Sunday, 3 April 2011

The (Prince) George

So, eating out as a vegan is often based upon trust. If you aren't eating at an entirely vegan establishment (and sometimes even if you are!) you'll probably have to ask a few questions & just trust that people are telling you the truth. You'd look a bit crazy if you insisted on inspecting the kitchen or asking your waiter to bring out any packaged food they use so that you could inspect the ingredient list.

This weekend I decided to give The Prince George (formerly The George) one more chance. The George used to be a great place for vegans but after they changed hands in early 2010 they decided that they didn't want to use any pre-packaged foods, something I don't disagree with per se but they were still happy to use cheese, sour cream & Quorn just not their vegan counterparts.

I even had a conversation with the new manager where he told me that he wanted to move the pub away from veganism because vegans, get this, don't spend enough money on alcohol. Apparently the pub was always full of vegans sitting around eating & taking up space that could have been filled with regular pub goers!

That was the first time I decided to stop going to The George but today I decided I'd give them another chance. Their menu had been looking more vegan friendly lately & as 2009 pub quiz champion I was missing quiz night!

Today this is the second time I find myself saying I'm never going there again, today they put one of my friends in hospital. We spoke to two members of staff about the ingredients in some of the menu items both because we are vegan & because one of the group has a serious nut allergy. We were assured that the Sweet Potato & Ginger Wellington did not contain nuts, we asked whether he was very sure because our friend has a nut allergy, he thought for a while, told us that they use nuts in the kitchen so they have to say that any dish could contain traces of nuts but that this dish definitely did not contain nuts.

Unfortunately, after just one mouthful when her tongue started to swell & ache, our friend realised that the dish did indeed contain nuts. We told one of the members of staff, she seemed very apologetic (although quick to blame the problem on the new member of staff - who was lovely & certainly didn't do anything wrong) and went to get the man in charge - unfortunately this was the man who had told us the dish did not contain nuts.

Whilst he was a little apologetic he didn't really offer to do much, our nut allergic friend's girlfriend suggested that he refund the price of all of our meals & drinks (only two beers!) & he said that he'd refund the food but not the drinks. Thankfully my friend is incredibly assertive & insisted that as he had essentially ruined everyones day that he should refund everything. He did but I think it would be a stretch to say that he did so happily, he kept pointing out that he'd told the kitchen staff that they have to write nuts as an ingredient of every dish that contains them on the menu so he assumed that as they were not listed they wouldn't be present. He did offer to pay for a taxi to the hospital. Sadly at this point our friend was still being sick & felt terrible so headed back to the hotel she was staying in to lie down, unfortunately later this afternoon she had to go to A & E at the hospital and later on this evening she had to go back there again, in an ambulance.

Now, I decided to give The Prince George another chance today because I wanted to support a vegetarian business, especially one with a decent selection of vegan options but I wont be going back there again now. I just don't trust them. How do I know that when I ask questions about the ingredients of their dishes that they aren't just taking a wild guess as to whether the cream used is vegan or not, or whether there is non-vegan alcohol in the gravy on the Sunday roast. And more importantly, they put my friend IN FUCKING HOSPITAL.

I feel I should include a quick review of the food here to show that you really wont be missing much. I had the Chestnut Mushroom & Spinach Nut Roast.

This came with sides of roasted fennel, roast carrots, spring onion mash, roast potatoes, soy braised spring greens, real veggie gravy & a homemade yorkshire pudding - that last item is left off if you're vegan.

The roast potatoes looked good & it was great that you got a decent amount of them but sadly had clearly been roasted a few hours ago & reheated as they weren't even remotely crispy, the actual nut roast was good & I did enjoy the mash.

My husband went for the All Day Brunch, for your £7.50 you get 3 veggie sausages with homemade baked beans in a tomato & basil sauce served with toasted ciabatta & free range fried or scrambled eggs - if you're vegan you get an extra sausage & some extra beans.

If you know your UK vegan products you'll see that those are clearly Linda McCartney sausages. Now Linda McCartney sausages are fine & all but from a pub that stopped serving the amazing Fry's chicken burger with Cheezly because they wanted to move away from processed & packaged foods and towards fresh & homemade food it's pretty crap. It seems like they just couldn't be bothered to either make their own sausages or to spend a little extra money on really great pre-made vegan food.

I can only assume that the people running The George still don't really give a shit about vegans (or people with allergies!) or that the people running the kitchen aren't vegan or aware of all of the awesome things you can make vegan, hello tofu scramble, seitan sausages, waffles & really damn good cake! As my husband said even if the whole nut allergy thing hadn't happened we wouldn't be rushing to go back. If you're reading this people at The Prince George, you really need to sort it out.


  1. That is such a scary story! i really hope your friend is ok!

  2. Ugh! That is BEYOND disappointing -- it's downright disheartening! I hope your friends recovers soon.

  3. That is horrifying!
    I ate at the George back in 2009 when I was in Brighton (glad to hear it was back before the change of ownership). It is sad that it has gone so downhill.
    And to frak something like that up... epic fail. :( I hope your friend is feeling better, and that someone gives them a kick up the butt. Is there anywhere you can report that to? That is a serious mix-up.

  4. Being a nosy parker, i was wondering what was going on over at your table! it was nice to meet you yesterday by the way. I had the wellington too and my slice had whole hazlenuts running through it. The chef would have defintely known about this (assuming he made the thing) and I'm sure it was the head chef on service yesterday so why didn't he say this to your friend. I only went back yesterday after a long absence because of the same vegan reductions on the menu but have since changed and I totally agree about the potatoes. Also the owner of the place I used to chef at said the same thing about vegans & alcohol. She clearly didn't know me, my wife and all my friends very well. What a ridiculous thing to say!

    I hope your friend is getting better and let me know where your next sunday roast adventure will be cos I'm still searching for the best sunday lunch and haven't found it yet.

    Danny x

  5. What a horrible, horrible experience. I am so sorry for your friend! That sounds like a really awful place.

  6. Hope your friend is feeling better now - how awful.
    It's a shame about the George, it has a lovely atmosphere, but I wouldn't be able to trust them again either. At least you have lots of other great places to eat in Brighton.

  7. Damn, that sucks. I used to love The George and go every week to pub quiz when I lived there! This was circa 2007-2008. It was one of my favorite places in Brighton. Time to find a new favorite for when I visit! I hope your friend feels better, and that they start taking vegans seriously. Do they not know they're in Brighton? I feel like I met one vegan in every 4 people when I lived there.

  8. That is shocking. I walked past the Prince George earlier today and thought the menu looked a lot better than it had in a while. Thank you for your review. My boyfriend is allergic to nuts and so I will not be going there! I hope your friend is better now.

  9. What a terrible story, that makes em SO MAD, I hope your friend is ok.

  10. What a shame. I used to love the George (few years back). I hope your friend feels better soon!

  11. I'm so sorry to hear about this, Jojo. I trust that your friend is on the mend. That guy sounds like a serious jerk.

  12. Before you had written that the sausages were LM ones, I thought to myself that they were. They give vegan eateries a bad name.

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  14. That is so sad. I hope your friend is doing better. You are right though, we do place a lot of trust in servers and the kitchen. (with questions of allergies or veganism) It's too bad that this place isn't trustworthy.
    And vegans don't drink? Ha!

  15. I just wanted to update this to let everyone now that my friend felt crappy for a couple of days but that she's fine.

    Danny, I'll certainly let you know, I've been trying to find a decent Sunday roast in Brighton for a while now too.

  16. Hey hey it is Becca here (worked in Wildcat,met you outside Ms.Cupcake a couple of weeks ago) just found your blog and it makes me very happy to read about your vegan adventures.
    I agree the George is a load of rubbish these days,have you tried the Sunday Roast at the Westhill pub? I went on sunday and they do vegan yorksire puddings which is quite frankly amazing,they also do all kinds of other vegan delights.
    B x

  17. Hey Becca, glad you're enjoying my blog! I had no idea The Westhill did vegan food but that Sunday roast sounds amazing, I'll be going there on Sunday to check it out!


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