The ‘vegan surprise’ at Red Brick

vegan surprise

We’d called ahead and Red Brick said that while there was nothing suitable on the menu, they could definitely cater for a vegan.

Seated in front of the menu, it was apparent that there really wasn’t anything on the menu that could pass for vegan. An eggplant main sounded promising, but turned out to be pre-rolled slices of vegetable filled with goat products. The only possible entrée was a peach & proscuitto salad… without proscuitto or feta. Fortunately the restaurant’s owner (who’d reassured us on the phone earlier) was super-helpful and knew all about what vegans eat, so I sent him off with an order for ‘the vegan surprise’.

What arrived was a platter of the sides and sauces from a few of the other dishes – a real patchwork of things: roasted baby potatoes, a green salad with cherry tomatoes, green and black olives, pickled vegetables, blueberry and apple relish, puttanesca sauce and slices of baguette. Everything was fresh, tasty and well prepared, but it was a bit of a stretch to call it a vegan meal.

Red Brick was a pleasant place to spend an evening: it’s a heritage-listed building with views of the city, staff are friendly, the wine list is carefully selected. I’d go again for a drink, but can’t really recommend it for eating.

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6 thoughts on “The ‘vegan surprise’ at Red Brick

  1. Maybe I don’t get out enough – that doesn’t seem too bad for a chef preparing for only one vegan? I’ve had some nicer surprises but certainly far worse too.

    It had filling starches as well as a variety of vegies. Was there not enough or did you definitely want something cooked as a vegan main?

    Also, how much did they charge?

  2. I guess for an upmarket restaurant that said it would cater to vegans, I would have expected them to be able to suggest both an entrée and a main, and for at least one of those to involve some kind of vegan protein (beans, nuts, grains, hummus even?).

    When I arrived, they remembered that I was vegan and knew what that meant, but they didn’t have any suggestions initially & invited me to suggest things off the menu… which is all about the meats and cheeses. I think if a meat-centric place says that it caters for vegans, and knows one is coming, they should have some idea of what they will feed it.

    It’s certainly not the worst ‘vegan option’ I’ve been offered – it wasn’t (only) a salad, or a plate of steamed vegetables. But I’ve also had much better experiences at fancier places which I’d have expected to be less vegan-friendly (some French places are amazing!). The food was well-made and if they added a vegan option to their menu I’d certainly give it a try, but I wouldn’t go back again for food otherwise. There are just too many other good places in Auckland to bother.

    They charged the same price as for their meat platters – $32.

    1. Yes, that initial “promise” of catering didn’t really deliver. And I would definitely be put off by being charged the same amount for potatoes, bread and vegies!

      Good thing you’re noting all these experiences down. I have memories of being pleasantly astonished by meals served with no advance notice, and others which are the “green salad, that’s vegan, right?” but I haven’t kept track.

      1. What’s been even more exciting to me about writing this blog is the number of places that have introduced real, labelled vegan options to their actual menus over the last couple of years. It definitely feels like veganism is becoming more widely understood.

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