I have always been a meat eater ever since I could walk. I love most food products made from animals; eggs, milk, cheese, chicken, etc. My whole family tree are meat lovers. So never was the word ‘vegetarianism’ or ‘veganism’ mentioned at the dinner table. The first time I heard the word ‘vegetarian’ used often in conversation was in secondary school, rarely heard ‘vegan’.

Eight years later, in my final year of college, I haven’t been able to get away from the pair. Usually the conversation at the lunch table consists of many different controversial topics. Veganism is now one of the most talked about subjects at our table.

After many deep discussions and arguments, I am still a meat eater and not convinced about veganism being the better, healthier, kind life style. A classmate of mine, Lara Lewis thought she could convince me by bringing to a vegan cafe. I had to hold back the giggles.

In Dublin, today, there are nearly twenty Vegan Cafes to choose from.  Twice the amount I thought there’d be. The cafe we went to was one of Lara’s favourite. Happy Food, just off Camden Street. The walk down to it wasn’t the prettiest, although the place itself was quite pleasant.

Happy Food, Photo Credits Rachel Kinnerk

Inside was very well lit up and had a relaxing atmosphere. But what really caught my eye was the yoga reception desk. Not only was the place a cafe but also a yoga studio, can’t get any more arty-farty than this, could it?

After gathering my whereabouts, Lara dragged me over to the canteen to order some food. Looking at the menu, I was already turned off, nearly everything had Tofu in it. I think you can guess, I don’t like Tofu. I bit my tongue and ordered a black bean burger and an espresso. I had to order and espresso because I could not have built up the courage to order a coconut/almond latte. I love my cow’s milk too much.

I was really tempted to buy just some chips, which were the only thing that was not made of Tofu.

After grabbing two glasses of water and finding somewhere to sit, Lara asked me what I thought of the place so far. Well before I could answer, my attention was set on the people walking up and down the stair towards the Yoga room in their bare feet.

Ditching the shoes- Photo Credits Mislav Marohnic, Flickr

I have been to a few yoga cafes, so I should have been used to this but I think the bitterness of the espresso went straight to my head and I was in a daze. The people coming down the steps were full of life and very active it made me re-think my daily routine and life style.

Finally, our food had arrived, and well I must say I wasn’t rushing myself. Lara’s was served first. Her dish was the Tofu ribs and two salads of her choice. The waiter popped the plate in front of her and I cringed.

The plate consisted of three large rectangular cut pieces of Tofu, dressed in what I’m guessing some non-animal made sauce. Underneath the blocks of Tofu was her chick pea salad and broccoli salad. On the side was a ramekin dish of tartar sauce.

Tofu Ribs- Photo Credits Rachel Kinnerk

Mine was set in front of me…I should have gone with the chips. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of ketchup or mayonnaise. The bean burger was very dry and honestly didn’t look appetising at all. There was a slab of cheese on top of the burger which didn’t taste anything like cheese. I love most cheeses but not this one I’m afraid. I will applause them for presentation, it was nice to look at. But it also had a block of tofu as one of its many layers.

I picked up my knife and fork and started to dig in to my ‘delicious’ burger. Sadly, I could not finish the burger as it was too filling. All I was eating was bread and black beans when you deconstructed the burger. It wasn’t the best meal I ever had. Luckily a salad came with it. It was delicious but wasn’t enough to save the dish.

Black Bean burger, Photo Credits Rachel Kinnerk

Overall, the cafe was lovely to sit in. It was relaxing and quiet. The staff were kind and we were well looked after. But I don’t think I’ll be rushing to the next vegan cafe I see, when walking down the streets of Dublin. I love my chicken and mozzarella and grand skinny lattes from Starbucks too much to give them up. I promise I won’t fur but I can’t promise to stop eating animal products. Veganism is just not the lifestyle for me.


Rachel Kinnerk