Irish Heather Meatless Monday Longtable Series – Cancelled for Good Reason!

by L Matthews on December 30, 2013

irish heathers

Thanks to @queer_pup for the photo of our lacklustre dish.

My trip to Irish Heather (a pub in Gastown: 212 Carrall St) was inspired by their Meatless Monday longtable series that I thought would be a really lovely way of getting a bunch of vegans who I knew either well, loosely, or not at all and supporting a local business while eating good food. It seemed like a pretty great deal, an elaborate meal at a 40-foot long table, with a matched beer thrown in by a sponsoring brewery. And, all for $16!

Dates were running out for the series and so I got a group of people together that included some of my best friends in Vancouver, some lovely folks I had met at Animal Advocacy Camp earlier in 2013, and some people from the Vancouver Vegans Facebook group who I’d never met and who wanted to make new friends as new vegans. What better way to throw people together than at a 40-foot table with beer!

Delays in Dining

Dinner was scheduled for 7 and so we aimed to get there early and have a drink beforehand, allowing the group to mingle a little pre-seating. I had been in touch with the venue to reserve a large party and so had an acquaintance so we almost had the table filled with just our crew. Dinner was delayed, we’re not sure why, and so some people ordered appies because they were hungry and getting tipsy! The usual menu was, oddly, lacking in vegan things but a salad was rustled up. I’d been told that Irish Heather does a good vegan pie but this wasn’t to be our meal this evening and we were hoping for something more extravagant.

Disappointing Dinner

When the dinner gong (yes!) was finally rung we all wandered through and chose our seats carefully. We got our drinks (which it turned out weren’t included in the $16 cost, alas), and waited for our food to arrive. When it did everyone took out their iPhones to Instagram everything, except me because I’m incapable of upgrading my phone to something less than 7yrs old (thanks for the photo Logan AKA Queer_pup on Instagram).

Our dish (which it turned out was the only dish) was a little rice heap with a tiny number of green beans and mushrooms in a lemony curried sauce and a naan bread. It wasn’t substantial and wasn’t amazing but it was pleasantly flavoured. I can only assume that the naan was vegan as I failed to ask, what with having the whole table full of vegans aside from one, then, omnivore. I wasn’t blown away by the food and the presentation seemed a little ostentatious given what was actually included.

Dessert Deserted Us Vegans

At least dessert will be amazing, we all thought. Alas, it turned out that despite knowing that almost thirty people who were vegan were attending that evening, the desserts were not vegan. The person who asked was the omnivore. Again, us vegans had all assumed that everything would be vegan. Logical, right? I can’t recall what the non-vegan dessert was but it was vacuumed up pretty quickly and was, I believe, pretty good. So, for $16 plus tax and gratuity, we got to sit at a long table with some people and eat some flavoured rice. It was a pleasant evening spent with friends new and old but I don’t think we’ll be doing it again.

Meatless Mondays Cancelled

I guess we weren’t the only ones disappointed as Irish Heather has decided not to carry on doing Meatless Mondays when they relaunch their longtable series after Christmas and New Year. This is a real shame as I fully intended on trying to make this a thing that we vegans could do to raise visibility and meet new people.

I had visions of it being a Monday night social for anyone vegan or interested in veganism to just drop in and know that there’d be people to talk to and to build community with. I really hope that one of the many fine vegan-friendly establishments in Vancouver do start doing something like this. Perhaps Heirloom could dedicate one of their quieter evenings to such a thing? They have the space and longtable!

All in all, Irish Heather doesn’t really deserve to be included in my round-up of Vancouver vegan dining from 2013 but it’s here as a warning about half-assed attempts at catering to vegans.

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