A few months ago, it was my colleague L's leaving meal. Being the thoughtful person that she is, L decided to double check that the restaurant had enough veggie options for the sole vegetarian at her table. The restaurant assured her that they did. And the booking was made.
When L told me, we were all going to Rocket for dinner and it was veggie-friendly, of course, I was pretty pleased. It makes a change to go somewhere that caters well for vegetarians than to end up having the cheapest, least exciting dish on the menu and ending up paying a fifth of the bill later. Just to double check though, I scrolled through the online menu and was surprised to find a number of dishes marked as suitable for vegetarians. Not wanting to ask a thousand questions at the dinner table, I called ahead to confirm if the cheese-based dishes are made with vegetarian rennet. A confident voice at the other end of the phone assures me they are. She says she will double check with the chef, takes down my details and says she will call back ahead of the meal, if there are any issues
The next day we headed to the restaurant for an early dinner. I loved the chic decor and the nicely-spaced out tables.
It had been a strange day; my lunch was delayed and I was no longer too hungry; so I ordered a simple salad and some chips. The chips were delicious and although the salad was nothing to write home about, it was perfectly adequate. We had a brilliant evening. The following day however, I got a call. It was the restaurant manager ; there was a mistake he says. The dishes marked as suitable for veggies on the menu arent actually suitable at all. Most of them include ingredients derived from slaughter. I thank my lucky stars I went for the salad.
The manager invites me back to the restaurant. He sounds so sincere and genuine , I drag a few friends and head back a couple of days later. I call in advance to let the manager know. When we arrive, we are treated brilliantly and the manager says that our waiter will make sure that the meal I eat is entirely vegetarian. A few minutes later, the waiter arrives to take our orders; I am not filled with confidence though, when he explains that a particular starter is definitely vegetarian because the cheese is made from pasteurised milk. As the meal progresses, his ideas about vegetarianism become even more apparent - he hasn't got a clue which items are vegetarian and which dishes aren't. Having gone to so much effort inviting us back, I am disappointed that they haven't bothered to set right the basics that were wrong last time around. The chips are fine but I am really nervous about trying much else, because I have zero confidence that the kitchen or front-of-house know what goes into the meals they are serving vegetarians.
Verdict - Rocket is a nice restaurant. The ambience is lovely, service is reasonable, and the location is very convenient for those who work in the City. But if you are vegetarian, avoid it like the plague. They just don't have a clue.