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August 13, 2022

An award-winning cafe has at hit out at “holier-than-thou” vegan customers saying they shouldn’t have to adapt their menu to “suit” customers who don’t eat animal products.

The Kitchen at London House on the Isle of Wight went online to defend itself against “nasty” and “bullying” vegans who were outraged at their decision to refuse to cater to their diets.

Addressing its critics, it said: “If you want vegan food, go to a vegan restaurant.”

The popular high street restaurant in Ventnor said that though it used to serve some vegan food, they decided to stop because of a “militant minority” that spoilt it for the majority.

Vegans do not eat any food derived from animals and typically do not use any animal products at all.

The backlash from the island’s vegan community came after the restaurant and bistro recently announced the evening menu for Fridays and Saturdays on their Facebook page for their new London House Bistro restaurant.

The menu boasts mains including short rib of beef, confit duck leg cassoulet, sea bass – and a sole vegetarian option of goats cheese fig tart.

However, having seen the menu contained no vegan mains, some criticised the restaurant for not catering to their needs.

One user commented: “No vegan mains!!” to which the restaurant responded: “No!”

After responding to and defending their new menu choices, another user replied saying they were “trying your best to play the victim here”.

But others supported the restaurant’s decision, with one user telling disgruntled vegans, Nice to see vegetarian[s] catered for rather than being lumped in with the tasteless vegan nonsense that some slop up” and another writing: “Can’t wait to come visit”.

Just three days after their post announcing the menu, The Kitchen at London house wrote another post lamenting the “bullying” comments they received and explaining why they had stopped catering for “holier-than-thou” vegans.

The post read: “I apologised politely and professionally that sadly we do not cater for vegans. Had that of been [sic.] a food intolerance we couldn’t cater for, ordinarily that would have sufficed.

“However, some nasty people have felt it’s their place and right to criticise this fact. Do you think that bullying someone is going to endear them to you? Is it going to make them rethink their decision…maybe I should? NO it does not!

“We have in the past catered for vegans. Everything from Vegan cream teas, even had special Vegan bacon made so they could enjoy BLT’s amongst other things.

“We stopped. Why? Because we got fed up with the arrogant, ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude.”

Sally Cooper, the bistro owner who wrote the Facebook post, said that she made the decision to stop catering to vegans after staff started to get abused.

Before the pandemic, the cafe served vegan cream teas and vegan bacon, she said. But customers started to complain that vegan products were being stored in the same chiller cabinets as meat.

She said: “I would say ‘Hang on a second, they’d look down their noses at us’. We’d tell them what vegan options we could offer them and they’d said it was disgusting.”

Ms Cooper, 60, said her growing irritation with the “militant minority” led to her decision not to provide a vegan option on the bistro menu.

“It’s a small kitchen,” she said. “We produce tasty, home-cooked food. We don’t want to cook plant burgers, pulses and beans. It’s not our food.”

She said that since her post she had received a call to the shop from a man who had called her a ‘disgusting, dreadful woman.”  

However, the overwhelming reaction had been supportive, she said.

The London House Bistro’s evening menu, served from 6pm on Fridays and Saturdays, was due to launch on Friday.

The restaurant has won awards in the past for its artisan breads, and is also famed for its homemade giant sausage rolls.

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