarian food can be exceptional. The flavours can more than rival those of meat-based dishes, if you know what you’re doing and are using fresh, seasonal ingredients. One of my most memorable meals ever was at tiny Indian restaurant in Tottenham Court Road in London – the most unbelievable flavours, colours and textures I’d ever experienced. I had no idea that purely vegetarian food could taste so amazing.
And, closer to home, I recently joined Slow Food Mother City for a special ‘Meat Free Monday’ vegetarian dinner at Catharina’s, which was also absolutely delicious.
So, what to do about finding the best vegetarian (and vegan) food in Cape Town? Well, you might consider joining the Veggie Buntch Supper Club. This new club, launched in June this year, is hunting down restaurants who pay particularly good attention to their vegetarian dishes, then challenging them to prepare an exceptional meat-free meal for a group of diners.
The club, which got off to a great start last month at Catharina’s, aims to organise one Supper Club event a month, each time at a different restaurant. This July, it’s the turn of the Chef’s Table at the Mount Nelson, where ten lucky supper club diners will enjoy a 6-course vegan tasting menu specially prepared by chef Rudi Liebenberg and his team. The dinner, which is paired with two wines, will cost R400pp – close to half of what the usual 8-course Chef’s Table experience usually costs.
I’m ecstatic to have been invited to join in the fun at the Mount Nelson, and will be reporting back on the experience. I’m not certain if there are any spaces left at this stage, but if you’re interested in coming along, the best way to find out more and to book is to email organiser Laura Cooke on firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to seeing what other events the supper club has in store for its members in the months to come.
When: 19:00 on Wednesday, 11th July
Where: Planet Bar at the Mount Nelson
Price: R400 pp (including service charge) [It’s worth noting that the 8-course Chef’s Table usually costs between R700-R800]
Excludes: Drinks and extras
Places are extremely limited as the Chef’s Table can only seat 10 people.
Bookings: Email Laura Cooke on email@example.com.
More about the Veggie Buntch Supper Club
The Veggie Buntch Supper Club is a dinner club for veggie-lovers who enjoy great food and good company. They’ll be kicking off in Cape Town with one Supper Club event per month, starting in June 2012.
Veggie Buntch Supper Club attendees will benefit from great specials and menus that are focused 100% on providing top-quality vegan or vegetarian cuisine. This is also a chance to meet other vegetarians and vegans in your area.