In historical order:
I finally received a reply from the La Sala restaurant at the Sunborn floating hotel based at Ocean Village in Gibraltar regarding my review of a meal there at their request.
Readers may remember that I’d asked if they could cater for vegetarians/vegans:
I’ve looked at your menu and I think it looks delicious. However my partner and I are vegetarian/vegan so that raises questions of whether eggs are free range, or cheese has animal rennet. For example, Parmesan is never vegetarian.
If you still wish me to review, then we would be happy to do so if you are willing to cater for a vegetarian and a vegan. I can send suggestions if you like, just please, not vegetarian curry, stir fry or lasagna. Just no! to that.
Yet despite this on their website:
The hotel’s restaurants serve only the finest food in surroundings to match your mood. Skilled international chefs make creative use of the best ingredients to provide signature dishes that change with the seasons.
I received this reply:
Unfortunately we are not able to cater to all of those conditions.
All of those conditions?
Can’t think of a vegetable-based meal without cheese or eggs? Our skilled international chefs aren’t very creative are they?
Also, our PR and Comms manager needs to brush up on their skills somewhat. If that had been me, I’d have suggested our skilled international chefs try a little harder. Maybe they don’t know how to google.
And, don’t they teach people about different diets yet at catering school? Eg, nut allergies, gluten free, veg/vegan.
So the short answer is no, we didn’t get to review a meal at the La Sala restaurant.
Here, however, is the A La Carte menu.
For starters: I would have thought melon without ham could be acceptable. If they have avocados for prawn cocktail they could easily have done an avocado starter, vegetarian spring rolls sound, well, vegetarian to me, and steamed asparagus could easily have been served with just lemon juice, or a (vegetarian) lemon butter sauce.
Next, salads: what’s wrong with taking all the vegetable salad ingredients and making a salad out of those? Including an avocado? Or, the Mediterranean roast veg without the goats cheese? Or if someone had the nowse to look at a label on the cheese they might possibly determine if it was vegetarian.
Main course: needless to state there was a veg stir fry on offer. There was also a curry. A Thai green curry, which I do like, although I doubt their’s would be any better than mine. No lasagna, but there was fresh linguini. Eggs in the pasta? And with ricotta and blue cheese sauce. Bit heavy on the cheese, and again, more onerous label-checking involved for our skilled international chefs.
A little extra (veg and more salads): they could have made a meal up out of those!
How about Sunday lunch?
Mushrooms on toast. Well not exactly exotic but it would be acceptable for a vegetarian without the Pecorino. (Like Parmesan, note Pink, Pecorino is not vegetarian)
And for main course, ah yes, the fresh linguine again with ricotta and blue cheese. Do they think vegetarians live on cheese?
What a badly balanced meal for a vegetarian. Note, no veg or salads are served with the veg option. This is such antiquated thinking it is beyond belief. Just because I am having a vegetarian main course doesn’t mean I should be excluded from the veg offered. But yes, it does at La Sala. For the same price as pasta and cheese sauce, one could choose from beef, chicken, pork, lamb or salmon. Plus all veg. Although I’m not sure I’d want Yorkshire pudding with salmon. Something of a raw deal for vegetarians. £21 for mushrooms on toast and pasta and cheese sauce compared with the same price for smoked salmon and roast beef, or chicken liver pâté and salmon with hollandaise sauce.
La Sala chefs: please take off your chef’s hats and go find some thinking caps.
And Gibraltar restaurants generally: Gibraltar sells itself as an international tourist destination. Isn’t it time some of you provided genuine vegetarian meals? Let alone vegan ones?
Here’s a list of vegetarian populations by country. India unsurprisingly tops it, with the UK somewhere between seven and eleven per cent. Should we guess at nine per cent? Although this source suggests 12%.
Whatever the statistics, why lose out on a potential market because you are hidebound by your own preferences, prejudices and/or ignorance?
The GSLP (socialist liberal alliance) won with a resounding majority, some 70% of the vote. It wasn’t a surprise, unlike the last election when they just scraped in. Now we’re doomed to another four years of GSLP cronyism rather than GSD cronyism.
I won’t even comment on the current job situation except to say we did hear of tens of Eastern Europeans (nationality withheld to protect people) working on the black for £5 an hour with two hours compulsory overtime. Minimum wage is £6.50. Craft rate is £7.69. Why aren’t Employment Training Board inspectors cracking down on this illegal employment?
Word of the year
Despite most voters thinking I voted for lumbersexual, I voted for they. Readers of Clouds in particular will know that I am a big proponent for gender neutral language. So to see it included on the shortlist, and at the time I voted it was the most popular word chosen by readers on the OED website, is to me, a real step forward in eradicating the ubiquitous ‘he means she as well’ attitude.
And today’s Gibpix come from another evening walk when the door to Ince’s Hall Theatre (part of the same complex as GibBank) was open.
I’d never been inside, so …