To see eateries launch specific vegan menus is always exciting for me. I feel there are places in Newcastle that have embraced offering these alternatives wholeheartedly after Vegan Restaurant Week, like Sale Pepe in Jesmond. I hadn’t realised that Ernest had also followed suit, so when we popped along for a Mother’s Day brunch I was elated choosing a meat and dairy free diet was seen as ‘worthy’ enough to warrant its own selection in this café bar.
With more than one choice across the board, including two desserts, we were impressed. Feeling on the peckish side we ordered Hummus to start with, which was served with warm flatbreads. We ended up asking for more as the ratio of dip was slightly off and we didn’t want to waste any. More was given, but we had to ask a few times before it arrived. Dinky also helped out with its eating.
Our last visit to Ernest for food was a few days after Dinky was born and Mr. Canny chose to try their vegan breakfast for £8.50. There have been a few tweaks to this offering subsequently, so he thought he’d give it another go. You can read about our previous experience here.
I opted for the Veggie Chilli Burger from the vegan menu as the mix of broad beans, sweetcorn and peas in the patty sounded intriguing. It was very fresh, which worked well against the heat of the sauce. After a couple of bites I became suspicious of the bun, however. When it arrived I thought it looked like brioche, but having ordered from the vegan menu I gave them the benefit of doubt. The glaze and the texture troubled me though, so before I fed any to the baby (who is also being raised vegan) we decided to double check.
The server came back and confirmed it was brioche and that she hadn’t realised she should have specified to the kitchen which bread I had wanted. What’s the point of having a vegan menu if you have to do that?! Anyway, the plate was returned and my half eaten burger had been plonked between two slices of sourdough instead. A new sauce had been used, which are me wonder if that had not been suitable too.
The Mr’s breakfast was not too dissimilar to last time, with the only marked differences in the form of the tofu and an addition of avocado to the plate. We felt there needed to be a few more fried potatoes on the plate but he enjoyed his a lot more than I did mine after the issue.
We decided not to bother with dessert as the service had been slow – it was busy with lots of tables reserved in advance – and Dinky had become fractious. With beers the bill came to around £33, which was reasonable enough and we’d definitely return because we like Ernest. With its laid back atmosphere, quirky decor and sound menu we think it is a great place for brunch, despite the issues we encountered.
There was an apology but, as you can imagine, we were less than impressed. There was no offer of a reduction or removing the item from the final bill. Heck, they didn’t even top my up my chips or give me a fresh burger! I try really hard to avoid animal products in all aspects of my life, so when things like this happen I feel a failure. Maybe I should have queried them earlier, but if there is a specific menu like this should I have to be suspicious of the plate put down in front of me? I’d have thought the kitchen and staff know what veganism is accordingly. I’ve said many times before if I couldn’t eat egg or dairy due to an allergy this would be incredibly serious, and what should have been a lovely Mother’s Day brunch was spoilt by this mistake. With an allergy I could have spent time in hospital because of the error. Dietary requirements need to be taken more seriously.
Thanks for reading,