Yesterday, I blogged about my maiden visit to ‘Chennai’s first and only 100% vegan café/restaurant’, Café Kripa. When I was speaking with its owner during my visit, she told me she believed they were the second such eatery. Later, when one of my Facebook friends saw my post, he too said the same. The first eatery in both cases was believed to be Veganer.
Now, I’ve been vegetarian for 19 years (completed that milestone exactly yesterday), vegan for five months (completed that number today), and took one and a quarter years to go vegan (after finding alternatives for all the things I used to eat and utilize and to break away slowly so that I wouldn’t get cold turkey and give up). To put it simply, I know my vegan.
I also state the first line of this post with double authority as I’ve been to Veganer soon after it launched: with the same wide eyes of eating at the “city’s first vegan restaurant”. However, on going through the menu, I was both surprised and disappointed. There were several items that were non-vegan. I asked for the manager of the moment. He admitted to it, and added that that’s why they’ve called themselves “Veganer” – as in “veganish”, ”veganesque”, or to give them credit as they are very vegan, well, “vegan very”. That’s why, I guess, they say they are ‘the city’s first vegan restaurant’, and not ‘its first fully vegan restaurant’.
Which brings me to the point of this post. From an advertising perspective, this speaks of two things. The power of branding. And the penury when the truth is revealed. (Maggi-gate, anyone?) Anyway, I think I finally figured out how the restaurant chose its name: “We are vegan!… Err…”
And if there’s still any doubt, there’s just one thing to do: visit Veganer again. After all, it’s now opened up very close to my house.
P.S. In India, the concept of ‘vegan’, though catching on, is still quite new. As India is a substantially vegetarian country, and I guess not fully accomplished with English despite using it to a good extent (many people use “revert” for “reply” just because, well, both words have “re” in them), many folk think “vegan” is another word for “vegetarian”. Hopefully, this will get sorted out in the days to cum, er, come.