A vegan Londoner felt ‘sick’ and ‘mortified’ after being served lamb and then yogurt at an Indian restaurant chain.
Ed Hopkins, 30, and his girlfriend decided to visit the popular Dishoom in Shoreditch on November 20 just after 2 p.m. and order from their special vegan menu.
Although they made it clear that they wanted vegan food, they were served a dish of lentils with lamb in it.
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After going vegan in January 2017, it had been almost five years since Ed had eaten meat.
He told MyLondon: “I was mortified, it was that horrible feeling.
“I haven’t had any animal or animal product in my mouth for almost five years – I went vegan on January 1, 2017.
“The main thing is that I love animals and that there is no reason to eat them, they are beings who have the right to life as much as we do.
“It was quite upsetting because obviously you have a dead animal in your mouth.”
Ed says he ordered from Dishoom’s vegan menu, an entirely different menu from the standard menu, and specifically asked for vegan options – but after a few bites he quickly realized it was meat.
Ed said, “We asked for the vegan menu and they gave us the vegan menu and then we ordered very specifically from the vegan menu.
“They took out four plates and said, ‘There you go, this is what you ordered.’
“I didn’t know what it was, but I knew it was from the vegan menu, so I pulled over.
“And there was this thing that I thought was some kind of lentil daal that you spread on those buns, and I had a few chews and I realized it was lamb.”
“My girlfriend also took a look. She sort of sniffed and said. ‘No, no, it’s lamb’. “
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Ed wasn’t feeling well after realizing the dish wasn’t the meatless option he ordered.
He said: “I felt bad, it was a horrible feeling as soon as I realized I had eaten part of the lamb.”
Ed claims he alerted the waiters that they gave him a non-vegan dish, but said the waiters did not seem “concerned” by the error.
He said: “I was very respectful, and I know they have tough and busy jobs and I know the people who work in the service industry are fantastic.
“[The waiter] said ‘what’s wrong?’ and I said ‘I ordered from the vegan menu and just ate lamb’ and he said ‘Oh yeah sorry I’m going to get you the right thing’. “
Ed approached the manager, who offered the couple an apology as well as a free meal – but unfortunately they had another surprise.
The Londoner said: “We were really hungry because we had gone out earlier in the day for a late lunch and I didn’t want to leave with a bang.
“I just thought ‘if he can sit us down and we have a meal and it’s home, then fine’.”
Ed claims he watched the manager brief the wait staff to make sure the error didn’t happen again, but despite that, he and his girlfriend got another non-vegan dish.
Ed said: “We then ordered again very specifically from the vegan menu and the House Chaat was delivered to us and it was full of dairy yogurts – they had done that again.
“This happened twice in the same meal despite the staff being informed. It was quite poor, I was quite shocked by that.
The couple say they spoke to the manager again, who they say blamed the errors on understaffing.
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Ed said: “He apologized and said ‘this is not up to par’.
He said that like many restaurants they were suffering from a staff shortage, blaming Brexit, blaming all kinds of things, and said: ‘It should never happen,[I’m] really sorry ”, and gave us vouchers.
“The main reason why I [spoke to management] is that I didn’t want this to happen to someone else.
“People who don’t eat meat because they’re vegans or vegetarians or for religious reasons, I think it’s very important that this stuff is respected. “
Eventually the couple’s all-vegan order arrived correctly and they were able to enjoy their meal.
Ed said, “The vegan food was actually very, very good. It just took a while for it to get there because they kept bringing the wrong things first.
“I think the staff and the waiting team need to know a lot more.
“A lot more people don’t want to eat animals or whatever comes out of them anymore and they have to realize that. “
A Dishoom spokesperson said: “We had a guest who visited Dishoom Shoreditch on Saturday afternoon who sat down at the bar and ordered items from our vegan menu.
“It’s not unusual for us – we have a dedicated vegan menu and many of our guests are vegans.
“We serve people with a wide range of dietary needs and our entire team is thoroughly trained on how to handle them.
“We follow the strictest food safety and allergen management protocols, and are advised and audited by leading safety experts.
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“However, on this occasion, unfortunately, the new team members were confused by the table numbers of people eating at the bar and accidentally took wrong orders from this guest.
“The manager was extremely sorry and embarrassed, and made sure he didn’t pay for any of his visits. They also invited him to come back for another meal on us to apologize.
“The manager also sent a report to the whole team, to make sure all procedures were being followed correctly.
“We fully understand how serious this is and how upsetting it must have been for a vegan guest to be served meat and dairy dishes.
“We are deeply sorry that this has happened and we will do everything possible to ensure that it does not happen again.”
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