Address: Clydebank Rd, Green Point
Hours: When advertised, Saturdays 7-10:30pm
Okay, first off – a confession: It has been FOREVER since I posted a review. I have a legitimate excuse… I was in London, eating my way through every vegan eatery I could find (for a month), then I went to Fat Camp, and now I am back (reviews to follow!).
Nothing could have prepared me for what I experienced this past Saturday in a very narrow and almost hidden Clydebank Street in Green Point.
I was browsing the usual Facebook vegan groups when I came across an advertisement for a “Vegan Pop Up Dining” event. Truth be told – I am awfully shy. What could be worse than rocking up at a stranger’s house, with a roomful of guests I don’t know, having to engage in conversation whilst pretending to have table manners! I decided to grow a pair and book a place – what could go wrong? Well…
I’ll tell you what went wrong in a moment. Let me talk you through the experience from the beginning.
The Facebook advertisement described the event as an “intimate dinner” at the home of Karen and Patrick with a menu that literally left me drooling. If the food was half as good as I had imagined, then I would leave one very happy vegan. Places are limited to between 8-10 guests (although they have apparently accommodated more in the past) and all one needed to do was RSVP via text and then the “donation” of R295 per person needs to be EFT’d to secure your place. So quick and easy! Once I paid for my place, the menu was emailed to me, along with the exact location, time, etc. as well as to bring your own wine. Karen’s quick and effective correspondence had me feeling like this was going to be a good evening.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by Arlene who handed us each a made-on-the-spot Pomegranate & Vodka Welcome Cocktail with Lime & Mint (with the choice of mocktail too for those who didn’t drink… like me!).
Karen and Patrick immediately made us all feel at home, sitting on their couches in their open-plan lounge/dining room/kitchen. This allowed us to keep the conversation flowing between all areas of the home whilst Karen, Patrick, and Arlene nipped in and out of the kitchen and also took a few moments out to engage with the five of us who were guests for the evening.
The starter was a super creamy Chilled Beetroot Soup with an insanely good raw vegan onion cracker bread that Patrick had made himself.
I started realizing after the millionth time of asking that EVERYTHING we were eating was made from scratch #superimpressed.
So the only really awful moment was when I leaned across the table to Patrick to ask him (quite innocently) whether he “ACTIVATED HIS NUTS”. The table went quiet, and I asked him again, “Do you activate your nuts?”. This was followed by a roar of laughter by everyone at the table and me turning the same shade as the beetroot soup I had just devoured. Turns out Patrick doesn’t activate his nuts after all. This is why I am never invited to events. Ever.
When the invite suggested there would be two different burgers for dinner, I was torn between delight and terror. Burgers are my thing. The gluten-y wheat-y roll/bun is NOT my thing: I am trying to be good. I was SUPER relieved when the main course of Lentil & Nut and Tex-Mex Burgers arrived as two single homemade patties on the plate (bunless!) smothered in a Homemade Tomato Sauce and accompanied by a side of a mixture of Oven-Baked Chunky Chips and Sweet Potato Fries.
Two salad dishes were laid on the table allowing us to add some Mixed Green Salad to our plates.
I was like a giggly little school girl receiving her first My Little Pony.
I couldn’t wait to tuck in. The food was so awful that I had to have seconds – of EVERYTHING. And that was where I made the rookie mistake… You see… there were seconds available of everything we ate throughout the evening and we were offered as much as we wanted. The problem is that I (obviously) wasn’t taught any manners as a kid as I ended up having four burger patties. Not only was this (probably) rude, it also meant that my stomach went, “No more you greedy little Cape Town Vegan!”. But I persisted… “One must plow on,” I said to myself.
Dessert was a Raw Chocolate Brownie covered in a Créme Anglaise with the option of Tea or Coffee (and seconds of the dessert if anyone wanted!) “Not I!” I proclaimed.
Obsessed as I am with food, I have yet to mention one of the best parts of this unique experience, which was simply the conversation. It was refreshing meeting new people and getting out of my comfort zone. Which brings me to the final part of the evening:
Karen brings out MORE FOOD! Two HUGE Cheeze Platters and Handmade Raw Chocolates were laid before us.
Everything I tasted from the Vegan Mozzarella to the Strawberry-Centred Heart-Shaped Chocolates to the Chocolate-Coated Marzipans was all PERFECT.
My only regret was that I had that second helping of the main course.
Interestingly enough, I was the only guest who was completely vegan. The others were all omnivores who flirted with adding more plant-based food to their diets. Our hosts were/are/will always be 100% vegan. What was so fantastic, was that there was no judgment in the air, from any side. Only good, stimulating conversation (sometimes about “nuts”). Apparently, a lot of people who attend their “pop-up” events aren’t vegan but are open to the experience, if only for a night. What an amazing way to promote veganism, through good food, great company, and a beautiful home. Now THAT’s what I call perfect VEGAN ADVOCACY.
I left feeling like I was a long-term friend of the family. Karen and Patrick can be immensely proud of the work they are doing, and I couldn’t have asked for a more memorable evening. How lucky I am?
Their next event is an Indonesian Evening on the 27th of May. Patrick, and guest chef, Yanti are whipping up a menu that includes tempeh skewers, corn fritters, gado gado, rose apple cake, and MANY more Indonesian delicacies.
Make sure you check out their Facebook Page to grab a place!
P.S. Don’t be fooled into thinking that I went on a photography course. My pictures will continue to be shitty ones taken on my broken iPhone. I am only too grateful to Karen who worked tirelessly all evening with a camera around her neck to take these beauties! Thanks to her for sending them to me to use.
P.P.S. PLEASE leave a comment, or share this with your friends. #beagoodvegan #vegansgotoheaven #emotionalblackmail #isitworking?