Orchid Veggie succeeds Veggie Express as the Worst Restaurant of the Month. This is why any kind of vegetarian dines there at their own risk.
The crux of the matter is that Orchid Veggie:-
- do not understand pitfalls for vegetarians
- do not take a 24 x 7 zero risk attitude against compromising the vegetarian philosophy on which Orchid Veggie is marketed. That is even with some pitfalls that have been explained to them
The Orchid Veggie management team admit to being non-vegetarian themselves. Non-vegetarian managers isn’t necessarily an issue as long as they are prepared to manage the business rigorously with the 24 x 7 zero risk attitude mentioned above. Going back to September last year we have been urging Orchid Veggie to ensure they do not offer non-vegetarian booze. While most of the widely available wine is non-vegetarian, beverage suppliers offer multiple different brands of wine that are vegetarian (many of which are also vegan for that matter. It makes sense for a vego restaurant to use vegan since it increases the potential target market. That though is a decision for restaurant management). Other restaurants in Hong Kong are able to source vegetarian wine so it should be easy enough for Orchid Veggie to also do so.
Eagle Wong in Orchid Veggie directed us to Bonnie Lau in their management office regarding our questions. On numerous occasions over the last six months we have requested Bonnie to take this issue seriously. In return we just get stalling responses and no visible indication of any action being taken. Our most recent message was to regrettably inform Bonnie and co that if they did not take this issue seriously, we would feel compelled to make this information public. We didn’t receive a reply.
Orchid Veggie’s wines could defy the laws of probability. By that I mean they could incredibly all turn out to be vegetarian despite no indication from Orchid Veggie that they care to check if they are vegetarian wines. That though seems very improbable. Even if that improbability materialised it does not excuse Orchid Veggie from this:
- If a business is marketed on a philosophical principle, the business has to take a zero risk approach to ensure 24 x 7 that business does not compromise that philosophy. In this case that philosophy is vegetarianism
- Thus the responsibility is on management of a vegetarian restaurant to act as gatekeeper to proactively ensure non-vegetarian products are neither procured, stocked nor offered by that restaurant
- The same would apply with veganism for a restaurant marketed as all vegan
Since Orchid Veggie lack rigour with wine we have no confidence other liberties aren’t being taken by them with their food and beverage stock. This has many similarities to their recently demised neighbour in Kennedy Town, Vanimal. Vanimal refused to adopt a 24 x 7 zero risk approach to protect the vegetarian philosophy on which the restaurant is marketed. That included with booze. Basic lessons from Vanimal closing are there for anyone.
It’s never a pleasure publishing information like this. It is particularly regrettable with Orchid Veggie. That is since on first visiting them a year ago Bonnie Lau responded to the concerns we highlighted at that time (e.g. Bonnie told us they switched from non-vegetarian to vegan cheese). However knowingly and repeatedly taking risks such as that mentioned above is unacceptable. Thus on this occasion the Worst Restaurant of the Month goes to Orchid Veggie.