The concept focuses on five ‘plant-based’ courses, and I was assured that everything was vegan. I’m always nervous when places use the phrase ‘plant-based’ (more on that later), so even when someone tells me it’s all vegan, a part of me never really is certain. Well, thanks to Chef Chantelle’s welcome speech, I was finally at ease, because she mentioned how they were using fun new ingredients like ‘the water from chickpeas’. GIRL I almost screamed! High caliber chefs embracing the magic of aquafaba (remind me to ask her if she’s familiar with this name for it) (I’m asking you to remind me of a lot of things but like it’s in writing now so don’t worry) makes me so happy. And I figured, if they’re using aquafaba, I’m pretty sure that means everything is vegan.
Our waitress was very sweet, and after I quickly and repeatedly emptied my small-to-medium (it wasn’t a thimble, but I downed it in a sip) water glass, I said ‘would it be possible to get a pitcher? I think it would be easier for all of us’ and she laughed and brought me one so huzzah.
And this rant, and be sure that I’m always going to make this rant (see, e.g., my review of Plates) is a little unfair to put on this review, because the chef and staff at Tredwells seem much more amenable to using the V word than others; I mean the chef even has a vegan cookbook. But, it’s messy to me that they commit so hard to the phrase that it informs the code for their regular menu – V means vegetarian, but P-B is used for plant-based. That’s not a very commonsensical code for vegans to look for on a menu. I see that on a menu, I think there’s peanut butter in there and they’re coding it to warn the peanut allergy sufferers, but then, as a fanatic lover of peanut butter, I would do my peanut butter dance and order every peanut butter thing on the menu and so when it turns out it was all the vegan stuff I would, well I would be fine but disappointed because hot damn I love peanut butter. You get what I’m saying. I’m joking yes but it is a wee bit unintelligible for something that is supposed to easily inform customers, especially since vegans are probably the ones looking for the plant-based items. People just trying to eat more vegetables but without real restrictions can use the common sense skill of reading item names without needing a code. I would never think to look for p-b next to a dish name to see if it's ok for me. And I've never seen that before anywhere, so it seems like bending over backwards to avoid using the v word. That kind of mental acrobatics is a big turn-off and I wish people would just embrace the word vegan, especially as 'plant-based' continues to get more and more bastardized by commercial ventures.
Aside from my requisite p-b rant (not peanut butter) (I know you thought I meant peanut butter right), the experience at Vegwells supper club was a real treat. Everything was delicious and some dishes were extraordinary. I have no idea how they will top these desserts but I believe in them. And I'll let you know, because I will definitely be going back.
Water speed: I was happy to get a pitcher so I didn't have to worry about it, but before that, the waiters did a good job filling the water glasses of normal people and their normal drinking speeds.
Service: Overall very nice. It was really hard to get the bill at the end (we paid before, as I said, but you had to pay for service and any drinks you got at the end) because everyone was finishing at the exact same time, so I wish next time you could just pay for service beforehand too, like we did for Plates and others.
Bathrooms: Around the corner so you pass a little window into the kitchen on the way. Fine, clean individual doors marked separately for men and women.
Food: Fantastic! And we're getting closer and closer to getting sufficient protein at these things! Sun's out guns out!
Bonus: Amazing desserts! Like seeing a double rainbow.