A vegan Londoner was left feeling ‘sick’ and ‘mortified’ after being served lamb and then yoghurt at an Indian restaurant chain.
Ed Hopkins, 30, and his girlfriend decided to visit popular Dishoom in Shoreditch on November 20 just after 2pm and order from their special vegan menu.
Despite making it clear they wanted vegan food, the were served a lentil dish with lamb in it.
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After becoming vegan in January 2017, it had been nearly five years since Ed had eaten meat.
He told MyLondon: “I was mortified, it was this horrible feeling.
(Image: Ed Hopkins)
“I haven’t had an animal or animal product in my mouth for nearly five years – I went vegan on January 1, 2017.
“The main thing is I love animals and there’s no reason for us to eat them, they are beings that have as much right to life as we do.
“It was quite upsetting because obviously you’ve got a dead animal in your mouth.”
Ed says he ordered from Dishoom’s vegan menu, an entirely different menu to the standard one, and specifically asked for vegan dishes – but after a few bites, he soon realised it was meat.
Ed said: “We asked for the vegan menu and they gave us the vegan menu and we then ordered very specifically from the vegan menu.
“They brought out four plates and said ‘here you go, here’s what you ordered’.
“I didn’t know what was what but I knew it was from the vegan menu so I tucked in.
“And there was this one thing that I thought was a lentil daal sort of thing that you spread on these buns, and I had a few chews and I realised it was lamb.
“My girlfriend had a look as well. She sort of had a sniff and said. ‘No, no, that’s lamb’.”
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Ed felt unwell after realising the dish wasn’t the meat-free option he had ordered.
He said: “I felt sick, it was a horrible feeling as soon as I realised that I’d eaten part of a lamb.”
Ed claims he alerted the waiters that they had given him a non-vegan dish but says the servers didn’t seem ‘fussed’ by the error.
He said: “I was very respectful, and I know they have busy hard jobs and I know people who work in the service industry are fantastic.
“[The waiter] said ‘what’s wrong?’ and I said ‘I’ve ordered from the vegan menu and I’ve just eaten lamb’ and he was like ‘oh yeah sorry, I’ll get you the right thing’.”
Ed approached the manager, who offered the couple an apology as well as a complimentary meal – but unfortunately they were in for another surprise.
The Londoner said: “We were really hungry because we’d been out earlier in the day sort of having a late lunch and I didn’t want to storm off.
“I just thought ‘if he can seat us and we have a meal and it’s on the house, then fine’.”
Ed claims he watched the manager brief waiting staff to ensure the error didn’t occur again but despite this, he and his girlfriend were served 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 yoghurt – they’d done it again.
“It happened twice in the same meal despite staff having been briefed. That was pretty poor, I was quite shocked at that.”
The couple say they spoke to the manager once more, who they say blamed the errors on staff shortages.
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Ed said: “He apologised and said ‘this isn’t up to standard’.
“He said that like many restaurants they had been suffering with the staff shortage, blaming Brexit, blaming all sorts of things, and said, ‘this should never happen,[I’m] very sorry,’ and gave us some vouchers.
“The main reason I [spoke to management] is that I didn’t want this happening to anyone else.
“People who don’t eat meat because they are vegan or vegetarian or for religious reasons, I think that’s very important that those sorts of things are respected.”
Eventually, the pair’s fully 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 that waiting staff and team need to be a heck of a lot more clued up.
“A lot more people now don’t want to eat animals or the stuff that comes out of animals and they need to wake up to that.”
A spokesperson for Dishoom said: “We had a guest visit Dishoom Shoreditch on Saturday afternoon who sat at the bar and ordered some dishes from our vegan menu.
“This is not unusual for us – we have a dedicated vegan menu and many of our guests are vegan.
“We serve people with a wide range of dietary requirements and all our team are trained extensively in how to handle these.
“We follow the strictest protocols around food safety and allergen handling, and are advised and audited by leading safety experts.
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“However, on this occasion, unfortunately new team members were confused by the table numbers for people eating at the bar, and accidentally took wrong orders to this guest.
“The manager was extremely apologetic and embarrassed, and ensured he didn’t pay for any of his visit. They also invited him back for another meal on us to apologise.
“The manager also sent a report to the whole team, to make sure that all procedures were being followed correctly.
“We completely understand how serious this is, and how upsetting it must have been for a vegan guest to be served meat and dairy dishes.
“We’re deeply sorry that this happened and we will do everything we can to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”
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